A damper on St. Patty's Day festivities

February 21, 2008 5:28:19 AM PST
Because of an early Easter, St. Patrick's Day will fall during Holy Week this year for the first time since 1940, putting a damper on some traditional Irish festivities.

Church rules dictate that no Mass in honor of the saint can be celebrated on Monday, March 17th, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But some bishops also want parades and other festivities kept out of the solemn period before Easter.

To avoid giving offense, officials in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Savannah, Georgia, are planning to stage their St. Patrick's Day parades before Holy Week.

But in Columbus, Ohio, the Shamrock Club is going ahead with its March 17th parade over the bishop's objections. The club's president says, "You're born Irish first, and then you're baptized Catholic."