Parish upset with South Side Irish parade 11 a.m. start

March 8, 2012 3:28:01 PM PST
The South Side Irish Parade is back for the first time in 2 years, but the priest at a nearby church is upset about the earlier start time.

Sunday's 11 a.m. parade start means Saint John Fisher Catholic Church must cancel or reschedule two Masses. Parade organizers say the earlier start time is part of a safety plan to keep the parade, which was on hiatus due to issues such as public drunkenness, family-friendly.

The South Side Irish Parade route runs down Western Avenue.

"The parish is very close to Western Avenue, which is the parade route and the parade organizers line up the floats along 103rd street, which is our main ingress and egress to our parking lot," Thomas Broderick, who serves on the St. John Fisher Parish Pastoral Council, said.

Broderick's pastor, Father Tom Kyfes, would not comment, although the priest has made his concerns known to the parade committee, the alderman and to parishioners through the church website, which says the parade will be held "with no apparent regard for the far more important task of giving praise and thanks to God on a Sunday in Lent". The parish is adding a second mass on Saturday instead.

"People normally come to mass at a certain time, people will not go to mass at all or go to a different parish so there is a financial impact that has not been addressed at all," Broderick said.

Broderick doesn't know how much money the church expects to lose in its Sunday giving with the cancellations. Parade organizers say the 11 a.m. start time is a compromise with city officials who, for safety reasons, wanted the parade to start even earlier.

St. John Fisher doesn't understand why parade organizers can't follow the lead of the Gay Pride Parade who moved its start time to accommodate a Catholic Church on the North Side, but the Irish parade organizers say this Beverly parish is the only one who is complaining.

"It is not a matter of us not accommodating them. They have other mass times. All the other churches did accommodate their parishioners and it's a shame that Father Bbob decided to make an issue of this," Bill Figel, South Side Irish Parade spokesman, said.

Two other Catholic churches in Beverly have also cancelled or moved Sunday morning mass times. Parade organizers say those pastors welcomed the return of the parade and were happy to accommodate the 11 a.m. start time. Those churches are also participating in the parade.