50 years ago, on 17 March 1973, a small group of priests and people came together to celebrate the feast. Little did they know the tradition they were establishing! Every year, barring one year forced online, people have gathered at St Michael’s to celebrate the feast of St Patrick and to bring together, in pride and in joy, the great Irish community of the North East of England.
The church is highly decorated with lots of green adorning the aisle and indeed the community present. Pews are full. The sound of the choir and musicians, loud and joyful, resounds around the church. Offertory procession of gifts is a little unusual on St Patrick’s Day. Trays of shamrock plants are carried forward and blessed as part of the service.
People never forgotten, the names of those lost over the year were read out aloud during this year’s mass. Those lost over the 50 years are also remembered. They celebrate here too, their names carried on the branches at the back of church.