For the third straight year, CM members gathered in St. Louis on St. Patrick’s Day weekend to meet new friends, reconnect with old ones, embrace the city’s Irish festivities and look to create new possibilities for meeting the love of their life.
The event officially started on Friday, March 13, but some arrived to get the party started a little ahead of time. Several members came to town on Thursday to see the Arch and other sites of this historic city on the Mississippi River. Then the planned activities kicked off the following night with a Meet-n-Greet at McGurk’s Pub. The group was blessed to have a priest, Father Daniel O’Connell SJ, open the gathering with a prayer. Being a Friday during Lent, fish dishes were on the agenda, along with some fine cookies and pretzels.
On Saturday, the locals were able to share their knowledge of their hometown. One took a group on a tour of the St. Louis Zoo and then on to the Cathedral, adorned with magnificent golden mosaics. In the evening, the group went to Mary Kathryn’s Cottage—the nickname given to the home of the group’s leader, Mary Kathryn-177850 for Irish stew, potato soup and traditional Irish soda bread, baked by one of the local members. Mary Kathryn and two other members then played traditional Irish music and karaoke began right in her living room. “That was a BIG hit!”, Mary Kathryn would say later.
Sunday saw everyone return to the Cathedral for Mass, followed by a goodbye brunch for most, as it was time to return home. Some were able to stay into early the following week to enjoy the Dogtown Parade on Tuesday, the exact day of St. Patrick’s Day.
The third straight edition of CM St. Louis took a lot of dedication by its organizing members. “Usually our first meeting is in September, Mary Kathryn said. “We divvy out the chores and discuss how much of an activity or what activities we want to include, throw out, etc. We already are beginning to discuss different types of tours for next year.
I'm planning on asking more people to join the SluCru or delegating more of the activities. It is getting too much for the 6 of us because we always seem to be adding something!!” As a special treat for the fourth edition of CM St. Louis in 2010, Mary Kathryn expressed optimism that the group might be able to march in the parade.
This is an event that continues to grow and thrive with each passing year and offers real opportunities for both personal growth and fun. As its organizer would recall—“This was a retreat into the celebration of our Irish roots. We did everything as Irish as possible. We had dinner in our best Irish Pub where there are musicians from Ireland playing…spiritually, I think I came away with the knowledge that God had gifted us with a beautiful weekend weather-wise, and that these CM members were chosen to be in this particular place at this particular time. These were 30 of some of the greatest people I have met…Each person was unique and yet the same. It was like a patchwork quilt. Everyone brought something special to the gathering. Everyone fit.”
Everyone fit indeed. CM St. Louis has become a fixture in the online community of Catholic Match. Members came from all over the United States, from as far as Connecticut and Texas. Mark it down for next St. Patrick’s Day and plan to be one of them.