For the first time in 42 years, the St. Patrick Drill Team will not be marching in Cleveland’s big green parade. The 60-member crew was dismantled last year after the diocese closed the West Park Catholic parish.
About 200 displaced parishioners will be marching this year — a fitting activity for members of a church that was founded on St. Paddy’s Day in 1848. But they’ve been told to tone down their save-a-church hoopla just a tad.
“We were a little beyond the scope of the parade guidelines last year,” says Patricia Schulte-Singleton of the Save St. Pat’s Committee. The parade does not allow marchers to have an agenda, political or otherwise. “This will be more like a silent protest.” They will be joined by marchers from other closed area churches, including St. Casimir, St. James, St. Emeric, St. Wendelin, and St. Barbara.
Parishioners are still fighting the closures through appeals. They take comfort in news that the Vatican recently decreed that shuttered churches in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts could reopen. “We believe we will be saved,” Schulte-Singleton says.