Southwest Brooklyn leaders to march in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

There is only one month left before the 2014 Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off on Sunday, March 16 for its 39th year and the preparations are already in the home stretch.

On Saturday, February 1, the parade committee announced that Reverend James K. Cunningham of Holy Name Church would be this year’s parade grand marshal, and that eight locals known for their service and dedication to Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Irish American community would be his aides.

This year’s aides to the grand marshal include southwest Brooklyn notables NYPD Captain James Grant, commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Anne Strafaci, development officer at St. Patrick’s Parish, and Maura O’Donnell Lorenzen, principal of St. Saviour Catholic Academy.

Strafaci said that despite spending decades helping with parade planning and programming through St. Patrick’s, she was pleasantly surprised to be selected as an aide.

“I’m not Irish [so] I was shocked, but they said my involvement has been steady for so many years that they wanted to honor me,” chuckled Strafaci, who is Italian-American. “I’m excited for it.”

Parade Committee member Kathleen McDonagh explained that “every year we pick people from various groups that have been involved in the [Brooklyn] and Irish communities. This year, we selected people in uniformed service [and] Catholic education. . . We are honoring people for the contributions they have made to the city, borough and state.”

The other aides are Frank Carroll of the United Irish Counties of New York; Paul Finnegan, executive director of Irish culture at the New York Irish Center; James Keenaghan of Brooklyn Shamrock’s Irish Football Club; Mary O’Hara, LAOH with the Kings County Board; and Edward Velinskie, AOH with the Kings County Board.

The 2014 Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade is dedicated to Bishop Joseph Sullivan, who died in 2013, was the parade’s 1985 grand marshal, and “has done a lot for people throughout Brooklyn and Queens” through the Diocese and Catholic Charities, said McDonagh.

This year’s parade is also made special by its themes: the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner and the 125th anniversary of the Holy Name Church.

The annual parade will include remembrances of the Maryland 400 soldiers, the dozen or so officers lost by FDNY Squad 1 during September 11, and Saint Patrick.

For more information or to RSVP to participate in the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, call 718-499-9482 or 718-941-2887, and visit

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