When a sea of green marchers roll down E. Tremont Ave. for the Bronx St. Patrick’s Parade, these three honorees will be siting pretty.
The parade committee has selected Denis and Noreen Donoghue, a married couple from Throggs Neck who have spent their retirement years volunteering at Calvary Hospital for more than a decade, as the 16th Annual Bronx St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s grand marshals.
Honored Clergy will be Mother Alice Mary McGowan, mother superior and CEO of Jeanne Jugan Residence on Schurz Avenue in Throggs Neck.
The parade kicks off at noon at E. Tremont and Lafayette avenues on Sunday, March 16, with a reviewing stand at Harding and E. Tremont avenues.
“I feel wonderful about being honored here,” said Denis Donoghue. “It is really nice to be recognized, and it’s exciting for us.”
Denis and Noreen met in Ireland when they were teenagers, with he hailing from County Kerry and she from County Cork.
They were married in 1958 in Throggs Neck at the Hideaway Inn on Pennyfield Avenue, a few years after they immigrated to America, said Noreen Donoghue.
She worked in catering, and he in refrigeration and restaurants, and they have been volunteering at Calvary Hospital since their retirement in 2001.
He helps take patients to Mass and activities, and she brings patients ice and water and helps feed those who cannot feed themselves.
“When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “I like to help sick people and those who cannot help themselves.”
Both Denis and Noreen are thrilled about being grand marshals, but they were also honored by the Kerrymen’s Patriotic & Benevolent Association.
They are the proud parents of Patrick (PJ), Noreen and Denis, and grandparents to seven.
Noreen expressed her admiration for the Bronx and for the United States.
“The Bronx is just great,” she said. “We like the people and the conveniences.”
Mother Alice was born in the Bronx, and was baptized at St. Augustine Parish, attending St. Philip Neri School and Aquinas High School.
She professed her vows as a Little Sister of the Poor in France, as all members of that order do, and served her community in New Jersey, New York, and as well as in Baychester in the Bronx before landing in Throggs Neck.
“I think it is a privilege to represent the clergy, and also my Irish heritage,” she said, adding that she could not get over the size of the parade.
She has been the administrator of the Jeanne Jugan Residence for three years.
The day of festivities will begin with a mass and breakfast for the marchers at St. Benedict’s Church.
Every year after the parade, there are several parties and family get-togethers, said Sheila Haney, parade committee member.
There is also a festive atmosphere in bars and restaurants on and around E. Tremont Ave.