FFAI Sean Pender

I hope that all have enjoyed the summer months; it has certainly been a hot one. I would first like to mention that due to a transposition error on my part I failed to list the AOH and LAOH Division 22 of Philadelphia as contributors of a $1,000 donation to the most recent Christmas Appeal. My sincere apology for the error and sincere thanks to the members of the LAOH and AOH for their tremendous donation.

In late May, a fine Irish Catholic gentleman, Harold “Bud” Thompson, passed away at 88 years young. I had the absolute honor of being on several trips to Ireland with Bud and his son, Chris, attending Bloody Sunday marches, and our most recent trip in March and April of this year. On our last trip Bud was an integral part of our delegation, he attended all of our events in Belfast and Derry. Bud and Chris coordinated a visit to meet the Ballymurphy Massacre families; Bud held court at the Kinturk Tyrone AOH hall with the children who entertained us, he proudly led the Belfast Easter commemoration march up the Falls Road to Milltown Cemetery in a black taxi, he asked questions regarding the PSNI at our Good Friday presentation and, in a moment I’ll always remember, Bud gave us two songs at the Derry AOH Hall. At 88 years old he was as sharp as a tack and an absolute joy to be with. After our visit to Milltown Cemetery where we attended the Easter Commemoration and stood by in the very bitter cold listening to speeches we couldn’t wait to get back to the bus for some much needed warmth. Bud got on the bus after getting out of the black cab and as we were defrosting he said dryly, “I’m glad to be back in the bus, it was getting warm in that cab.” Before Bud and Chris left for home I made it a point to take a Fathers and Sons picture of them with myself and my son, Tadhg. It is my sincere hope that some day I will have the same loving relationship in my latter years with Tadhg that Bud and Chris have.

To Bud, well done good and faithful servant, you will be missed but never forgotten; To Chris, your love and devotion to your Dad is an example that we can all learn from.


Shortly after you receive this edition of the Hibernian Digest the yearly Freedom for All Ireland Christmas Appeal packets will be mailed to all divisions and boards. This year, instead of me writing of the importance of the Christmas Appeal and the continued need for support, I have asked members who have traveled to Ireland and met the groups on our trips to tell you instead. It is my intention to include more contributions in upcoming Digest issues from members and groups in the hope that this information will confirm the need for our Appeal and answer any questions members may have regarding it. As always, I am available to answer any questions regarding the appeal just drop me an email at paddyspeed@yahoo.com



Jere Cole National Director

            As you know I have been on this trip for many years. We have met many people and listened to many stories about the struggle in the North.

For me I can say it has been Educational, Informative & Rewarding it has offered a unique perspective on life in the North during that time. You cannot explain the feeling you receive from the people you talk to about what was going on. We must continue this trip to let our ”IRISH” brother & sister we still care about their hope & dreams. 



Dan Dennehy National Immigration Chairman:

            I have been a participant in the past 3 FFAI tours.
Three years ago we marched with the jubilant Bloody Sunday families and listened to the families of Ballymurphy, Coalisland and many others involved with Relative’s for Justice, felt the warm gratitude of the wonderful youths of the Omagh Choir and Basketball Team, visited Iveagh House for the first time and met the young mayor of Belfast, Niall O’D. Two years ago we visited the stunning beauty of the Giants Causeway, DownPatrick and Armagh, met the wonderful people of Crossmaglen and South Armagh and participated in a pivotal Unite Ireland Conference.
This Easter Week we met the beautiful people of the Short Strand, Belfast, Derry, Tyrone and Dublin, joined in numerous Easter Commemorations’, hosted a 15th Anniversary Good Friday Agreement Conference, and were given unbelievable access to Iveagh House, Glasnevin Cemetery, and Padraig Pearse birthplace by legendary historians, (Shane McThomais and Ruan O’Donnell) dignitaries (Niall Burgess and Joe Byrne), artists (Robert Ballagh) and writers (Tim Pat Coogan).

These trips are important because they are productive, informative and fun. Chairman Pender surpasses himself each year as the trips become more connected, involved and well received by the legislators, activists and ordinary people of the cities and communities that we visit. Great friendships between Hibernians from across the US are forged each year on these trips and last long after the FFAI tours.





