One considers himself American-Irish, the others Irish-American.
But no matter the order, three community leaders have been selected as the two grand marshals and honored clergy for the 2013 Bronx St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
This year’s 15th annual parade kicks off at noon Sunday, March 10, heading down E. Tremont Avenue from Lafayette Avenue.
Grand marshals are Joe McManus and Rosmary Lombard, with honored clergy Father Stephen Norton of St. Benedict’s Church in Throggs Neck.
McManus is a member of Community Board 11, local Democratic state committeeman, and a Steamfitters Local 638 leader.
He has been marching in the parade about 10 years and has always enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day, back to when his father would throw a party to honor the patron saint of the Archdiocese of New York every year.
“I was always proud of being Irish-American, but more proud to be American-Irish,” said McManus, whose family lines in America stretch back to the 1850s.
McManus said he’s most proud that his fellow Irish have built the Catholic Church in New York, police and fire departments, and many other institutions.
During the bloody fight over Irish independence in Northern Ireland, the Pelham Gardens resident and his wife took in foster children from Ireland, sent to escape the violence.
Grand Marshal Rosemary Lombard of Bedford Park spent 33 years as a teacher and reading specialist at PS 85 on Marion Avenue.
She has also led numerous groups promoting Irish-American heritage, and was the first woman president of the United Irish Counties, and founder of the American Irish Teachers Association.
“My Irish heritage means everything for me,” said Lombard, recalling when her father would take them to Gaelic Park in Kingsbridge to watch the Gaelic football games.
“I got my early information on Irish heritage through my parents,” she said. “My aunts and uncles would get together and talk about the old country.”
Lombard, who is of 100% Irish decent, is the treasurer-director of the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. She has been married to her husband James for 50 years.
“I am proud to be an Irish-American because of the longevity of our life here in this country, because of our faith, and for so much that the Irish have given to America,” said Fr. Norton. “They built America in a lot of ways, so I am extremely proud to be an Irish-American.”
The parade committee is accepting journal ads to honor both the grand marshals and honorary grand marshals – those being honored posthumously. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393