Celtic Cross Ceremony - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Celtic Cross Ceremony

People lined the streets of downtown Savannah in the parade before the "big one." People lined the streets of downtown Savannah in the parade before the "big one."
The grand marshal, Dr. Rossiter, says it's a ribbon around the park that honors his family's name. The grand marshal, Dr. Rossiter, says it's a ribbon around the park that honors his family's name.
A wreath marks the contributions of the Irish in Savannah's past. A wreath marks the contributions of the Irish in Savannah's past.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The annual Celtic Cross Procession to Bay Street is considered to be the parade before the big St. Patrick's Day parade.

This is not the day for which Savannah's Irish are world renowned, but rather this is the Sunday before that day when the green will have the city and the Irish memories to go with it.

Not unexpectedly though, they celebrate with a parade through the moss draped streets of the city where their ancestors also marched.

But before Savannah's Irish march anywhere they go to mass where their colors lead the way and their grand marshal discovers firsthand the thunderous warmth of the Celtic heart.

The Procession to Bay Street and the Celtic Cross has special meaning this year. Emmett Park is the lush island where they gather, but the road around it is called Rossiter Place.

The grand marshal, Dr. Francis Patrick Rossiter, Jr., notes that Robert Emmett, the Irish Patriot, was protestant and his father was Catholic. The two faiths are tied together in the space along Bay Street. He also says it's a ribbon around the park that honors his family's name.

"And they are what we remember here in Savannah," said Dr. Rossiter. "This is Irish green long before it was Emmett Park and I feel like the real ribbon that tied Emmett Park and gave it its true meaning was when City Council named this ribbon around the park as Rossiter Place in honor of my father."

A wreath tributes those who have come before and a song titled St. Patrick's Day in Savannah and a prayer to mark the contributions of the Irish in Savannah.

Reported by: Craig Harney, charney@wtoc.com

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