University Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day on Campus


Courtesy of ABC6

This month, the University has been displaying a 15th-century Irish chalice at the Connelly Center.

Maddie Schieder, Staff Writer

Green clothing swarmed Villanova’s campus this past Thursday as the community celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. 

Whether students annually celebrate or not, Villanovans got in the spirit this year both on and off campus. On Thursday, there were free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, food trucks and a St. Patty’s Day themed cookie station as part of the St. Patrick’s Day carnival and arcade games on the campus green. On Friday, Kappa Delta held a Shamrock Cornhole tournament as well. To close out campus celebrations on Friday evening, fire pits and food trucks were enjoyed on the campus green with live Irish music. 

In the city of Philadelphia, students enjoyed hopping around the city in their St. Patrick’s Day decor this past Saturday for an array of activities. On March 13, Philadelphia hosted the second oldest parade in the country, the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade, behind New York City. 

Other than the celebrations off campus and downtown, students were able to share their family traditions as well. 

Junior Olivia Sabalaskey, a Chicago native, shared that she grew up drinking Green River, a Chicago soda pop, and eating Irish soda bread. She would also visit the green river and watch the parade. 

Junior James Vizza shared his family traditions, including homemade leprechaun trap projects, wearing green and making Shepherd’s pie. He also usually attends his local parish’s St. Patrick’s Day Mass and parades. 

Traditions are always nostalgic, whether it be making green eggs and ham, wearing different shades of green or celebrating Irish heritage. 

Senior Charles Gilroy also celebrated in the leprechaun genre. His mom used to cut shamrocks out of green paper and lay them around the house, along with dropping chocolate coins for them to collect when they woke up. Also a Chicago native, his family would make Irish soda bread and still does each St. Patrick’s Day. 

This holiday, Villanova was also recognized on Channel 6 ABC news for the first public display of a rare 15th-century Irish chalice. 

The chalice is part of the University’s “Thirst for Divine” gallery in the Connelly Center, which opened on Mar. 9 and will run until Apr. 20. It was also used in a mass celebrated by University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD at St. Thomas of Villanova Church on Mar. 20.  

Joseph Lennon, director of Irish Studies at Villanova, spoke to ABC about the chalice and Villanova University’s Irish heritage. 

“To be Catholic in Ireland at this time was very difficult,” Lennon said. “This is an amazing object. A chalice from 1480. Villanova is the first place to publicly display the chalice.” 

Lennon explained that Irish people have always flocked to Philadelphia, with nearly two million people in the state claiming Irish ancestry. Home to the “Friendly Sons of St. Patrick” that began in 1771, Philadelphia has always been an Irish city. Immigrants from Ireland would come off of a boat into Philadelphia, welcomed by the Friendly Sons and Daughters of St. Patrick.

Although present-day Philadelphia knows how to celebrate in other ways, the city’s Irish heritage must also be acknowledged, along with the Irish artifact Villanovans pass on campus each day.