Every St. Patrick’s Day brings back the happy memories of when I was a seminarian of the Archdiocese of New York. In celebration of our local church’s patronal feast we would always be given the day off from class so we could travel to Manhattan to serve the cardinal’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before watching the famous parade up 5th Avenue.
Each year we would bring with us our seminary’s prized possession for the cardinal to use as he celebrated Mass. It was the famed “MacSwiney Chalice.”
This is not a chalice of pure gold with diamonds and jewels but something far more simple, yet remarkably special. It was made in 1640 and used in the days of the Penal Laws in Ireland when the Catholic faith was outlawed and priests were hunted men.
New York’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is the largest in the world. The city’s mayor and Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland are always present among other prominent figures and celebrities. Thousands line the parade route. The media is out in full force.
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