Towns honor Irish ‘mayors’

Prospect Irish Mayor of the Day Sally Murphy, surrounded by her family, watches as Mayor Robert Chatfield signs a proclamation to make her the mayor for the day on March 17 at Prospect Town Hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

Prospect Irish Mayor of the Day Sally Murphy, surrounded by her family, watches as Mayor Robert Chatfield signs a proclamation to make her the mayor for the day on March 17 at Prospect Town Hall. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck and Prospect brought a little luck of the Irish to their towns on St. Patrick’s Day.

Borough resident Mary Ann Skehan Sigworth and Prospect resident Sally Murphy were sworn in as Irish Mayors of the Day for their respective towns on March 17.

“The Irish-American experience in this country is the classic immigrant experience of the United States of America. From meager beginnings Irish Americans have been such an important part of our culture, our history, our government, our entertainment,” Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo said during a ceremony to honor Sigworth.

Naugatuck’s ceremony, which is put on by the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians, started with a Catholic mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Following the mass the Hibernians and local dignitaries gathered in the basement of the church for a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage and a performance of traditional Irish dancing by the Horgan Academy of Irish Dance.

Sigworth said she was grateful for the honor.

“It is a wonderful honor to be Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for 2015. I have been part of the Naugatuck community my whole life and have always been proud of my Irish heritage,” Sigworth said.

Mezzo said the Hibernians picked an amazing person to be the Irish Mayor of the Day.

“You always see her face at community events. You always see her helping. She doesn’t look for the limelight, she doesn’t look for the glory, but I’ve seen her at so many different places I can’t remember all the activities she is involved in. That’s what being part of a community is all about,” Mezzo said.

Naugatuck Irish Mayor of the Day Mary Ann Skehan Sigworth looks on March 17 during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at St. Francis Church in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck Irish Mayor of the Day Mary Ann Skehan Sigworth looks on March 17 during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at St. Francis Church in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

Mezzo pointed to Sigworth as a good role model for the children in attendance.

“Often we think of the famous Irish-Americans who have made their mark here in this great country, but I ask the children look at our Irish-American Mayor of the Day. I always love when children are part of these ceremonies because we talk about heroes and we talk about people who have accomplished things, but today you get to see one,” Mezzo said.

In Prospect, Murphy received a police escort for her coronation at Prospect Town Hall.
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said Murphy was chosen in part because of her heritage.

“She’s 100 percent Irish and her son was my Irish mayor a few years ago. This is my first mother-son team,” Chatfield said.

For her part, Murphy was happy to hold the office once held by her son.

“I’m very honored and very thrilled about it. I’m very proud of Prospect,” Murphy said.