Christopher Thompson, ESQ Long Island New York:

Bobby Sands said it best – “Our revenge will be in the laughter of our children.”  I started to travel to Northern Ireland when I was in the 10th grade.  That was over 34 years ago.  I have watched the Christmas Appeal grow into a beacon of peace allowing organizations that receive little, if any, financial support from the government to reach across religious barriers once thought unbreakable – changing the minds of the youth of Ireland even if one mind at a time.  Perhaps, that is the laughter Bobby Sands spoke of.

Also, I told you how I came about sending a $1,000 donation by not drinking coffee.  This year, my dad raised $3,150.00 from his grave simply by asking for donations instead of flowers.  People should know this is an option – especially those of us who visit and support the work FFAI does.
Thank you for your hard work Sean it’s greatly appreciated and sorely needed.



Stephen M. Dick Jr.

Albany County Treasurer

            There is NO substitute for the experience I had going on the FFAI Tour last year.  The opportunity to meet the people that lived the history can never be replaced by history books, movies, or the like.  To have had the chance to speak to past prisoners, to see historical memorabilia from the troubles in person, and listen to the stories of the families still seeking justice was more profound than I had even imagined.  I look forward to getting another chance to return in 2014.





 Kathleen Savage LAOH Massachusetts

I don’t think it should make any difference that it’s 15 years after the GFA to continue funding most of the charities that the AOH has supported.  I definitely would like to see checks still going to Mary’s Gift to promote the Irish Language. The Belfast National Graves because the upkeep of the graves will always be needed.

The Pat Finucane Centre & Relatives for Justice because families of loved ones who were murdered by the Crown Forces have a right to know the Truth and Peace will only come with Truth & Justice. The cross-community projects should continue to be helped by the Christmas Appeal as this is the pathway to Peace (David Ervine Trust – Omagh Basketball Club). St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Tar Anall, Thar Saile, and Coiste should continue to be on the list of recipients of the Christmas Appeal. I would also like the AOH to once again give to the Suicide Prevention Centre. It seems to be happening more & more in the North. Just a few weeks ago Fr. Matt Wallace, a great priest who helped so many in Belfast, took his own life. I think for now these charities still need our help.



Robert Bollbach Westchester County NY

            For the past two years I have had the privilege of traveling to Ireland with my fellow AOH Brothers and Sisters.  I have seen the good works of the funds we raise and the positive effects they have on the organizations and the people they serve. We have visited Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Crossmagelen, Downpatrick, Kinturk, Loughlinisland and Dublin.  Everywhere we went the message from the people of Northern Ireland was the same. THANK YOU for the voice of the AOH in America on their behalf. Thank you for our friendship and thank you for the funds we give to them to help support their programs. We have reached out to many different aspects of the community.  Many friendships and lifelong bonds have developed as a result of the Freedom for All Ireland campaigns.  We have seen firsthand the great work done by Relatives for Justice under Mark Thompson and his dedicated team in Belfast.  We are proud to have supported for many years John Kelly and the families from Bloody Sunday in Derry. We work with a school in Twinbrook (home of Bobby Sands) where ALL classes are in the Irish language. To quote Bobby Sands, “our revenge will be the laughter of our children”. We have witnessed the joy and laughter of the children. We support groups that help former prisoners, the Republican Graves Association and once you meet him, you will not forget “the coach” who established a cross-community basketball team and now a league in Omagh.
This year was the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that brought an end to The Troubles and peace to Northern Ireland.  At the two conferences I attended in Downpatrick and in Derry, the message from the AOH was very clear. We stand behind the Good Friday Agreement and we will continue to use our influence and make sure that our voice is heard until all aspects that were agreed upon 15 years ago are fully implemented.

Historical Happenings

The annual National History Day final at the University of Maryland is over for another year.  This is an international competition for youngsters from grade 6 through 12 who compete on a history topic locally, regionally and state-wide in a variety of formats from essays to performances, exhibits, slide shows, digital videos and websites.  Winners at each level advance to the next level and the ultimate winners compete at the national finals.  This year, there were 6,000 finalists of whom 25 were selected by your judging committee for consideration for the AOH and LAOH awards.  The AOH Award of two round-trip tickets to Ireland went to Cole Smith of Pittsboro, Indiana who portrayed a Druid discussing the coming of Christianity to Ireland.  The LAOH Award of $1500. scholarship assistance went to a team of four youngsters from Ragland, Alabama who portrayed the ghosts of his Irish ancestors lecturing an arrogant teen on respect for his parents and his heritage.

