Proud Irish American Timothy Dolan to be further linked to one of the most famous Irish gatherings in the world

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, an enthusiastic supporter of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue and the 2015 grand marshal, will be further linked to one of the world’s most famous gatherings thanks to a new parade scholarship program created in his name.

The program was announced last week by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Foundation, which hosted a reception at the cardinal’s residence last week to celebrate the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17.

The program is the first one endowed in Dolan’s name in New York, and will offer three scholarships each year to Catholic school students of varying academic ability.   The Inner City Scholarship Fund, part of the Archdiocese of New York, will help to administer the grants.

Students selected for a scholarship must come from a school that is affiliated with the St. Patrick’s Day parade and marches up Fifth Avenue each year.  It is expected that this year’s recipients will be announced in the next couple of months.

“We are deeply honored to establish our scholarship program in the name of Cardinal Dolan who has always been such a strong and important supporter of the parade,” Sean Lane, vice chairman of both the Parade Foundation and the St. Patrick’s Day board of directors, told the Irish Voice.

Crowds at the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Crowds at the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.

“Catholic education is such an important thing to recognize, and we are more than happy to do so.  The parade will pay tribute to the Catholic influence in education this year, so the time is perfect to announce the scholarships in the cardinal’s name.”

Dolan expressed his gratitude for the new initiative in his remarks at the reception, and spoke about the difficulties facing Catholic education at a grade and high school level.

“We have gratitude for the sisters and brothers and priests.  But they are just not there anymore to run our schools, so it means that they are more expensive,” the cardinal said.

“The best way you can help is by getting kids into our schools. That’s why scholarships help.”

Dolan said that hosting the foundation and its guests “always has a special pizzaz to it, to welcome those in the leadership and the participants of our wonderful St. Patrick’s Day parade.”

The cardinal also paid tribute to the choice of philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman as the 2018 parade grand marshal, joking that “white smoke went up” when her nomination was confirmed.

Hilary Beirne, chairman of the foundation and executive secretary of the parade, stressed the importance of supporting education given the history of the Irish in the U.S.

“Catholic education in this country came about because of the Irish. When they came here they faced discrimination and the leaders of the church recognized that they needed to establish schools to education the emigrant children,” Beirne told guests at the reception.

“New York is the heart of the Catholic education in the U.S., and we want to make sure we support what they established all those years ago.”

Former FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and FDNY Lieutenant Joseph LaPointe.

Former FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and FDNY Lieutenant Joseph LaPointe.

The foundation also announced that FDNY Lieutenant Joseph LaPointe will receive the Parade Service Award at its annual dinner on March 16 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.  LaPointe has been involved in the coordination of the parade marching units for many years.  Glucksman will be the main honoree at the dinner.

Those in attendance at the cardinal’s residence last week included Glucksman, former New York Governor David Paterson, former FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and members of the foundation’s board, including Brian O’Dwyer, Bob and Kate Devlin and the Kelleher family.