Published March 5, 2009
On Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m., events honoring the memory of Father O’Reilly will begin at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 48 Martin Luther King Drive, SW, Atlanta. Father O’Reilly served as pastor of the Shrine during the Civil War and is credited with convincing General William T. Sherman and his forces to spare the Atlanta City Hall, the Court House, and the downtown churches of the Cathedral of St. Philip, Trinity Methodist, Second Ponce de Leon Baptist, Central Presbyterian and the Shrine. Following a reception and tour, Mass will be celebrated by the Shrine’s pastor, Msgr. Henry Gracz, at 12:10 p.m.
At 1 p.m., a wreath-laying ceremony and special presentation by the City of Atlanta will be held at Father O’Reilly’s memorial at the Atlanta City Hall. Msgr. James Fennessy, pastor of St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs, will be among those speaking about the importance of Father O’Reilly’s heroic actions. The memorial for Father O’Reilly is located at the Old Atlanta City Hall at the corner of Washington Street and Mitchell Street. Units from the Atlanta Fire Department and Atlanta Police Department will be present for the laying of the wreath.
The 127th St. Patrick’s Day Parade will commence at 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 14. The parade will march through downtown Atlanta, ending at Underground Atlanta, where vendors, food and free entertainment will be available.
The parade, expected to be the largest St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival since the first parade in Atlanta in 1858, will feature over 200 units, including floats, bands, military units, bagpipe and drum corps, Irish dancers, clowns, high-tech firefighting equipment, police units, drill teams, dogs, horses, antique cars, dignitaries from Ireland, and Atlanta’s government leaders. A detailed list of participants and sponsors is available at www.irishatlanta.com.
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 of the Mass. Priests and deacons of the archdiocese are invited to concelebrate the Mass with the archbishop.
Msgr. Hugh Marren, pastor of St. Andrew Church in Roswell, will be the homilist.
Music will be provided by Alan Brown, organist, and by tenor Sam Hagan, soloist and cantor.
A reception following the Mass will celebrate Irish traditions with home-baked scones, Irish soda bread and other tea breads and pastries made by a committee of bakers coordinated by Rose Begley, while young Irish dancers entertain the gathering. The public is invited to the Mass and the reception.
The Cathedral is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta. Ample parking is available.