Sadly, upon my return home, I learned of the passing of a great man and close friend for whom I had tremendous admiration.  Artist Edmund Sullivan, whose landscapes of Ireland grace many Irish homes, went home to God, Whom he often spoke of as if he knew Him personally.  Edmund was a special man with a curious but honest outlook on life.  I remember an incident at the Nassau County Feis, many years ago, when Eddie had a tent full of his prints on display for sale.  He often laughed at the fact that I was the only one who called him Eddie, but we had grown up together in the Bronx and he was always Eddie to me.  As we chatted, a man came up and pointed to a framed print that was on display with a price tag of $300.  He said, “I’ll give you $250. for that one.”  Eddie replied, “The price is $300.  The man haggled and finally said disdainfully, “OK, $275 and that’s my final offer” to which Eddie responded, “the price is $325“.  The surprised haggler said, “But the tag says $300.” to which Eddie replied, “$350.”  The haggler mumbled something under his breath and stormed off.  I laughed and said, “You just lost a sale.”  Eddie looked at me in that special way he had and said, “That man didn’t appreciate art.  He just wanted a bargain; that’s not why I painted that piece.”  Then pointing to an old lady who was nearby admiring one of his works, he said, “See that woman.  This is the third time she has returned to look at that picture and you can tell by the way she looks at it that it is something special to her.”  Then he walked over to her and asked why she kept coming back to that picture and she said that it reminded her of where she grew up as a girl in Ireland, but she couldn’t afford to buy it.  At that, Eddie took the framed print off the easel and gave it to her.  I was dumbfounded and he laughed that inimitable laugh of his and said, “Now, she really appreciated that painting and her smile was worth more than its price.”  That incident truly defined this wonderful, sometimes complex, always unpredictable talent that we have just lost.  His like will not be seen again and I will miss him terribly, but I can still see him in each of his six works of art that hang on my walls.

On the 13th of July, some were inclined to mention the 150th anniversary of the New York Draft Riots and, using the bigoted press of the day, repeated the accusation that it was the Irish who rioted since they did not want to serve in the Union Army.  These amadons ignore the service of the Irish Brigade which historians have called the greatest Infantry Brigade that ever was (Remember Fontenoy by Joseph Bilby).  For the true and more accurate account of the New York Draft Riots, check the TOGIB version at the July Historical Happenings link on the New York State website at http://www.nyaoh.com  (TOGIB means Truth Opposing Grossly Inaccurate Blarney; it is also the reverse of BIGOT).

You might also want to learn about the Brigadier General who led the Irish Brigade and who died on July 1.  Irish-born Thomas Francis Meagher was a hero to three nations and a memorial was erected to him by the Montana AOH in 2009 near the spot where he died.  That story is on the July Historical Happenings link of the National Website at http://www.aoh.com.  Mentioning Websites, my sincere thanks to Rochester Hibernian, Jim Henderson who created a website  that features my book of poetry, Leanhaun Shee and Me, it is on http://www.poetryabouttheirish.com and folks can order printed or Kindle versions of the book.  The talented webmaster, Joe McDonald, also compiled a website for my books, CDs and DVDs.  For that one go to http://www.shamrockandclover.com.

In the History Repeats Itself department, people in northern Ireland are protesting that the British Historical Enquiries Team (HET), established to investigate Army killings during the troubles, will take care of their own.  They must remember the tragic story of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, a well-known pacifist and two newspaper editors: Thomas Dickson and Patrick MacIntyre – all innocent – who were executed by Capt. J.C.Bowen Colthurst in 1916.  In view of overwhelming evidence, Colthurst was found guilty but insane by another Royal Enquiry team.  He was sent to Broadhurst Asylum where he served less than two years and was retired to Canada on a full British military pension!  Yes, they take care of their own!

