The late Cardinal John O’Connor must be turning over in his crypt.
[Parade board director] John Lahey has called a meeting of the parade’s board of directors for Thursday, October 29, the purpose of which is a vote on several proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws. According to the meeting’s published agenda, committee members will decide whether to remove the section that states, “The Parade will be held in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and the Patron Saint of Ireland.”
Think about that now. If the Saint Patrick’s Day parade is no longer held in honor of Saint Patrick, what in the world is its purpose? We can only guess.
On Thursday, the board of directors will also vote on whether to remove the requirement that members of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee be Roman Catholic, active members of a parish, and of Irish descent. The formation of a new executive committee will exclude affiliated organizations like the Ancient Order of Hibernians from any future decision-making role in the parade and grant Lahey near total control of the event.
So where is the Church in all this? The parade committee’s September announcement was hailed as a victory by gay activist groups, yet the Archdiocese of New York issued nary a peep. In the past, my requests to the archdiocese for comment on parade-related issues have all been answered with a version of the same statement: The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is run by the parade committee, not by the archdiocese, and anything they want to do is up to them. A specific request for comment on these latest developments was not returned.
Meantime, Lahey himself is issuing denials:
Dr. Lahey said there was no intention on the part of parade directors to bring about a “secular parade.”
Changes were simply being proposed in the organization of the parade and in the language of certain articles, Lahey indicated.
New replacement language for the articles would be proposed, but at this juncture the board was only meeting to consider possible changes.
“There is a lot of misinformation as to what we might or might not do,” he said.
Lahey also said that parade affiliated groups would have a role in future parades, but precisely how this would take effect was a matter for future meetings.