Catholic Action Report


Edward J. Wallace, Chairman


Of dead horses, grace … and guts!

The story is told of nine young soldiers who had received overnight liberty passes from the base where they were stationed. When morning came, not one of the nine was present at roll call. An hour after their absence was noted, the first soldier straggled back onto base. He was immediately taken before his Company Commander.

“I’m sorry to be late, sir,” the soldier said, “but I had a date, lost track of time and missed the last bus to base. I wanted to make it back on time so I took a taxi. About halfway back to base, the cab broke down, so I went to the nearest farm and bought a horse. As I was riding along on the horse, the animal suddenly stumbled to the ground and died. So, I did the last five miles on foot, and here I am.”

Although he was pretty skeptical about the chain of weird excuses, the Company Commander let the young man off with a mild lecture on the virtues of being on time. Well, wouldn’t you know, seven more stragglers reported in, one-by-one, each with the same story: had a date, lost track of time, missed the last bus, took a cab, cab broke down, bought a horse, horse fell dead. Finally, the ninth and last soldier arrived. Now totally exasperated, the Commanding Officer growled, “What happened to you?” The ninth man replied, “Sir, I had a date, lost track of the time, missed the last bus, hired a taxi….” “Wait!” said the officer. “Are you going to tell me that the cab broke down?” “No, Sir,” the soldier replied, “The taxi was fine. The problem was there were about eight or so dead horses on the road so we couldn’t get through.”

God is calling us to life, new life. God is offering us the power to live as complete, joy-filled persons. But, often He can’t get through to us and we cannot hear or follow Him because we clog up the channels of grace with dead horses that prevent us from getting where we need to be: following Jesus. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, tells us that His followers will hear His voice – but, boy – there are so many dead horses out there – that make it so difficult to listen to His voice and then to follow the Good Shepherd.

You know what those dead horses are in your life: Jealousy, greed, pornography, selfishness, pride, etc. It takes God’s grace and our guts to remove them – GRACE AND GUTS! The best remedy for the dead horse syndrome is our being aware of Jesus’ Presence and friendship every day. Learn to see how God is working in our lives and discover Him hidden within the events of daily life. Believe that He is always faithful. He will never abandon you! He gave His life to you on the Cross because of His unconditional love for you.

We have two major resources to meet the obstacles head on: first, the teaching of the Church – learning to recognize the path – the enlightening of our minds. Jesus made a solemn promise that “when the Spirit of truth comes He will lead you to the complete truth.”

A second resource gives us the strength we need to follow that path, even when it is so very difficult. They are the sacraments. Every one of the sacraments is meant to increase God’s grace in our souls. This is especially true of those sacraments that we are encouraged to receive frequently – the Eucharist and confession. Christ’s Body and Blood is nourishment for our souls. Confession strengthens us by healing the wounds of sin and reinforcing our efforts to follow Christ (that’s the guts part!). We need these supernatural helps to confront the dead horses on our life’s journey.

— This is an excerpt of a homily by His Excellency Terry LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg, NY.


NB: As Hibernians, we need to follow the teaching of the Church, receive the sacraments and put into practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Pray for and reach out to those less fortunate than we are. Support and pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Catholic Action Report

Edward J. Wallace, Chairman


Synod sends message of encouragement to traditional families:
On its last day of business, the Synod of Bishops on the family approved and released a three-page message expressing solidarity with Christian families around the world. The message, released on Oct. 18, is distinct from the synod’s final report, which the assembly was scheduled to vote on later the same day. Following two weeks of often-contentious discussion that included sensitive questions of sexual and medical ethics and how to reach out to people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, the synods message, which was approved by a large majority of the assembly, focused on the challenges and virtues of traditional families. “We recognize the great challenge to remain faithful in conjugal love,” the bishops said, citing obstacles including “enfeebled faith,” “individualism,” “stress that excludes reflection” and a lack of “courage to have patience and reflect, to make sacrifices and to forgive one another.”

Pope beatifies Blessed Paul VI, the ‘great helmsman’ of Vatican II:
Beatifying Blessed Paul VI at the concluding Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family, Pope Francis praised the late pope as the “great helmsman’ of the Second Vatican Council and founder of the synod, as well as a “humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his church.” The pope spoke during a homily in St. Peter’s Square at a Mass for more than 30,000 people. “When we look to this great pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks,” the pope said, drawing applause from the congregation, which included retired Pope Benedict, whom Blessed Paul made a cardinal in 1977. “Facing the advent of a secularized and hostile society, (Blessed Paul) could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, “ Pope Francis said, in a possible allusion to “Humanae Vitae, “ the late pope’s 1968 encyclical, which affirmed Catholic teaching against contraception amid widespread dissent.

