Published March 7, 2014
ATLANTA—An evening Mass for St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated on Monday, March 17, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, with a guest speaker from All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland.
Father Patrick J. McDevitt, a Vincentian priest, who is president of the college where a number of archdiocesan priests studied, will speak at the conclusion of the Mass.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass, which is being held at 5:30 p.m. Auxiliary bishops, Bishop Luis R. Zarama and Bishop David P. Talley, and priests of the archdiocese will concelebrate the Mass. All are invited. The Cathedral of Christ the King is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta.
The annual celebration of the patron saint of Ireland will be followed by a dinner for the priests hosted by the archbishop. There will not be a post-Mass reception.
Father McDevitt will talk about the Civil War pastor of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, Father Thomas O’Reilly, who studied for the priesthood at All Hallows. This is the 150th anniversary of 1864 events when Father O’Reilly, a native of Ireland, 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.
All Hallows is a Vincentian college, now linked to Dublin City University. Father McDevitt, who holds doctoral and master’s degrees in pastoral counseling and ministry from Loyola University of Maryland, was previously on the College of Education faculty of DePaul University in Chicago.
The St. Patrick’s Day Mass is sponsored by the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta.
Other celebrations associated with St. Patrick’s Day include a Mass and reception at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, March 14, remembering Father O’Reilly. Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. at the church, located at 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, by the pastor, Msgr. Henry Gracz.
A reception and tour of the church, where Father O’Reilly is interred, begins at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. a wreath-laying ceremony will be held across the street at Atlanta City Hall in front of an historical monument in Father O’Reilly’s honor. Units from Atlanta police and fire departments will take part. All are invited to these events, also sponsored by the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta.
Also at the Shrine, on Sunday evening, March 16, at 5 p.m. there will be a special musical celebration “Fire & Faith,” remembering 150 years of continued faith service and ministry at the Shrine since the 1864 events and honoring Father O’Reilly. All are invited to attend.
The program will feature the Music Ministry of the Catholic Shrine and the Atlanta Homeward Choir, with special guest Kathleen Bertrand and Donal Noonan, director of music ministry.
The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade returns for the 132nd year on Saturday, March 15, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Midtown Atlanta. With more than 200,000 people expected to line Peachtree Street, the parade will follow a new route this year, starting at the intersection of Peachtree and 15th Streets and continuing south, concluding at Peachtree and 5th Streets.
The grand marshal will be Leo Varadkar, Irish minister for transport, tourism and sport. The parade will include one of the world’s largest Irish walking flags, and the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales and the Dalmatian “Clyde” who accompanies them. Over 2,000 dancers, musicians and Irish enthusiasts take part in the parade, including regional Irish dance groups, high school marching bands and floats. The parade is hosted by the organization, Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade, Inc.
The annual black tie ball and banquet of the Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta was held Saturday, March 1, at the Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta. Paul Gleeson, Irish consul-general in Atlanta, was selected by the HBSA as the 2014 Irishman of the Year and was an honored guest, along with his wife, Alita. The Irish Consulate in Atlanta is one of only five Irish consulates in the United States and the first established since 1933, reflecting significant ties between Georgia and the Republic of Ireland. In selecting Gleeson for its annual award, the society said, in a news release, that “no one in Atlanta—or indeed throughout the South—has done more to develop genuine connections among the several Irish societies in our region of the country.”
For more information on the parade, visit http://atlantastpats.com. For more information on the Mass and Father O’Reilly memorial events, visit www.irishatlanta.com and www.catholicshrineatlanta.org.