As I write this column, my local Catholic Charities is putting the finishing touches on our annual St. Patrick’s Day Gala. The ballroom will be filled with partying Catholics and Protestants and Jews and None-of-the-Aboves. Every American knows about the Memorial of St. Patrick on March 17, and most Americans keep some element of it, right down to a bit of green adorning a suit lapel or dress collar.
Perhaps we believe the Irish deserve to have green beer--or a green river--once a year because they are the largest immigrant group in the American Catholic church. Except that the largest immigrant group in the American Catholic Church is not the Irish. It is, in fact, the Germans. And the patron saint of Germany is St. Boniface, whose memorial is June 5.