Monongahela woman named grand marshal of Irish parade
Dorothy Flaherty Weldon thought she had done it all when she completed her reign as national president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians during the recent convention in New Orleans.
She had gone through various local, county and state offices as well as those on the national level that led to her election as president in 2006.
"Prior to the convention I completed all necessary business, including work on the constitution and ritual book," she said.
"You can't succeed yourself as national president, so I was content to dedicate myself to the local Mary Ellen O'Neil Division 4, LAOH."
Then came the unexpected phone call to her home in Monongahela.
She had been selected to be grand marshal of the 2009 St. Patrick's Day parade in Pittsburgh.
"I was speechless," she admitted.
On Sunday, Weldon attended the morning Mass at Station Square in Pittsburgh celebrated by Bishop David Zubik.
At the breakfast that followed Mass, the bishop presented her with the formal sash to be worn during the parade.
The green-and-white sash carries her name, "Dorothy Flaherty Weldon."
The parade, which begins 10 a.m. Saturday, will form at Mellon Arena.
The line of march will proceed to Sixth Avenue, then to Grant Street and finally to the Boulevard of the Allies, where the reviewing stand will be located.
Weldon will be riding in the lead car.
She and several of her relatives and members of the Mon Valley LAOH marched in last year's parade. Weldon was wearing her National LAOH president sash at the time.
Members of the Mon Valley Ancient Order of Hibernians annually receive recognition for their vocal participation in the St. Patrick's Day parades.
One phase of Weldon's national involvement will continue.
As president, she proposed a Leadership Award to be given at each national convention in honor of her late sibling, Sister Peggy Flaherty, who had accompanied her to all LAOH events prior to her death.
The first award was presented to the Rev. Francis X. Henley, of Duquesne University.
Weldon will fund this award for the next three conventions.
A charter member of Division 4, LAOH, Weldon is again serving as president of the local unit.
The division will mark its silver anniversary at the end of summer.
Weldon was honored by Mon Valley AOH at its biennial St. Patrick observance two years ago.
It was the first time the organization diverted from naming an "Irishman of the Year" and named Weldon "Irish Person of the Year" in recognition of her national presidency.