SOME MIGHT CALL it the luck of the Irish that St. Patrick’s Church—Shieldsville, has persevered through two devastating fires.
Or perhaps St. Patrick’s, one of Minnesota’s first Irish Catholic parishes, established in 1856 in rural Rice County, could be considered unlucky given those two inferno-inducing lightning strikes upon church buildings nearly 100 years apart.
Bad luck or good luck, these strong Irish Catholics have withstood the tests of their faith, rebuilding after fires in 1888 and in 2002.
This weekend they’ll celebrate their heritage and patron saint namesake at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, going strong at 18 years. Beginning with an 11 a.m. Mass, the Irish, and even those who aren’t, will gather to worship.
Starting at noon, congregants and guests will meet in the social hall for the annual St. Patrick’s Day lunch of Mulligan Stew, coleslaw, Irish soda bread, buns and dessert. All homemade.
For those over 21, “Irish libations” will be available. I assume that means green beer and not Irish whiskey.
No reservations are needed to dine with the Irish and no fee has been set for the meal. Give a free-will offering.
While I’ve never dined at the St. Patrick’s Day lunch, this may be the year to imbibe. I’m talking food here, not beer, although I could possibly be persuaded to swig an ale. I’ve been to enough church dinners to know that you’ll find some of the best and tastiest homemade food in parish halls.
For those of you who enjoy Irish music, the Twin Cities-based band, Reverse Cowboy, will present its interpretation of traditional and contemporary Irish music during a 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. concert.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, if any, for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?
Situated along Minnesota State Highway 21 about 10 miles northwest of Faribault, Shieldsville is not an incorporated city, but rather a township. It was one of Minnesota’s first Irish settlements. St. Patrick’s Church is located at 7525 Dodd Road. To learn more about Irish history in Minnesota, click here.
As long as we’re talking Irish history here, historians consider Jessenland Township north of Henderson in rural Sibley County to be Minnesota’s first Irish agrarian settlement. You’ll find St. Thomas Catholic Church here, built in 1870 and on the National Register of Historic Places. The first church was built in 1855. Click here to read more about the Irish in Minnesota and specifically those who settled in Jessenland.
© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling