As a sea of resplendent marchers make their way down East Tremont Avenue in the 17th annual Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade, three honorees will take their positions at the front of the line.
This year’s grand marshals, Throggs Neck couple Agnes and Patrick Lynch, and honored clergy Msgr. John Graham are elated to be the key people of the parade, which steps off at noon on Sunday, March 15.
In interviews with the three Irish-Americans, a strong sense of the importance of the 2015 parade as a community event, as well as its religious significance, was evident.
“I think (the parade) is great for the community,” said Patrick Lynch, adding “it is a joyous day.”
Agnes and Patrick Lynch both immigrated to the United States from Ireland (counties Slingo and Kerry respectively).
They are active in St. Frances de Chantal parish in a number of capacities, they both said, and raised two daughters.
“It is a day of fun for the people of Throggs Neck, it reminds people of their heritage and even of their extended heritage,” said Agnes of the parade, adding that it is a day to honor Saint Patrick.
Msgr. Graham, the pastor of the Church of St. Raymond and a Catholic regional vicar, said that he had attended the parade twice before and that he hopes that March 15th spectacle sees beautiful weather and many attendees.
“I think it is a wonderful privilege that has been given me,” he said about being selected honored clergy by the parade committee.
The parade honors Saint Patrick, who Graham said is the patron saint of both Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York.
“I think one of the great characteristics of Patrick is that he is a missionary, always bringing the Gospel to people in very difficult circumstances,” he said.
Agnes and Patrick Lynch were married in 1959, and moved to Throggs Neck from Fordham in 1966.
They are both Eucharistic ministers.
In Ireland, Agnes grew up on a farm, and went to a one-room schoolhouse. She immigrated to the United States with her sisters.
Patrick represented County Kerry as part of the Kerry Football team in 1952 and 1953.
He later served in the United States Army after immigrating, and then went to work for forerunner agencies of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s New York City Transit, retiring in 1991.
Msgr. Graham said that his mother was born in County Mayo, and his father had immigrated several generations before.
The parade will make its way along East Tremont Avenue from Lafayette to Harding avenues. At Harding Avenue, there should be a reviewing stand.
A Mass and breakfast for marchers will take place at St. Benedict Church in the hours before the parade.
Over 20 Irish-Americans and community exemplars who are recently deceased will also be remembered as honorary grand marshals this year.