Memorial Mass Honors St. Pat’s Parade Chaplain
The late Father Kevin Trautner, for 30 years the chaplain of Philadelphia’s St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association, was remembered at a memorial mass on Sunday, October 14, as a dedicated priest whose “smile was infectious and whose eyes would light up” when he talked to people, said Bishop Joseph McFadden.
“The last weekend I saw him he was so full of joy. He lived for the mass on St. Patrick’s Day,” said the bishop, who officiated at the special mass held in the ballroom at the Irish Center in Mt. Airy. Instead, in the ultimate irony, Father Trautner, 57, and pastor of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Norristown, was laid to rest on St. Patrick’s day last year. He died of a massive heart attack while jogging in Valley Forge Park just days after marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“We will miss his joy and happiness,” Bishop McFadden told the more than 60 people who gathered at the memorial service. “But we know that he is truly with us here today.”
And if he was, said parade director Michael Bradley, he was surely thrilled to see that he was replaced by not one chaplain, but three, including Bishop McFadden, who was named emeritus chaplain of the organization that runs what is the second oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country, now more than 235 years old. “He would have loved the idea that he could only be replaced by two priests and a bishop,” Bradley joked with fondness.
Father Chris Walsh, chaplain and church history teacher at Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, will be sharing parade chaplain duties with Father Kevin Gallagher, parochial vicar at St. Denis Church in Havertown. “Having two of us will make life easier for both of us,” said Father Walsh, who participated in the memorial mass along with Father Gallagher. “One of us will always be there for meetings.”
Philadelphia’s 2008 St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Sunday, March 8.