By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
“I was totally taken by surprise,” said Chris McCormick Pries on being named the Irish Mother of the Year by the St. Patrick Society, Quad Cities U.S.A. The society also named Kevin Fennelly as Grand Marshall.
Her first thought was, “you are joking, right?” But her active role in the community should have convinced her otherwise. McCormick Pries serves as parish health minister at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf, chairs the Diocesan Review Board and works as clinical director at Vera French Community Mental Health Center in Davenport. She and her husband, Hugh, reside in Bettendorf and are the parents of Jake and Jeff and have two grandchildren.
McCormick Pries was nominated for Irish Mother of the Year by Mary and Bill Albracht. Several family members and friends submitted letters of support. “I am so honored to join the previous Irish mothers in this great celebration,” she said.
“I have always been proud on my Irish Catholic heritage. It seemed when I was a very little girl living in Yonkers, N.Y., everyone we knew was Irish. My mother is an O’Brien, her mother a McGowan. My father’s mother was a Casey and relatives were FitzGeralds, Murrays and Murphys. The first song I remember my father singing was McNamara’s Band!” She’s also visited Ireland — six times. “Each trip has been unique and wonderful.”
Grand Marshal Kevin Fennelly grew up in Davenport and currently resides in Moline, Ill.
In their roles, McCormick Pries and Fennelly will be at the Gathering of the Clan Luncheon at 11 a.m. on March 15 at the RiverCenter in Davenport.
Grand Parade XXXIV begins at 11:30 a.m. on March 16 in downtown Rock Island and crosses the Master Sgt. Stanley Talbot Memorial (Centennial) Bridge to end in downtown Davenport.