Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Big Stink

There's a very big stink in our diocese. Maybe you smelled it; it was picked up by a wire service and the national media grabbed it. Sure, laugh at the Catholics, again.

The stink is a controversy of sorts over this year's St. Patrick's Day celebration. If you haven't gandered that far on the calendar, I'll tell you that St. Patrick's Day lands on Holy Monday, the first day of the holiest week on our church's calendar.

The bishop of our diocese, Bishop Campbell, asked (last fall) that all celebrations for St. Patrick be removed from Holy Week. The big city in our diocese has two big Irish clubs, the Shamrock Club and the local chapter of Ancient Order of Hibernians. The AOHs have agreed to celebrate at another time, but the Shamrocks refuse. The president of the Shamrock Club said (get this), "Actually, you're born Irish first, and then you're baptized Catholic."

I believe that might be in the top ten of the saddest things I've ever heard.

So, the Shamrocks will proceed with their downtown parade, sans the Mass beforehand, because no self-respecting priest will celebrate a Mass against the bishop's will. Several city politicians have bowed out, either in respect for the bishop's request or respect for Holy Week itself.

The sad part of this story, in my opinion, is that the president of the Shamrock Club, in an interview with our diocesan newspaper, claimed that they made the decision to continue with the celebration on the 17th because his club is no longer just Irish Catholic. My question to him would be, "How many Jews and Muslims are in your group?" Because even if your Irish are Protestant, it's still Holy Week. If you at all believe that Jesus Christ died on Good Friday and rose on Easter Sunday, it's still Holy Week.

This entire argument makes apparent to anyone looking what I've known for a long time, and you probably have too. St. Patrick's Day is no longer about holy St. Patrick. It's about the drinking and celebration that people have long allowed this celebration to become. They have forgotten that without the saint in St. Patrick, March 17 would just be an ordinary day.

You can read the entire AP wire story here.



  1. I did see this (and was incensed!) so I made Rob read it, too (because I like to share :)

    When he got to the part about the pres of the Shamrock Club saying that you are born Irish and baptized Catholic, Rob said:

    "Hmm. I wonder if that line will work at the Pearly Gates?"

  2. Aimee,
    Those were almost my exact words!

    I think I said, "Hmmm, I wonder how God will react to that comment when he gets to the Pearly Gates."


  3. Obviously St. Patrick's Day has become little but a Holy Day of Obligation in the taverns.

    I'm glad your Bishop has taken the opportunity to remind the faithful to respect Holy Week. It's not like he took away St. Patrick's Day entirely--he just refocused it. That's his job.

    I'd imagine that St. Patrick is relieved to have such a Bishop on his side.

  4. Thank heaven's for our dear Bishop! It is beyond ridiculous that the secularization of a feast day could cause such division! The Bishop is right on in asserting that this is not the time for drunken revelry and prideful parading...how sad that an Irish Catholic would identify first with his heritage rather than his faith.

    I hope he is reading his words and asking "Did I really say that? Is that what I really believe?"

    May God have mercy on the Shamrock club.

  5. Read what the Archbishop of Boston has to say:


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!