STILL RIVER -- The Worcester St. Patrick's Day Parade stepped off Sunday under clear skies. Though they were originally scheduled to march in the annual event, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School from Still River was not part of the procession.
Band Director Brother Peter Mary told WBZ Radio that the school withdrew from the Sunday event on Saturday when learning they were to be marching with a pro-choice politician, Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Stephen Kerrigan of Lancaster.
Brother Peter said the school made a last minute decision upon being notified by a student's parent of Kerrigan's pro-choice stance. Brother Peter said the parade organizers knew the school would not partner with sponsors with incompatible beliefs.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports that Parade Committee Chairman Stephen Trainor said with enough advance notice, the school band could have been partnered with another sponsor.
Brother Peter told WBZ that the students were informed of the reason at Sunday mass and understood the situation. "If you actually say you are a Catholic, you actually believe what the Catholic Church teaches," said Brother Peter. "We're not intolerant because we reach out to these people," Brother Mary told WBZ. "But in an official capacity, there has to be some type of line or else people don't know the difference between error and truth or morality and immorality, or any particular thing that would put them in a state of compromise