The harp, not the shamrock, is the official symbol of Ireland and its significance dates back to the earliest colonization of Ireland when each Chieftain had his own retinue of harpers.  I recently received an incredible CD by Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra featured on concert harps with a few traditional musicians backing them.  De Barra has been playing harp since the age of 10, has played with the Chieftains and is part of Moya Brennan’s band.  Moya comes from the talented Donegal family group Clannad, which also gave the world Enya.  I tried to use the CD as background music while I was writing, but it failed for tune after tune kept demanding my full attention.  Suddenly I was in a Chieftain’s banquet hall and whatever I was attempting to write was lost in the magic of Brennan and deBarra.  It’s a great CD, but it won’t let you use it for background music.

My special thanks to New York State President Jim Burke for re-appointing me as AOH New York State Historian.  I will do my best to keep the tradition alive.

Anti Defamation



No sooner had my last article for the Hibernian Digest, one where I said that with “March madness” behind us things were quieting down on the anti-defamation front,  left my email outbox then things got very hot indeed.  This is a lesson to us that we must always be vigilant as regards our proud heritage and faith.  Among the items that have transpired since my last article:

  • It was revealed that Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, reputed to be the highest paid University President in the country,  made remarks at an Ohio State University athletic department function regarding efforts to have Notre Dame join the big ten that “You just can’t trust those damn Catholics .”  As usual there were attempts to pass off Dr Gee’s remarks as a joke, that he didn’t mean it as it appeared.  It should be noted that Dr. Gee holds a law degree from Columbia University, so one would assume that he is well aware of the meaning of words and their consequences.  This of course is not the first time Dr. Gee has defamed Catholics, previously having insulted the order of the Little Sisters of the Poor and our co-religionist Polish Americans.  The AOH wrote a letter to Ohio State Governor Kasich and the Board of Regents of Ohio State.  We can report that Dr. Gee has decided to retire and will no longer be in a position to shape young minds with what appears to be his Thomas Nast-ian views of Catholics.   Before we celebrate victory, a cautionary note:  President Gee’s remarks were made at an Ohio State Athletic function reportedly attended by scores of people.  Recordings of Gee’s remarks capture people actually laughing at this bigotry.  The Ohio State administration took no action against Gee until they were inadvertently discovered by the AP while doing a piece on College Football recruitment.  I ask you brothers do any of us think that members of the audience would “laugh” or the University fail to proactively act on Dr. Gee’s remarks if they had been made against Jewish or Muslim Americans?  I would certainly hope not and as Irish Catholics we should work to ensure that Catholics are treated the same.   Before Gee’s retirement, Sports Illustrated Reporter Andy Staples in an article critical of Gee observed“… Gee is lucky he picked one of the handful of faiths people are allowed to publicly mock without becoming pariahs.”   We as Hibernians, members of an Order founded to protect our Catholic faith, should work to remove that dubious distinction.
  • The City of New York was set into an uproar when Coors, as official sponsors of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, issued a special beer can with a stylized depiction of the Puerto Rican Day Flag and the parade logo.  Members of the Puerto Rican Community were outrage and politicians tripped over themselves rushing to microphones to decry this defamation of Puerto Rican Heritage and Coors quickly  removed the can from store shelves and publically apologized.  In a letter to the Daily News, while fully supporting the Puerto Rican communities right to defend their heritage, we asked where are these same politicians each March when the green, white and orange of bratach na hÉireann, the Irish Tricolour, are use on T-Shirts to convey such messages as “Irish Drinking Team”, “F— me I ‘m Irish ” or a hat with  “Everyone loves  Irish” with a picture of a tricolored  cat are  sold openly in stores throughout the city.
  • Almost contemporaneously with the Coors beer can uproar, a young Irish Immigrant, Kevin Bell from Newry was struck and killed by a hit and run motorist.  When the City Medical Examiners van arrived on the scene, it became apparent that the city employee driver of the van was collecting recyclables using the city vehicle.  Unbelievably, photos capture that those on the scene did not even have the decency to remove the driver’s illicit garbage pickings from the van, instead they placed Mr. Bell’s body in the van and transported him with the garbage.   A letter from the AOH to the Mayor of New York, a man never shy when there is a microphone in the vicinity to express his opinions, prompted a weak response from the New York M.E’s office.  So far Mayor Bloomberg himself  as said nothing about this deplorable defamation of a human being.  What does this say about us as a society when we are more outraged by a beer can than we are about what most go down as the ultimate degradation of a human being?  Again Brothers, imagine the outrage if this occurred to a member of any other community but the Irish.
  • We are all aware of the outcry that has followed the revelation that celebrity chef Paula Deen used an outrageous racial epithet some years ago.  With much fanfare, the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, announced that they would not condone such prejudice and dropped Ms. Deen’s line from their stores.  While agreeing with Wal-Marts views that in the 21st century there is no room for such denigrating language as concerns African Americans, we asked Wal-Mart CEO Michael T. Duke how his firm embraces those convictions when each March Wal-Mart sells denigrating, negative stereotype laden merchandise as regards Irish Americans.  We are still awaiting an answer, and we will follow up.

Brothers, I could go on.   I report these items not to depress you, but to challenge you; confident that we the Irish people are still here despite centuries of  famine, fire and sword  because we never backed down from a challenge even when the odds were against us.  If we as Hibernians do not take an active stand against defamation, if we do not promote our heritage and culture, who will?  If we as Hibernians don’t have as a core value the defense of our Heritage and Faith and put those values into action, how are we different from many other fine fraternal organizations?    After fingernails on a chalk board, the worse sound I can think of is hearing a fellow Hibernian saying when discussing an incident such as those above “That’s terrible, but it will never change”.  Brothers, it will never change if we don’t try and I think we are better than that.  We as Irish Catholics cannot continue into the next generation if we placidly accept the title of the heritage and faith “people are allowed to publicly mock without becoming pariahs.”   Let us as today’s Hibernians stand shoulder to shoulder to defend our faith and heritage in 2013  as our forefathers stood shoulder to shoulder around Old St. Patrick’s in 1844 and stand up against our society’s own modern  incarnations of the “Know Nothings.”


— Neil Cosgrove


Director James Wahl

Dear Members:

Once again, I would like to welcome all Hibernian members to attend the 2014 AOH and LAOH National Convention in Saint Louis from July 30th through August 2nd. It happens to be the 250th anniversary of the founding of the City of Saint Louis (sester centennial).


I have a great team of volunteers to accompany me to the Milwaukee Irish Festival—August 16th through 18th. We will invite Hibernians to attend our 2014 National Convention. Where else can we contact hundreds of potential Hibernians around the Midwest. My wife Kathy, my daughter Kelly, Zach Chew, Zach Lange, and John Kilker—all Hibernians from Saint Louis.—will be accompanying me. Four of our volunteers are in their early twenties. It’s so nice to see young Hibernians getting involved. The Milwaukee Irish Festival is a very special event with a Hibernian entertainment area.


Kansas City, Missouri will have their Irish Festival over Labor Day weekend—August 30th through September 1st. It’s a great place to hear the finest Irish music in the Midwest.


The Illinois State Convention will be held September 20th and 21st. A fabulous dinner and installation of officers will be held at The Lady of Snow Shrine in Belleville, Illinois on September 21st.


In Saint Louis there is a special one-day event—an Irish County Fair—which will be held on September 6th at The Saint James the Greater Church on Tamm Avenue in Dogtown. You can count on fine Irish music and dancing.


Finally, the Hibernian President’s Dinner will be in New York City on October 4th and 5th.


Please plan to attend the 2014 AOH and LAOH National Convention in Saint Louis from July 30th through August 2nd.


Very truly,


James Dailey Wahl


Director Charles ‘Chip’ McLean

The three “H’s” of the summer: hazy, hot and humid have wrapped their arms around most of us throughout the country.  This combined with our State Boards’ convening  their biennial State Conventions along with our families trying to fit in some quality vacation time makes for a very busy time for Hibernianism.