What can we do:
As Hibernians, we can practice our faith by faithfully attendance at Sunday Mass, supporting the Bishops’ Fund in our dioceses, donating food to your local Food Pantry, supporting youth groups in your parish/community, pray for a United Ireland and peace around the world, pray for vocations and pray for an end to abortion on demand.

Catholic Action

As an expression of their pastoral ministry, the bishops of the United States act in concrete solidarity with the poor and defenseless. As part of this ministry, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops engages in advocacy on concerns related to the defense and empowerment of poor and vulnerable communities in the United States and across the globe.

In the international arena, they support policies that promote authentic human development. They support the promotion of human rights and religious freedom. They work to advance peace, disarmament and the eradication of indiscriminate weapons. The bishops’ concern extends to ending the suffering of those experiencing violent conflicts. They strive to reduce global poverty through effective international assistance, health programs, debt relief for the poorest nations and just trade policies.

In the United States, the USCCB works to apply Catholic social teaching to the promotion and development of public policy that strengthens and builds resilient families and communities. This includes advocacy on behalf of the poor and vulnerable on a range of matters related to human dignity, family life, the dignity of work and workers, poverty elimination, access to adequate nutrition and health care and the integrity of creation.


As a Hibernian, what can I do?

  • Pray that all leaders of nations respect life and look out for the needs of their people.
  • Donate food (or money) to your local food pantry.
  • Volunteer at food banks, soup kitchens, etc.
  • Donate used clothing to the needy in your community.
  • Support charities that help the poor and those in need.
  • Support your local Bishops’ Fund.
  • Pray for peace in the world.
  • Pray for vocations.

Director Joe Brady

Newport, RI AOH and LAOH members participated in the Rockaway Beach/Breezy Point Division #21 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Many of our members devoted their time and money to help local AOH members and others recover from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

Many of us were honored to march in the Watertown, MA Memorial Day parade to honor all Veterans. This year’s parade also honored the first responders, those injured and those killed in the terrible events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon.

At the request of the Casey family, including Chris Casey Waterbury, CT Division President, I was happy to attend the Ordination to the Priesthood of the Reverend Michael T. Casey. The ceremony was held at St. Josephs Cathedral in Hartford CT. That evening I attended a family reception For Fr. Michael.  The following day, Fr. Michael celebrated his first mass at St. Francis Xavier Church in Waterbury. I was able to lead the AOH Honor Guard along with Hilda Kelly, Past CT State President. For your edification, Fr. Michael returned to Rome to continue his educational responsibilities.

I was present for the entire weekend events of the 2013 Connecticut State Convention. The most important agenda items included Charities, the maintenance and growth of our Order and the Irish Way. In addition I was honored to install the newly elected state officers.

Having participated in many AOH conference calls, one important item was with regards to Project St. Patrick. Brother Ed Wallace has done an exemplary job and it was an honor to be part of the committee which awarded 137 scholarships.

I attended the State Board of Massachusetts annual meeting in Lynne, MA. I also attended the entire event schedule of the Massachusetts State Convention held in Plymouth, MA . At their meeting I was happy that State President Dick Wall appointed a State Catholic Action Chair. I plan on being very active with the states assigned to me in this regard, especially as recent events unfold. Once again, I was honored to install the newly elected state officers.

Most recently, it was an honor to present the 2013 Fenian Award to Fr. George McCarthy, a Kerry man, and the 2013 Civitas Award to Dan Titus.  Fr. McCarthy will soon retire as Pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Newport, the same church which hosted the marriage of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier.

As we look forward to the fall of 2013 and anticipate a constructive and enjoyable interim meeting of the AOH National Board’s National Presidents Testimonial Dinner, I encourage all of us to commit to Catholic Action. We should share our views on important issues before us. Remember that friendship and unity should mean that Catholic Action Chairs, whether state or local may reach out to their brothers through the Political Education Committee, the Right to Life Committee and the National Immigration Committee. It is an honor to have Joe Roche as our PEC Chairman, Jere Cole as Pro-Life Chairman and Daniel Dennehy as our National Immigration Chairman.

Around our country issues regarding Marriage and Right to Life and the Unification of Ireland and Immigration are everyday debates which need our voices. Remember there is need, those suffering from Hurricane Sandy and everyone who looks to the leadership of the AOH.

