Mooney-Polese Heritage Week

Last week was a welcome relief from Lent with St. Patrick’s Day, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and Laetare Sunday, which was overshadowed by the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at our parish. St. Paddy’s is an octave, didn’t you know?

It also presents a fun opportunity to celebrate our heritage as a family. The Mooneys are more Irish than most leprechauns and I’m half-Italian and even if my family would joke that we’re mere “Olive Garden Italians,” that part of my identity still means a lot to me. On Tuesday, I dyed our scrambled eggs green and made bacon for a “green eggs and ham” breakfast.

green eggs and pork product

Christopher wore his Ireland sweatshirt and I attempted some green with a turquoise dress I had. Chris relied on his pale complexion to communicate his Irish pride.

teaching our small Irish barbarian about the Holy Family

Chris’ family listened to a lot of Irish folk music while he was growing up. Much of it is over-the-top maudlin. This one is called “Four Green Fields”:

Some of the lyrics:

What did I have, this proud old woman did say
I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, who fought to save my jewels
They fought and they died, and that was my grief said she

Long time ago, said the fine old woman
Long time ago, this proud old woman did say
There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved, by mountain, valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood, said she

Goodness gracious. Apparently it’s about the English taking the counties in Northern Ireland, which I suppose merits such melancholy. Chris’ dad told him that his father, who came over from Ireland with his wife in the early 20th century, would sing this song with him on his knee. A verse:

My mother died last springtime,
When Erin’s fields were green.
The neighbours said her waking
Was the finest ever seen.
There were snowdrops and primroses
Piled high above her bed,
And Ferns Church was crowded
When her funeral Mass was read.
And here was I on Broadway
A-building bricks per load.
When they carried out her coffin
Down the old Bog Road.


All this seems a great contrast to the entire city of New Haven getting sloshed on Guinness for the five days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.

We had curry for dinner, which admittedly seems an odd choice, but it reminded me of the chicken curry I had our first lunch at our honeymoon in Ireland in a little inn as we drove from the Shannon airport up to Donegal. A blurry picture from that day:



St. Joseph’s Day had significantly fewer sad songs and 100% more pastries and handfuls of chocolate chips; however, it did not start off very auspiciously. Christopher was up half the night with a cold and we woke up early to get to morning Mass at St. Joseph’s, the church across the street, and found it locked. Apparently, it’s not a holy day of obligation. #catholicnoobz

We got to dig into our pastry earlier than anticipated thanks to that snafu. I had never heard of zeppole di San Giuseppe until we moved here and I just had to have one this year.

It was so good. Tradition adopted.

And from a place called Julia’s Bakery! Christopher and I read about St. Joseph and he held his designated buddy icon of the Holy Family. IMG_4689I also binge-watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt since there’s no being solemn on solemnities and I really enjoyed it. I’ve had the theme song stuck in my head for days now. Ironically, we had baked potatoes and chili for dinner that night because I can’t get my liturgical living lined up with my attempts at meal planning. One day.

I’m looking forward to developing our celebrations of these two feasts and creating more traditions to celebrate these great men of God and our family heritage.

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