The Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization, will celebrate their 41st annual St. Patrick’s Parade March 15 following a special noon Mass at St. Louis Bertrand Church, 1104 S. Sixth St.
Bellarmine University’s president Dr. Joseph J. McGowan will serve as the parade’s grand marshall. He has been selected by the Hibernians as the Irish Person of the Year, the organization’s highest honor.
The parade will begin at 3 p.m. at Broadway and Baxter Avenue and will continue along the Baxter Ave.-Bardstown Road corridor to MidCity Mall. The theme for this year’s event is “It’s a Great Day for the Irish.”
In a news release from the Hibernians, Mark Wakefield, the organization’s president, said “The parade just keeps getting bigger. Last year an estimaed 50,000 people came out to watch 125 (parade) units of all kinds.”
Wakefield noted that McGowan has led Bellarmine in “remarkable strides” since he took office in 1990 and said the university president traces his roots to County Donegal in Ireland.
The Hibernians also are naming three men who demonstrate “Irish character” Knights of St. Patrick. They are Joe Fallahay and Jack McGuire — who are Hibernians and regular volunteers at the Franciscan Shelter House — and Tony Cruise, a WHAS 840 host and “champion for the Louisville Boys’ and Girls’ Haven.” They were honored on Feb. 28 at the annual “Wearin’ O’ the Green.”
Other events will precede the parade. On March 13, a “Blessing of the Beer” will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the BBC brewery, 636 E. Main St. It will be followed by live music and a special menu of Irish dishes at 6:30 p.m. at O’Shea’s Irish Pub, 956 Baxter Ave.