Your friend and as in our Motto, Joe Brady.

Catholic Action

James J. Burke, N. Y. State Secretary, New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan & Jere Cole, Jr. National Director &New Jersey State President attended a reception at Consul General of Ireland Niall Burgess’ Office in New York

Friendship, Unity and True Christian Charity.  This is the motto of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  What do you think of when you see the words “True Christian Charity?”  Does it mean giving of your time?  Your talent?  Your treasure?  Perhaps you think of charitable action, something you physically do for another person.  But what does charitable action look like?  Does it mean healing people like Jesus did?  Or perhaps trotting around the globe preaching the Good News to different cultures like Paul?  Maybe it means taking care of the widows and orphans, the poor and the marginalized.

True Christian charity can mean all of these things.  Different members of the church body are called to minister in different ways in the world.  But, when we think of Christian charity, sometimes we tend to focus on the “big things.”  What are the long range goals of a project?  How many people is it reaching?  Is it international?  While all of these can be good questions, Christian charity is not just about the “big things.”  Not all of us will heal people or travel the world working with the poor.

In fact, true Christian charity is really not about action.  True Christian charity begins in your heart.  You give because God gives abundantly to you.  You love because God overwhelmingly loves you.  You act on behalf of others because Jesus acted sacrificially on your behalf.  It is not the size or the scope of the action that matters, but the sentiment behind it.  You do not need to leave your neighborhood or start a new ministry to practice true Christian charity.  You can start right now in your own home, your own workplace and your own neighborhood.

Why not try it out for yourself.  Put one of these suggestions into practice this week:

1.            Take the first step in reconciling a broken relationship.

2.            Ask someone how they are doing, and really take the time to listen to their response.

3.            Tell someone who serves you in a store or at work that you appreciate them and what they are doing.

4.            Offer to help a neighbor with something.

These may seem like small acts, but I promise they will have big rewards – both for the recipient and for you!

Catholic Action

It was a pleasure to see so many Hibernians at the annual Right to Life March on Washington in January. Familiar faces like Seamus Boyle, our National President, and Matt Nelligan, National Chairman of the AOH Right to Life Committee, were prominent among thousands of Hibernian from around the country.  It is heartening to see the AOH do more than its share in this most noble of struggles.

My home division, Division No. 35 of Brooklyn, honored the Kings Count Financial Secretary, Bob Murphy, who is a member of the division, on occasion of the 131st birthday of the Division. The January salute packed the hall of the Columbus Council KofC and was a worthy salute to this fine Irish gentleman.

I’ve been attending and marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades since I came to this country in 1968, but I never tire of being part of the great day on Fifth Avenue. It is amazing that we have endured despite all the brazen attacks over two centuries that are still continuing in this present day. Leading the parade this year was New York’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly – no relation.

Project St. Patrick has received 99 applications from men and women preparing for lives in service to the church. It is a good time to make a donation to this cause that provides for the education of future priests and nuns.

Mike Byrne of Division No. 22 of Brooklyn is the hard-working prime mover of a special commemorative medal to mark the 175th Anniversary of the Order. Details are still to be released, but it looks like it will be more than worthy of the occasion. Mike has coordinated the production of this splendid work of art and has worked closely with National Chairman Ed Wallace, State Chairman Chip McLean and National Historian Mike McCormack who created the design.

Pat Cahill, past State Director of New York and currently New York County Treasurer, passed away after an automobile accident recently. Pat was also well known in many Irish organizations around the city and served as a Past President of the County Cavan Association. Another sad passing was Mark Ridge, a member of Division No. 35 when he was a resident of Brooklyn some years ago, and a life long supporter of Irish social and cultural events.

My son and namesake, Martin Kelly, was recently married to Lauren Flanagan in a ceremony performed in St. Jerome’s Church in West Long Branch, N.J. He is well known to many Hibernian members by his attendance at many state and national AOH conventions over the past twenty years.

My granddaughter, Caitlin Martin, finished chemotherapy after over two years of treatment at Sloan Kettering Hospital. I am a thousand times indebted to all my wonderful sisters and brothers who supported my daughter Margaret and her husband Mike and all our family over the most trying of times. Caitlin is in remission and we can thank the magnificent flowing of prayer from all of you. Prayer is the answer and we ask you to continue to remember Caitlin and our family. My daughter Margaret recently gave birth to a daughter, Ann Margaret, on March 29th.

Please contact me at with any additional news and comments.