Irish Pastoral Centre celebrates lively St. Patrick’s Day luncheon

Irish Consul General Síghle FitzGerald, Father Dan Finn, Mayor Wu, Mike Carey, IPC Director Mary Swanton, City Councillor John FitzGerald, and Neil Hurley.

The Irish Pastoral Centre (IPC) hosted its annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon in Florian Hall on Friday afternoon (March 15), serving several hundred guests with generous portions of corned beef and cabbage along with the talents of local Irish step dancers.

The IPC holds the fundraiser every year on the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day to help raise money for the Centre mission, which is to give a warm welcome to all immigrants seeking help, according to director Mary Swanton.

Síghle FitzGerald, Ireland’s consul general in Boston, said her government supports the IPC because of the important work it does in Dorchester and acroiss Greater Boston. “Reflecting on St. Patrick, it is a story of migration,” she said. “Many did not make it past Deer Island even with their dreams of success in the US so close, but never realized.”

Later, FitzGerald presented a letter and certificate of appreciation to Father Dan Finn, a founder of the IPC, from Michael Higgins, the president of Ireland.

The letter recalled a time when they met, and congratulated Father Finn on his recent 80th birthday.

Mayor Wu stopped by and added to the celebration, saying the Irish American story is one of “hope and determination. It is, literally, what built Boston brick-by-brick.”

The afternoon was highlighted by the corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, and the step dancing from the students at Dorchester’s Petrocelli School of Irish Dance.

Marybeth, Maria, Jim, and Therese Monahan, of Lower Mills. Jim and Therese both grew up in Mission Hill, where Jim once pitched a no hitter for Mission High School with only one good arm.

Siblings Neil, Bevan, and Killian Doherty provided the fiddle music.

The best table dinner guests at the affair enjoyed the event together. From left, and Maurice and Eileen O’Connor, Noreen and Pat Driscoll, and Pat and Nora Goonan.

Mairin Keady and Lois McMullin enjoyed catching up at the dinner.

Anna Kealey, whose Irish heritage goes through Prince Edward Island, and Lucy Fair.

Patsy Dineen, at center, left in green attire, celebrated her birthday and the holiday with a swinging time on the dance floor.

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