Maroon sashes flashed between white snowflakes on March 16, as the Fordham University contingent marched up Fifth Avenue for the 252nd New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s and light snow falling over Manhattan, nearly 500 Fordham alumni, friends, and families, braved the weather—perhaps warmed by recent news of the election of the first-ever Jesuit pope, Pope Francis.
“We’re secretly—no, not so secretly—very proud,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, as he welcomed 150 alumni and friends to a pre-parade brunch at the Yale University Club of New York City. The Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, professor emeritus of theology at Fordham, shared jovial and informative stories of Irish Catholic history in New York City, and asked the Fordham group to remember “all of the contributions [Irish Americans] have made to the multicultural and polyglot communities that make up the Catholic Church today.”
For the march, alumni and their families donned Fordham hats (embroidered with shamrocks) and Irish fisherman’s sweaters—and reveled in the frequent cheers from the sidewalk crowds.
“We love it,” said Tamara Conway, LAW ’06, who marched with her three children, Aishlynn, Fiona, and Ronan. “They have a great time.”
For Katie Fitzgerald, FCRH ’06, it was a day for some father-daughter bonding. “We loved the atmosphere and energy of the crowd and passing by St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” she said. “It will certainly be memorable for both of us.”
Mark O’Connor, FCRH ’73, whose two sons are undergraduates at Fordham, was making it a Fordham-filled weekend. O’Connor attended the brunch and carried an American flag during the march.
Later Saturday night, he cheered on the women’s basketball team at the Atlantic 10 Championship game at the Barclays Center (the Rams lost to the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 47-46)—and will be attending the Fordham Founder’s Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria this evening.
“I check the Fordham website every day and then I saw this event and thought ‘great.’ I couldn’t go to sleep last night,” he exclaimed.
– Rachel Buttner