Salt Lake City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, in its 34th year, began as an act of defiance in a Mormon-dominated state.
But this year’s theme — "St. Patrick, Bless the American Worker" — illustrates how far the Hibernian Society of Utah has come in moving from exclusion to inclusion. After all, Irish leaders say, every historic or contemporary Utah settler — whether Irish, British, Greek, German, Chinese, Hispanic, Scandinavian, African or Pacific Islander — shared a driving desire to succeed, and worked together to build Utah.
"While there is no denying the traditional Catholic association of Utah’s Irish, and while we celebrate that, the Hibernian Society is a non-sectarian cultural organization," said the society’s Ted McDonough. "The society welcomes all faiths, and indeed has Mormon members — many of Utah’s recent Irish immigrants having come here as converts."
"We’re always looking for new members," said John Welsh, who helped organize the first parade and is still involved 34 years later.
Of course, as Utahns of Irish descent know, it wasn’t always this way.
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St. Patrick’s Day Parade
All units will assemble in the area of the intersection of 400 West and 200 North, march south on 400 West and then south, through The Gateway, a distance of just less than a mile. The parade will conclude at the south end of the shopping center.
When » Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.
Theme » St. Patrick, Bless the American Worker
Siamsa » Immediately after parade, with doors opening at 10:45 a.m. at The Gateway’s Grand Hall
Holy Mass in honor of St. Patrick » Sunday, March 18, at 5 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker, 7405 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan; Irish supper immediately after.
For more information » www.IrishInUtah.org