Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

March dates set for St. Patrick Mass, parade, Father O’Reilly remembrance

Published March 6, 2015

ATLANTA—The annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 17, at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be the principal celebrant, with Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama as a concelebrant. The Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta, with its chaplain, Father John Kieran, is sponsoring the Mass. All are welcome to attend. A lively reception with Irish music and dance immediately follows the Mass in the parish Kenny Hall.

Founded in 1858, the Hibernian Society is also one of the sponsors of the 133rd Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade, the longest running event in Atlanta history, which will march through Midtown Atlanta beginning at noon on Saturday, March 14.

The route begins at Peachtree and 16th Street and continues south on Peachtree to Fifth Street. Regional Irish dance groups will perform at 11:45 a.m. in front of the dignitaries’ reviewing stand at Peachtree and 11th Street.

The family-friendly event includes more than 2,000 dancers, musicians, cheerleaders, clowns, Irish and local dignitaries and draws an estimated 200,000 spectators. This year’s parade will include the Wells Fargo stagecoach and a pre-parade 5K run/walk through Midtown, supporting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The race kicks off at 10 a.m. at Juniper and 12th Street. The top male and female race winners will be invited to ride on a parade float.

Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Clan Na nGael, Firefighters Emerald Society of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Metropolitan Atlanta Police Emerald Society and the Irish Chamber Atlanta, along with the Hibernian Society, support and participate in the parade.

Other celebrations associated with St. Patrick’s Day include a Mass and reception at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, March 13, remembering the Civil War Irish pastor of the Shrine, Father Thomas O’Reilly. The priest is credited with protecting five churches and several civic buildings from destruction as Atlanta fell to Union forces under Gen. William T. Sherman and was largely destroyed by fire. Father O’Reilly is interred in a crypt beneath the main altar of the Shrine.

A monument to Father O’Reilly is located on the grounds of Atlanta City Hall across from the Shrine and a wreath is laid there every March.

This year, Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland and Paul Gleeson, Irish consul-general in Atlanta, will attend. There will be a reception at 11 a.m. at the Shrine, located at 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, followed by Mass at 12:10 p.m. The wreath-laying will take place at 1:30 p.m at City Hall.

For more information on the St. Patrick’s Parade and to register for the 5K run/walk, visit