Plans are afoot for the observance of St. Patrick’s Day in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 11, almost a week ahead of the patron saint of Ireland’s feast day on March 17.

Joining Archbishop Charles Chaput, who will be main celebrant and homilist of a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Church, 20th and Locust Streets in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, will be a bishop from Northern Ireland.

Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry will be a concelebrant of the Mass along with Father Kevin Gallagher, pastor of St. Denis Parish in Havertown.


Father Gallagher will also serve as chaplain as the 248th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off at 12 noon.

In addition to the presence of the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band at the Mass and parade, 11 young musicians from St. Malachy College High School in Belfast, Northern Ireland will join their bishop in the parade.

For musicians and athletes of the school, a Philadelphia visit for St. Patrick’s Day is nothing new.

Dennis Kelly of Division 1 Havertown, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, in conjunction with Msgr. Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School, has been hosting student musicians and athletes from St. Malachy’s for more than a decade.

St. Malachy’s Traditional Orchestra will perform in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Springfield, Delaware County on Saturday, March 10 at 12 noon, as well as the Philadelphia parade on Sunday, March 11.

In addition to the parade performances, the young men from St. Malachy’s will spend the day at Bonner-Prendergast attending classes with students on Thursday, March 8.

The St. Malachy’s group will perform a free concert in the Bonner-Prendergast auditorium on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m., at which donations will be accepted to help offset the travel costs of touring the United States.