People talk about the “luck of the Irish,” but it takes a lot more than luck to be invited into the esteemed ranks of the Irish American Hall of Fame.

Inductees must be able to trace their roots back to the Emerald Isle, but also need a long record of noteworthy accomplishments and contributions to American life.

Mercy Home for Boys & Girls was bursting with Irish pride when Father Scott Donahue, whose Irish ancestors can be traced back to Counties Cork and Kerry, was recently inducted into the Hall.

Located inside Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center, the Irish American Hall of Fame pays tribute to exemplary Americans of Irish heritage who have shaped the Irish-American identity in the United States.

The Hall helps to preserve the story of the Irish in America by honoring their contributions to society in the categories of Arts & Humanities, Business and Industry, Public Service, Sports, Religion, Education, and Science.

Father Scott entered the Hall in the Religion category for his 37-year ministry as a Catholic priest, the majority of which he has spent providing healing and hope for kids at Mercy Home.

The Hall of Fame honor, bestowed on both living and deceased figures in the Irish diaspora, includes some of the most significant figures in American history, arts, politics, and entertainment. The astonishing list of luminaries features Presidents John Fr. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, Senators Robert F. Kennedy and John McCain, Chicago Mayors Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley, and actors Bill Murray and Spencer Tracy, just to name a few.

“I really want to dedicate this honor on behalf of Mercy Home’s donors and friends who have made so much possible in my own ministry and in the lives of so many children and families over the years. I am deeply grateful.”

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as just one example of the mark that the Irish have left on this great country,” Father Scott said. “But I really want to dedicate this honor on behalf of Mercy Home’s donors and friends who have made so much possible in my own ministry and in the lives of so many children and families over the years. I am deeply grateful.”

Father Scott is the eighth in an unbroken string of Irish-American priests who have led Mercy Home as president since its founding in 1887 by Chicago’s first archbishop, Patrick Feehan, who hailed from Tipperary, Ireland.

Since Father Scott began working with the Home in 1990, he has extended services to more people in need, including families and former residents, than at any time in its history. He has also overseen the development of Mercy Home’s approach to caring for its young people in response to new insights into trauma and child development.

His advocacy on behalf of children and mental health issues has led him to play significant roles in the Chicago Archdiocese’s violence prevention initiative and in the Kennedy Forum of Illinois, which seeks to combat the stigma of mental illness, which too often prevents people from seeking the help they need.

In addition to earning three master’s degrees, Father Scott established a department within Mercy Home to organize the academic and career preparation we offer our young men and women. This enhanced focus on academics is reflected in our high school seniors, who graduate at a rate of 100 percent year after year, despite coming to Mercy Home three years behind their peers in school on average.

Father Scott also promotes the spiritual development of children and professionals. In 2002, he established a faith-based year-of-service volunteer program for recent college graduates. Known as MercyWorks, the program gives motivated volunteers a unique opportunity to make a difference by working directly with the young people in our care. He also founded a program that helps Mercy Home’s young people deepen and draw strength from their faith.

Since Father Scott began working with the Home in 1990, he has extended services to more people in need, including families and former residents, than at any time in its history. He has also overseen the development of Mercy Home’s approach to caring for its young people in response to new insights into trauma and child development.

Father Scott’s advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged children is rooted in his ministry as a Catholic priest, which spans more than three decades. A parish priest since 1982, he also held significant roles in the Chicago Archdiocese, including Vice Chairman of the Association of Chicago Priests and Vocations Director.

Mercy Home is honored to share Father Scott’s induction into the Irish American Hall of Fame with our faithful friends. His accomplishments reflect your support, which has inspired his mission and made Mercy Home what it is today.