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Brooklyn’s Bishop Brennan celebrates mass at St. Patrick’s

March 17, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff and Associated Press
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When the world-famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place in Manhattan on Thursday, The Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan, bishop of Brooklyn, was the main celebrant and homilist at the Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral prior to the parade.

Most people expected Cardinal Timothy Dolan to officiate the annual Mass, but the cardinal was unable to come due to the death of his mother.

Brennan traces his Irish ancestry to his maternal grandfather, who arrived in New York in 1927 from County Sligo.

“St. Patrick’s work has come a long, long way.   Look right here in New York and think of your own parents and grandparents. Think of the religious sisters and of generations of priests and missionaries,” said Brennan. 

“So, it is a great day for a parade, maybe a little wet but a great day for the parade. Parades and processions are a literal expression of what you and I should be doing – and are doing – every single day: bringing our faith to the streets, into the community. We hold up St. Patrick.  We carry the Cross of Christ, and in a joyful, celebratory way, with pipes and drums, music and dance,” he added. 

Bishop of Brooklyn Robert J. Brennan, center-right, with a group from Brooklyn’s St. Francis College in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Photo courtesy of DeSales Media

Bishop Brennan was previously scheduled to deliver the Homily at today’s Mass. However, as a result of the absence of Cardinal Dolan due to his mother’s passing, Bishop Brennan was the main celebrant of the St. Patrick’s Day Mass.

The city’s famed Fifth Avenue was awash with green, as hordes of revelers took to sidewalks amid damp skies to take part in the tradition for the first time in two years.

Kathy Brucia, 65, who is Irish and was clad in green, including a shamrock on her cheek, has been attending the parade for more than three decades — except the past two years.

“The pandemic,” she said as the first marching band passed by Thursday morning. “I don’t think it’s over. But I think a lot of people feel like, wow, we could finally go to a parade and not worry. But I think everybody has to worry.”

Bishop of Brooklyn Robert J. Brennan, center-right, with the Xaverian High School Pipes and Drums at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Photo courtesy of DeSales Media

The day held great importance for a city still reeling from the outbreak.

“Psychologically, it means a lot,” said Sean Lane, the chair of the parade’s organizing group. “New York really needs this.”

Mike Carty, the Ireland-born owner of Rosie O’Grady’s, a restaurant and pub in the Theater District, agreed.

“This is the best thing that happened to us in two years,” he said. “We need the business, and this really kicked it off.”

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