St. Patrick’s week in Savannah begins with Celtic Cross Ceremony

Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 11:14 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -The countdown to St. Patrick’s day is on, and anticipation is building! Sunday, Savannah’s Irish-Catholic community gathered in Emmet Park for the Celtic Cross Ceremony. The decades-long tradition celebrates Irish heritage ahead of the big day on Friday.

The morning started with Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, followed by a procession to the Celtic Cross Monument in Emmet Park on Bay Street.

2023 St. Patrick’s Day Committee Grand Marshal George Schwarz says the day is reminiscent of St. Patrick’s Day’s past.

“It felt like this is how the original St. Patrick’s Day parades were, when it was small, all the Irish groups all together, all the societies,” says Schwarz.

The ceremony. honors Savannah’s citizens of Irish descent. It also offers a preview of what’s to come this week; organizers are expecting even larger crowds for the rest of the celebration calendar, topping last year’s comeback following COVID-19 cancellations.

“The world is looking a lot different right now as opposed to three years ago. I think we’re rebuilding. What wonderful building blocks but faith, family, friendship and fellowship to build upon to really define who we are and realize what the future is going to hold for us,” says Bishop Stephen Parks of the Diocese of Savannah.

Schwarz assisted in laying a wreath at the Celtic Cross monument as part of the ceremony. Bishop Parkes says the day is a reminder of Savannah’s Irish roots.

“It’s beautiful to be here today and be a part of the community here in Savannah where we’re really intertwining faith, family, and love for country and also through the lens of the Irish culture, says Parkes.

A day of tradition and honor setting the stage for the week ahead.