A member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians sits in the back of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross as Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley celebrates the St. Patrick’s Day Mass, March 17. Each year the Hibernians volunteer at the Mass, serving as ushers and helping distribute blessed shamrocks. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
In addition to Calleary, other Irish dignitaries in attendance included Secretary to the Minister John Maher, Consul General Michael Lonergan, and Vice-Consul Deirdre Ni Fhalluin.
Also in attendance was Massachusetts State Treasurer and independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill and former Ambassador to the Vatican and Boston mayor Ray Flynn.
During the Mass, Cardinal O’Malley blessed the potted shamrocks that flanked a statue of St. Patrick to the left of the altar. It is traditional for those in attendance to take the plants home afterwards.
Shamrocks were used by St. Patrick to teach the Irish people about the Trinity during his ministry there in the 5th century.
Like St. Patrick, Joan Wall, a parishioner at St. Brigid Parish in Lexington, used shamrocks to catechize. Wall, however, was an elementary school CCD teacher.
“I thought that was a beautiful way for them to learn about the Blessed Trinity,” she said.
Kevin Smyth, a parishioner at St. Charles Parish in Woburn, said that the shamrock is one of Ireland’s national emblems, and also noted the shamrock’s usefulness in teaching about the Trinity.
“The shamrock explains it all,” he added. “The shamrock is an indication of how St. Patrick explained it to them.”
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