Celtic Cross Mass, Ceremony held in Savannah

There is still a few days until St. Patrick’s Day, but the festivities wouldn’t be complete without the Celtic Cross Mass and Ceremony.

More than 1,000 people gathered on Sunday to remember the Irish who came here before setting the stage for all things St. Patrick’s Day.

It all started with a procession of Irish Society's who carry and will pass along their Irish traditions to the younger generations.

"We gather the families on this particular day to celebrate what the Irish accomplished here in this wonderful country," said Father O’Brien, 2017 Chaplain.

Then the Grand Marshal walks in to the Cathedral with his wife for the Celtic Cross Mass.

"This mass is really to remember the deceased Irish and all the Irish who came here and especially settled in that part of Savannah," said Bishop Kevin Boland, Emeritus of Diocese of Savannah.

After the service the Grand Marshal, his aides, the parade committee and many more marched down to Emmet Park for the ceremony.

The symbolic Celtic Cross Ceremony is the solemn part of the festival, remembering the Irish who have passed away and to set the stage for those still living here today.

"Today, in many ways, symbolizes the planting of the Irish seed in America,” said Dennis Counihan, 2017 Grand Marshal. “Fleeing religious, political and social persecution, famine and genocide."

The guest speaker has been to Savannah four times. Commissioner Derek Byrne, who was a part of the Irish police force, says he was glad to be a part of Sunday’s ceremony.

"To come here today and see 32 county flags walking into the church, cross representation of groups the ancestry that's here, the comradery that's here, the friendships that extend across the Atlantic,” said Commissioner Byrne. “So, I'm really proud to be standing here as an Irishman in Savannah, in Georgia, fantastic place to be. I can’t think of another place I would like to be on a day like today."

If you missed Sunday’s Mass you can still go to the St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Friday at 8 a.m.