Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Long Line of Patrick

To one and all here in the States, beloved Ireland, and wherever else celebrations are being had, Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig -- a blessed and Happy St Patrick's Day.

Sure, the above shot comes from Chicago -- because, well, what other town dyes its river green? -- but even so, the day on these shores belongs above all to New York and the nation's most-visited house of worship... a place dedicated, of course, to the Apostle of Ireland.

While every group under the sun has made its contribution to the American Catholic project over four centuries, St Patrick's Cathedral is merely the most iconic symbol of the Irish influence on the Stateside church -- a legacy of sacrifice, dedication and fruitful labor that, on the broad scale, no other people among us has been able to equal.

Not for nothing is this, after Christmas, the most culturally observed day of the liturgical calendar on these shores. And so, with the city's 250th Parade set to step off at midday past The House that Hughes Built -- and, for the first time, the head of the US bishops presiding over the festivities -- here's the traditional close to the morning's pre-march Mass inside: the national anthems of Ireland and these States....

As a former Gotham prelate once greeted his flock outside, "The top o' the mornin', and all the rest of the day, too" -- to one and all, again, every blessing of the feast.