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NEW YORK, October 26, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The committee for New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade is considering removing Ireland's saint from his place of honor.
Saint Patrick's Day Parade, Inc., the corporation responsible for organizing the annual festivities, is holding a meeting Thursday to vote on potential revisions to the corporation's bylaws. Among the items on the agenda is the "removal of the section which states 'The Parade will be held in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and the Patron Saint of Ireland.'"
Further proposed revisions include:
The elimination of the election, by democratic process, of the officers of the parade committee by the Affiliated organizations; depriving the Affiliated organizations of any voice in the parade.
The creation of a new executive committee, replacing the elected Parade Committee, answerable only to Dr. Lahey [the current parade vice chairman] and the Board to administer the parade.
The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick's Day Parade committee be of Irish descent.
The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick's Day Parade committee be Roman Catholic.
The parade, first organized in 1762 by Irish soldiers serving in the British army, was created to commemorate the March feast day of Saint Patrick, whose fourth-century missionary work led to centuries of devout Roman Catholicism within Ireland.
Since 1992 the annual march in New York City has been operated by St. Patrick's Day Parade, Inc., whose mission statement is "to conduct in cooperation with the broader Irish American community a parade in honor of St. Patrick, the principles of the Roman Catholic Church and the culture and tradition of the Irish and Irish American people."
Dr. John Lahey, current president of Quinnipiac University, was promoted to vice chairman of St. Patrick's Day Parade, Inc. this summer following the ousting of long-time chairman John Dunleavy, who had fought hard against homosexual groups that sought to march in the parade.
Lahey himself was reportedly highly influential in permitting gay NBC contingent OUT@NBCUniversal to march in this year's parade, making them the first specifically LGBT group to take part in the parade.
He was also instrumental in last month's board decision approving a second "gay rights" group, the Lavender and Green Alliance, to take part in next year's parade. It will mark the first time in the parade's 253-year history that an independent homosexual group unnaffiliated with NBC has been allowed to march in the parade under its own banner.
According to the petition, under the watch of Dr. Lahey, the parade's board of directors has already begun marginalizing the allied organizations that for years have supported the parade through annual dues and fundraising; many of these organizations have been closely involved with the event for decades and some for more than a century. Per the current bylaws, said organizations receive a democratic voice within the planning of the parade but the developed revisions, citing the "need for inclusion" and the creation of special "executive committees," would consolidate their voting abilities to a "new executive committee" that would be "answerable only to Dr. Lahey and the Board."
This small body currently consists of Dr. Lahey appointments, many of whom are affiliated with Quinnipiac University and do not meet the requirements of the current bylaws, either due to a lack of traceable Irish heritage or identification as a practicing Roman Catholic.
A petition has been created by "Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations of the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade" and is requesting that "the proposed executive board meeting and all changes to the bylaws of the parade be suspended and that a meeting between the Board, Committee, and Affiliated Organizations be convened as soon as possible."
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