For those of you reading this that are not from Northeast Pennsylvania it may seem odd that the Little Sisters of the Poor decided to host its inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Dinner on March 9 – nine days before the actual feast day on March 17. But, in Scranton it’s not odd at all. You see, Scranton is a town which enjoys a rich Irish heritage originating from the many people who came from Ireland to Scranton to work in the coal mining industry in the late 1800s. From those roots, grew generations of men and women who take pride in their Irish ancestry and celebrate it each year at various Irish service organization events including the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade – one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States! Now that you know a wee bit about the background of our city’s heritage you can see why this feast is so celebrated in Scranton and why we were so excited to become part of the bigger celebration!
When I walked into our chapel on March 9, I beamed with Irish pride as I saw our hopes, planning, and hard work from the preceding months come together for our first community wide St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The event began with Mass complete with a bagpipe procession led by Pat Salmon Jr. During a beautiful Mass with a standing room only crowd of 160 people, Danny Marx sang wonderful Irish hymns as he played the organ while Pat accompanied him on the violin. After the Mass ended, Pat piped the recessional leading all of our guests to our auditorium to feast on ham and cabbage.
Prepared by our kitchen staff, nearly 700 people enjoyed our traditional ham and cabbage dinner throughout the afternoon as they were treated to live entertainment including Pat Salmon Jr. once again this time on the Irish fiddle, Frankie Gervasi of “The Poets”, and Irish step dancing by the Crossmolina School of Dance. Attendees also purchased chances to win over 50 theme baskets and gift certificates. And, they also sold out our bake sale of fresh scones straight from our kitchen and baked goods courtesy of Premo’s Bakery, Wilkes-Barre, and our AJJ members.
It really was a great day to be Irish and to celebrate Scranton’s heritage, but none of this would have been possible without the help of our dedicated committee members and volunteers as well as our sponsors. To see a complete list of all of our sponsors in our event program, please click here.
Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you!