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Cardinal celebrates St. Patrick's Day at cathedral


  • Cardinal O'Malley sprinkles holy water on the rows of shamrocks placed at the foot of the statue of St. Patrick. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
  • 3 year old Elena Perez of St. Ignatius Parish in Chestnut Hill holds her pot of blessed shamrocks after the St. Patrick’s Day Mass. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • 1-year-old Brendan Maroney of Arlington, in the arms of his father, Mike, sports his Irish sweater at the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Mass. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)
  • Bishop Mark O’Connell delivers his homily at the 2017 St. Patrick‚Äôs Day Mass. (Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy)
  • Cardinal Sean O'Malley celebrates the 2017 St. Patrick‚Äôs Day Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)
  • ‘Gramma Rose’ Cobbett of Marshfield, a native of Derry Northern Ireland, shows her Irish pride at the St. Patrick's Day Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. (Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy)

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SOUTH END -- Standing near the altar, a statue of St. Patrick gazed down upon hundreds of potted shamrocks, emerald green, and the many parishioners who had come to celebrate the feast day of the archdiocese's patron saint, March 17, during a noon Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

The display set a distinctly Irish tone, one that was only bolstered by a Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, that was celebrated in both English and Irish and an opening procession that featured bagpipers and a harpist. Irish hymns were sung throughout the Mass.

Bishop Mark O'Connell, bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston's North Region, served as the homilist for the Mass, and in his homily he recalled the history of St. Patrick.

Born in Britain, St. Patrick was abducted and forced into slavery at the age of 16. He was brought to Ireland where he was made to tend to pigs until he was able to escape six years later.

It was during those six years that "Patrick found his faith and developed a deep prayer life and relationship with God," said Bishop O'Connell.

He returned home to his family following his escape and became a priest. Yet, he felt compelled to go back to Ireland "to rescue others by bringing to them the Catholic faith."

"We are here today because he was such an effective teacher and evangelist that he converted the whole country," said Bishop O'Connell.

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