Category: Archive

St. Patrick’s Mass set for Irish Korean War dead

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Fifty years to the day after New Yorkers turned out by the thousands to honor nine Irish heroes of the Korean War, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan will this weekend salute the heroes again — though this time 27 of them.

A concelebrated Mass will be said on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the cathedral for all the Irish of the Korean War, but with particular attention paid to those who served and died in U.S. uniforms without ever becoming U.S. citizens.

Nine such soldiers were honored at the cathedral on Feb. 2, 1952. But the body of only one of the nine, Cpl. Patrick J. Sheahan from County Kerry, was released by the U.S. military for the solemn requiem Mass that was reported in detail by then Irish Echo reporter Frank O’Connor.

This weekend’s Mass, which is expected to attract a number of veterans groups and is being organized in part by the carpenters union Local 608, is both a tribute to the fallen Irish and the latest chapter in a campaign to secure posthumous U.S. citizenship for them.

A bill currently before the U.S. House of Representatives would do just that, not just for the Irish but the Korean War dead of all nationalities who served in the U.S. armed forces in that conflict.

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This Saturday’s Mass, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to all and Local 608 business agent Gerry Philbin told the Echo that the local’s pipe band would likely be on hand to play outside the cathedral.

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