A fraternity of community

Saratoga chapter of Irish-American fraternal order celebrates 60th anniversary

— They say everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but no one quite like the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

The Saratoga Springs chapter of this national organization has deep roots in the area’s heritage of community, and will celebrate its 60th anniversary this March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

The group will be carrying on their tradition of holding an annual dinner and honoring the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Each dinner doubles as a fundraiser, and in 2011 the chapter made $5,500 in contributions to various Catholic charities in the Saratoga community.

The first Friendly Sons of St. Patrick is said to have been founded in Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day in 1771. Since that time, chapters have popped up across the country, with the current number of chapters in the hundreds, including branches in Albany and Troy.

“One of the first chapters of the society was founded in post revolutionary war New York City by Irish American Daniel McCormick, with the purpose to help the unusual number of impoverished and displaced Irishmen who had arrived in New York in the wake of the British evacuation,” said John Pecora, a Saratoga Springs chapter member for the past decade. “The first meeting of the New York City chapter was in 1784 at Cape’s Tavern. The Saratoga Springs chapter formed in 1956.”

Each year since its inception, the Saratoga chapter of thisf raternal and social organization has, through their annual dinner, raised money for local charities. Past recipients include many Catholic charities andarea Catholic school, among others.

In addition to its dinner, the group also has a mass on the day of the dinner at 8 a.m. during which they remember their deceased members. Mass has always been a very important part of many Irish heritage oriented groups.

“We meet periodically through the year to plan for the annual dinner. Past speakers have been geared toward Irish heritage. My favorite part about being a member is that it’s fun to be involved and have a chartable purpose. I’ve learned a lot about Irish-American history. There are so many fun aspects,” said Pecora.

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