All across America, Irish Catholics will be proudly wearing green and honoring St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, on March 17th.  With a little help from the luck of the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday this year making it even more special.  All services, where there are Irish parishioners, will also recognize Irish heritage.  Of all the American religious observances, the most popular one will take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a real emerald treasure in the heart of Manhattan, New York, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.  Taking up a whole city block between 50th and 51st street on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of New York’s most striking historical sites and the largest Neo-Gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in North America.

Before St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built, the land that would eventually house this historic cathedral, was purchased by Jesuits in 1810.  On the premises, they had a college and a chapel of St. Ignacious.  In 1814, the college closed, and they sold the land to the diocese.

On August 15, 1858, construction of St. Patrick’s Cathedral began and was completed in 1878.  The cathedral, which would become a famous tourist attraction, was dedicated on May 15, 1879.  The spires at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which are 329 feet and 6 inches, the second tallest in the US, were connected in 1888.  This colossal and beautiful cathedral has the capacity to seat 3,000 people.

Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral is like going to a museum, for there are many invaluable works of art in this holy place.  The Pieta sculpture, which was created by William Ordway Partridge, is three times bigger than Michelangelo’s Pieta.  The cathedral’s Stations of the Cross won an 1893 artistry award at Chicago’s World Columbian Expositions.  Commemorating the visit of John Paul II to New York in 1979, there is a bust of the pontiff in the back of the cathedral.

Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral is like going to a museum, for there are many invaluable works of art in this holy place.  The Pieta sculpture, which was created by William Ordway Partridge, is three times bigger than Michelangelo’s Pieta.  The cathedral’s Stations of the Cross won an 1893 artistry award at Chicago’s World Columbian Expositions.  Commemorating the visit of John Paul II to New York in 1979, there is a bust of the pontiff in the back of the cathedral.

With such fine organs, the music from St. Patrick’s Cathedral sounds like the melodies from heaven.  The Gallery Organ at the cathedral, which took three years to create at a cost of $250, 00, was dedicated on February 11, 1930.  It has the distinction of having the most lustrous wood facades in our country.

As Irish Americans celebrate their special day at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I hope all of you share in their spirit and have a happy St. Patrick’s Day.  May you have the luck of the Irish always.