Luck of the Irish

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Naugatuck, Prospect celebrate Irish heritage

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, left, places a sash on Carole Dwyer Moschella March 14 in front of Town Hall. Moschella was honored as the town’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –LUKE MARSHALL
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, left, places a sash on Carole Dwyer Moschella March 14 in front of Town Hall. Moschella was honored as the town’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –LUKE MARSHALL

Both Prospect and Naugatuck got a little luck of the Irish with their new mayors.

The two towns honored Irish heritage this month by naming Irish mayors for the day.

On Thursday Prospect honored former Long River Middle School teacher Carole Dwyer Moschella as the town’s Irish Mayor of the Day.

Mayor Robert Chatfield said he has known Moschella for a long time and was happy to see her be recognized.

Moschella’s term in office begin with a police escort to Town Hall, where Chatfield helped her out of the cruiser and placed a sash on her.

She was sworn into office for the day and Jack O’Connor read an Irish blessing, as he has for the past 35 years.

Kevin Knowles, chairman of the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Day event, presents Joseph and Mary Connolly a plaque during a celebration Sunday at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club. The Connollys were named Irish Mayors for the Day in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL
Kevin Knowles, chairman of the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Day event, presents Joseph and Mary Connolly a plaque during a celebration Sunday at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club. The Connollys were named Irish Mayors for the Day in Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

As soon as she was sworn in, Moschella jokingly asked Chatfield where the budget was so that she could sign it.

Moschella told the audience, who squeezed into the Mayor’s Office to see her sworn in, that she was honored to be Prospect’s mayor for the day.

“Prospect is the best town in Connecticut and I am happy to be its mayor,” Moschella said.

On Sunday, the borough chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians honored Mary and Joseph Connolly as co-Irish Mayors of the Day at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club.

Joseph Connolly, a longtime educator in Naugatuck, said he and his wife were pleased that they had been chosen to be co-mayors of the day.

Mary Connolly is the former executive director of the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls. The organization now gives out the Mary H. Connolly Community Caring Award every year in her honor.

Dancers from the Horgan Academy of Irish Dance perform during the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s event Sunday at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club. –LUKE MARSHALL
Dancers from the Horgan Academy of Irish Dance perform during the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s event Sunday at the Naugatuck Portuguese Club. –LUKE MARSHALL

Joseph Connolly said he had not truly embraced his Irish heritage until he married his wife, whose parents had come from Ireland. They married 50 years ago last Thanksgiving and settled in the borough.

Joseph Connolly said the day wasn’t just about him and Mary, but about their whole family, most of whom were in attendance at the ceremony.

Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo, one of several local dignitaries to honor the Connollys,

said celebrating Irish history and borough history go hand in hand because of how many contributions Irish immigrants and their descendants have made to the borough over the years.