The rally, in the parish of St. Barnabas, which straddles the Bronx and Yonkers, drew a capacity crowd to a parish hall that serves as a second church. More significantly, the audience was loud, passionate and knowledgeable. The main speaker, Senator John McCain, most certainly left the event with a strong impression and that will be crucial for Irish prospects in the days and weeks ahead.
It is important here to extend appreciation to the pastor of St. Barnabas, Monsignor Edward Barry. This not just for his providing a fine venue. If Sen. McCain was not fully aware of the views of the U.S. Catholic bishops on immigration reform he most certainly was after Monsignor Barry stepped down from the podium.
The atmosphere during the rally managed to mingle the festive with real concern, humor with a palpable realization that in the crowd were hard working Irish immigrants striving for a chance to lay claim to their share of the American dream.
Due credit was paid throughout the evening to the contributions that succeeding generations of Irish have made to this country.
That story is not over. Far from it. And that was never more evident than in the hall of St. Barnabas, an Irish Alamo in a time of angst and uncertainty.