D.C. cardinal preaches St. Patrick’s message on holiday (Photos)

Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl applauds and thanks members of the O’Neill James School of Irish Dance, located in Arlington. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl applauds and thanks members of the O’Neill James School of Irish Dance, located in Arlington. (WTOP/Kristi King)
"Go in peace." Clergy speaks with the departing faithful at St. Patrick Church in D.C. (WTOP/Kristi King)
“Go in peace.” Clergy speak with the departing faithful at St. Patrick Catholic Church in D.C. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Dancers from O’Neill James School of Irish Dance at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northwest D.C. Thursday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Northwest is the oldest D.C. parish. In 1792, this church was built by Irish immigrants. (WTOP/Kristi King)
St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northwest is the oldest D.C. parish. In 1792, this church was built by Irish immigrants. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl applauds and thanks members of the O’Neill James School of Irish Dance, located in Arlington. (WTOP/Kristi King)
"Go in peace." Clergy speaks with the departing faithful at St. Patrick Church in D.C. (WTOP/Kristi King)
St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Northwest is the oldest D.C. parish. In 1792, this church was built by Irish immigrants. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — It’s festive to display shamrocks on St. Patrick’s Day because they’re pretty, green, and Irish — but the tradition didn’t start that way, according to an expert of the highest order.

“Patrick being a good pastor, picked a simple sign to show everybody a much deeper teaching,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, during his annual St. Patrick’s Day mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Northwest.

“The shamrock is a beautiful way of telling the story of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons, one God.”

At the church — the District’s oldest Catholic parish — Cardinal Wuerl used his homily to share St. Patrick’s message.

“The Lord loves you. Jesus brings us the compassion and mercy of God. And we’re supposed to share that with our neighbors.”

Watch a portion of the mass below:

April 23, 2024 | Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, helps celebrate Irish heritage (WTOP's Kristi King reports)
Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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