But Mayo-born Father Michael Tracey and the parishioners of Our Lady of the Gulf in Bay St. Louis nevertheless realized their dream of celebrating Christmas Mass in the church that suffered a near fatal blow from Hurricane Katrina.
“We celebrated Christmas in our church and it was electrifying,” the Killawalla native and pastor of Our Lady’s told the Irish Echo.
A breeze from the Gulf of Mexico kept things cool in a church that still has a long way to go to recover from the killer hurricane.
The front doors of Our Lady’s are only half-doors, which Tracey described as being not unlike those of a saloon in an old cowboy town.
“A lot of people were not surprisingly elsewhere for the holiday but many were still here and grateful for that,” Tracey said.
“When I was writing my homily I kept thinking about the song ‘I’ll be home for Christmas,'” he said.
Much of Bay St. Louis, which affronts the Gulf of Mexico, is still in ruins although Tracey said that progress in repairs was now evident four months after Katrina.
Three masses were said in Our Lady’s, one on Christmas Eve and two on Christmas Day.
But by Monday the task of repair and recovery was in full swing again.
“The work continues,” Fr. Tracey said.
BUSH PROMOTES BARRY
With a sweep of his pen President Bush last week confirmed Commodore John Barry as first flag officer of the United States Navy.
The signing ceremony for House Joint Resolution 38 took place on Thursday, Dec. 22 — 202 years and three months after the Wexford-born Barry passed into the history books.
Barry had for years been known, unofficially, as the “father” of the navy. The president’s signature made official his leading role in the birth of both the navy and the nation.
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives had earlier set the seal on Barry’s elevation by approving separate resolutions.
It was the culmination of a bipartisan congressional campaign that first took flight back in 1996.
ADMITS POT BUY
The son of top cop John Timoney last week admitted trying to buy 400 pounds of marijuana from an undercover agent.
The offense carries a potential 40-year sentence though the guilty plea in an Albany, NY federal court by Sean Timoney, 25, could lessen the term.
Timoney was arrested Nov. 1 in a hotel room in Spring Valley, Rockland County, N.Y. and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance.
The arrest took place after Timoney gave an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent a gym bag containing over $450,000
Prosecutors alleged that the money was partial payment for what Timoney and a co-defendant understood would be the handing over to them of 400 pounds of marijuana.
Timoney’s father, Dublin-born John Timoney, is the current police chief in Miami, Fla., the former chief in Philadelphia and the onetime number-two ranking officer in the NYPD.
LAMB’S THE MAN
The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh has a new man at the helm.
James J. Lamb was has been promoted to the office of institute president
Lamb joined the Ireland Institute in Jan., 1992 as director of training.
He was hired to specifically manage the Institute’s internship program for unemployed young adults from Ireland and Northern Ireland and is presently the Pittsburgh hub manager for the Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program, more commonly known as the Walsh Visa program.
Lamb, according to a statement from the institute, “is an advocate for reconciliation in Northern Ireland and economic development in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Western Pennsylvania.”