Contact Us
Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
Return to your home site


Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

St. Mary's Pastor To Lead St. Patrick's Parade

Monsignor Frank Wissel of St. Mary’s Parish may have a German name, but he says he had a distinctly Irish upbringing. And he will serve as grand marshal for this year's Greenwich’s 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“My mother had several beliefs and sayings, like if we were walking around and someone was walking with a cane, or on crutches or in a wheelchair, she’d say, ‘God Bless the Mark,’” said Wissel. “Or, 'Make sure you ring the bell with your elbow,' which means make sure you have enough to bring with you.”

Members of the Greenwich Hibernian Association who chose him to be grand marshal knew he was Irish from his sermons about his mother, a first-generation Irish American. “This is an honor. It’s humbling because having been a latchkey kid from Brooklyn, this helps me think of family and good qualities I grew up on,” said Wissel.

Wissel’s father Frank died when he was young. His mother, Anne, a chef in AT&T’s executive kitchen, was the sole provider. “She sent me to Catholic elementary and high schools, and each semester she would borrow the money from my aunt, then at the end pay her back, and then borrow again,” said Wissel. “She provided very well for me out of great sacrifice.”

He made the move toward the priesthood while working on his second master’s degree in psychology. “The psychiatrist who was overseeing our class said to me one night, 'If you had five minutes to live, what would you do?’ I said, ‘Be a priest,’” said Wissel. “And I was shocked. I searched it out for two years. I was ordained in 1977, I’ve been a priest for 33 years, and I’ve never been happier.”

St. Patrick’s Day events in Greenwich will start March 20 with the church’s 10:30 a.m. Mass, followed by the parade at 2 p.m. Wissel said he doesn’t want to discuss St. Patrick in that day's sermon. “I’m going to talk about commitment, dedication, hardworking, faith-filled Irish culture, to tie into the gospel."

What do you enjoy most about the Greenwich St. Patrick’s Day Parade?

to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Greenwich Daily Voice!

Get the news you need to know on the go.

Welcome to

Greenwich Daily Voice!

Hi! You've read our articles so we know you like our reporting. To keep reading please join our mailing list.

Get important news about your town as it happens.