Darren D’Altorio

Churches and bars alike prepare for St. Patrick’s Day

Tradition Vs. College

Churches and bars alike prepare for St. Patrick’s Day

Holy drinking.

That doesn’t sound like an appropriate phrase. But it works, especially for St. Patrick’s Day— a holiday that is rooted in religious and cultural tradition and steeped in beer, Irish whiskey and potato hash.

As many Kent State students make their way downtown, pre-sunrise, to partake in the customary partying, Father Richard Pentello, pastor of Saint Patrick Church on North Depeyster Street, will be preparing for the 8:30 a.m. mass.

“I understand the excuse for people to party,” Pentello said about St. Patrick’s Day’s social appeal. “I’m not sure if St. Patrick would approve of the celebrations. As long as people realize the roots are in the celebration of a Catholic man.”

He said society has moved toward a commercialization of many religious holidays, like Christmas and Easter, but he doesn’t think all the partying is a bad thing.

“I think it’s important to celebrate as a community or society or as individuals or as a church,” Pentello said. “As long as people know why.”

He cited the Irish immigration to America as a major reason people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with such fervor.

“Our country has a long tradition of Irish-Catholics,” he said. “It’s a good time to put the spotlight on the folks of Ireland and what they brought to our country.”

Brian Bower, chef and managing partner of Cajun Dave’s restaurant, said the Irish’s cultural contributions are prominent in home-style comfort foods and great beer.

Growing up on a farm taught Bower, who is of German heritage, to appreciate the philosophy of hand-raising food.

“I’ve got a firm grasp on the field to the freezer,” said Bower, who used this grasp to offer some traditional Irish foods for patrons on St. Patty’s Day.

He said his restaurant is preparing two different egg casseroles for breakfast; one with meat and one vegetarian. Lunch offerings include a corned beef sandwich on deli rye, a corned beef Ruben and a turkey Ruben.

“The corned beef sandwich is for people who want to taste the rye and beef together,” Bower said. “It’s simple as can be.”

Dinner is corned beef and cabbage with buttered red potatoes – a staple meal for Irish celebration.

“We’re starting the day with 50 lbs. of corned beef,” he said. “We’ll see how far it takes us.”

Irish has an aura in popular culture thanks to movies like “The Departed” and “The Boondock Saints” and bands like the Drop Kick Murphys and Flogging Molly, which have brought Irish heritage to the mainstream.

Daniel DeSanto, who played the Irish assassin Crew Cut in “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” shared his thoughts on playing an Irish character.

“If Irish people aren’t offended, why should I worry,” he said. “We have so many fans of these movies. Let’s all drink and celebrate safely.”

Ross Stalvey, freshman nursing major at Kent State Stark, said he is celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day in a way he’s never celebrated before.

“My family is of Scottish decent and traditional Protestants,” Stalvey said. “I just found out Protestants don’t wear green, they wear orange on St. Patty’s Day. So I’m wearing orange.”

Stalvey said he thinks today the drinking and partying take precedent over the more traditional celebrations like going to church and having dinner with family. But no matter what, the day is all about appreciating relationships.

“It’s a day to spend with good friends and family, sharing a couple drinks and a couple laughs,” he said.

After mass is over, Pentello said he plans to embrace the spirit of the holiday.

“I take the ‘O’ from the end of my name and put up front,” he said. “It’s harmless fun.”

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Darren D’Altorio at [email protected].