MOUNT HOLLY — On March 17, Catholics of Irish descent in the Diocese of Charlotte will gather to celebrate their Irish roots with a special Mass at Old St. Joseph Church in Mount Holly.
All are welcome to attend the Mass at North Carolina's oldest Catholic church at 10 a.m.
Sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in the Charlotte area, the annual Mass pays tribute to the historic church's first pastor, Father T.J. Cronin, who was Irish born and is buried in the adjacent church cemetery.
St. Joseph Church was built in 1843 for and by Irish immigrants, who had come to mine for gold along the Catawba River. It is the oldest Catholic church still standing in the state and is an official state and U.S. historical site.
Today St. Joseph Church is used for special occasions such at the feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph in March, and tours are available upon request through Queen of the Apostles Church in Belmont.
Father Paul McNulty, chaplain of the St. Brendan division of the Hibernians, will concelebrate the Mass on Thursday, March 17. The church is located at N.C. 273 and Sandy Ford Road.