Feast of St. Patrick begins with Mass at the Cathedral

March 17, 2018

My dear Friends,

Peace and all good things!

St. Patrick was not Irish by birth, but was a native of either Scotland or England. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. He ultimately attained his freedom, converted to Catholicism, studied for the priesthood and was sent back to Ireland by the Pope as an ordained Bishop to bring the message of Christ to the Irish people. That happened nearly 1600 years ago.

The need to preserve their Celtic identity led the Irish, fleeing famine and poverty in Ireland to the shores of the United States in the 1800s, to form the Hibernian Society which sponsored the first St. Patrick’s Day parades, the forerunners of the celebrations we hold today. Savannah is said to be right behind New York and Boston when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Such is the pride that Coastal Empire residents whose ancestors hail from Ireland—and those who are Irish by association—take in the 194-year old tradition of celebrating the life of the Celtic saint. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and others of Celtic descent deserve credit for fostering all the events leading up to this feast day, including the Savannah Irish Festival, the Celtic Cross Ceremony and many other family-friendly activities.

Celtic Cross Mass

Celtic Cross Mass: March 11, 2018 | Homilist: Fr. Jason Adams

Generations of Savannah’s Irish families begin their daylong salute to the Irish patron saint with morning Mass, followed by the parade, a family meal or picnic, and other social events, including the Hibernian Banquet in the evening.

Joining me at the altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist this morning will be the homilist for the Mass for the Feast of St. Patrick, the Reverend Paul A. O’Connell, who is pastor of St. Paul Church in Douglas, Georgia. A native of Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, Father O’Connell was ordained a priest at the Cathedral in 2003.

Ireland’s patron saint was a priest of the Church who ministered to those who needed him most. May the richness of God’s blessings be with you and your family as we celebrate the life of a saint who continues to inspire us fifteen centuries after his death.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Savannah

WTOC-TV will air the St. Patrick's Day Mass live from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist beginning at 8 a.m.

You can also watch the Mass live at diosav.org/livestream.

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