New St. Pat's Rules
ST. Patrick's Day and Holy Week will not fall in the same week again until 2160 - which is soon enough for many Irish American Catholics and church leaders around the country.
Liturgical rules dictate that no mass in honor of St. Patrick can be offered on the Monday, March 17 because his feast day is considered lesser than Holy Week observances.
This already has had an impact on one major St. Patrick's Day parade in Savannah Georgia, where half a million usually turn out on the day to drown the shamrock and toast the saint.
Bishop Kevin Boland, however, has moved the parade to the previous Friday, March 14. While bars will open on the Monday, there will be no parades or masses held in honor of the day.
In Ohio a dispute has broken out in Columbus between the Shamrock Club, which organizes the parade there, and the local church. The club has decided to go ahead with the event on St. Patrick's Day, but the church is none too pleased.
Bishop Frederick Campbell warned the group to remove the parade and all other "observances of St. Patrick from Holy Week."
Mark Dempsey, head of the Shamrock Club, was not impressed.
"It's not a sin to celebrate your Irish culture," he said. "Actually you're born Irish first, and then you're baptized Catholic."
The Ancient Order of Hibernians have pulled out of the parade, however, heeding the church's order, and will march in the nearby one in Dublin, Ohio, instead.
New York's Edward Cardinal Egan has taken the line of least resistance, celebrating St. Patrick's Mass on the 14th, but also celebrating Mass on Monday, St. Patrick's Day, before the Fifth Avenue parade. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, however, have moved their annual dinner from the 17th to the 14th to comply with the church's instructions.
Philadelphia has also moved its parade date to avoid giving offense, and Milwaukee will parade sooner than usual, too.
The New York Friendly Sons will honor former Senator Bill Bradley and former Georgetown President Reverend Leo O'Donovan at their New York dinner.
Death of Bob Callahan
BOB Callahan, one of the pioneers of Irish American publications, died late last month in San Francisco.
Callahan, a Bay Area native, will be best remembered for his Callahan's Irish Quarterly, the first ever effort to create an Irish American magazine.
Though it only ran three or four issues or so back in 1984, the Quarterly was an incredible breakthrough. It was a glossy Irish American publication which focused heavily on contemporary issues such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as well as art, poetry, culture and humor. It was the direct opposite of the paddywhackery so often found in Irish publications at the time.
The second issue in particular has become famous. It featured an African American on the cover and traced the cultural and political linkages between the Irish and blacks when they were both slum dwellers in cities like New York. It was brave new journalism for Irish America.
Callahan gave a voice to Irish American writers on Irish themes and was enormously successful in creating a new awareness about Ireland among a new generation of Irish Americans.