Best wishes to all of our State Boards as they gather to conduct the business of our Order with members of their individual States. Owing to the fact that I will not be able to attend as many State Conventions as I would like to as your Hibernian Hunger  Chairman I would ask that each of our State leaders include in their dialogue at State Conventions the topic of a feeding ministry in their local communities. Those jurisdictions that already have an active program underway can share the details of the program and even the challenges that faced them when initiating these programs. Each local jurisdiction then is asked to develop a feeding ministry. These ministries can range from arranging for work crews comprised of members of our Order staffing soup kitchens that are already established by various food pantries or physically soliciting food stuffs from businesses or private donors to be given to either soup kitchens or food pantries run by anyone of our local parishes, to even holding dedicated annual fundraisers where the profits are dedicated as a yearly donation to support any specific food pantries.

During these summer months donations to these pantries dip to a desperate low. It is challenging for these pantries to continue to provide services to those in need. Those folks who are in need will be in the communities throughout those ‘hazy, hot and humid’ days since it is likely they will not be able to get away to the shore as they are in desperate need to feed their families. Those of us who are fortunate to vacation and leave our local communities for periods of time should make some consideration to providing for these needy ministries. The times of the year when we least think about the hungry in our community are usually the times when the supplies at the pantries need to be supplemented by our contributions.

I would once again ask all of those jurisdictions that do have some sort of activity in place that directly provides for the hungry to make me aware of them. Please e-mail me (charles.mclean@aoh.com) with as much information that you can regarding the details of how you came to develop what you do and how you keep the members interested in continuing to support the program.

It is my intent to share as much of this with our members in this article and in the space provided to my committee on the electronic/on-line Hibernian Digest. In showcasing your particular Division or County Bd’s activity it will encourage and educate other jurisdictions toward either starting a program or advancing any program that may already be in place. Please do not be concerned about how basic or simple your program is, if it is effective it can be helpful to our Brothers in the work that they will be doing in the name of feeding the hungry.

National Director’s Work

As National Director I am very pleased to report that I attended all of the County Board Conventions and conducted or participated in all of the Installations of County Officers within the geographic area that our National President assigned me to. At two of the Counties I was very pleased to be assisted by the recently elected New York State President Jim Burke. The installed Presidents are as follows: John Hurley (Suffolk), Sean O’Rourke (Nassau), John Manning (Queens), John O’Farrell (Kings), Marty Crimmins (Richmond), Tom Beirne (New York), Bob Nolan (Bronx). Best wishes to all of the officers who were elected to the various County Boards throughout our Order.

Congratulations and all the best to the newly elected State Board officers who have been and are being elected to state-wide office. I would ask all of the newly elected State Presidents to e-mail me your contact info at your earliest convenience. I am at your disposal for any assistance you may need in the performance of your duties as well as working with you all to continue to educate our membership on An Gorta Mor and developing or advancing feeding ministries at your local levels.

Director Jere Cole

When Hard Work Spills Into Lost Perspective

            Together this year, we have been seeking to understand how to promote and create a pro-life atmosphere amidst very realistic and serious issues in our current culture.  These issues – such as abortion and immigration – are so important because the way we approach them truly can decide whether or not we are promoting life….or opposing, if we are stifling life.

How, you ask, can we be stifling life?  After all, we care about these issues because we believe in life.  We promote these issues because we believe that life is important and should be treated as such.  We work on these issues because we believe that we are called as human beings to protect the sanctity and uniqueness of life that is given to us.  So, how is it possible that we can be stifling life?

Just like anything else that we truly care about in life, sometimes we get so involved in an issue, we spend so much time working on it, and our hearts are so fixed on making sure that the “right” thing gets done, that we lose our perspective on why we are fighting for this issue in the first place.  Sometimes, the “what” overshadows the “why?”  What are we going to do?  What is the outcome?  What is our next step?  The “what” is not bad by any means.  We need to act, we need to be proactive.  But, if the “why” is not clear and is not the basis of what we are doing, it is so easy to lose perspective in our desire to support pro-life.

So then, the important question is: Why are we promoting these issues?  The Conference of Catholic Bishops states that our role is to protect and nurture human life at every stage of its existence.  That is a good start.  But let’s look at something that Jesus says in the Gospel of John.  In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus came so that all people would have life, and not only life, but life to the full.  His desire, God’s desire, is that all people would have abundant life….life that is overflowing.  Abundant life is God’s will for his people.  Broken life, therefore, is contrary to God’s will for us.  This is so important to remember, especially when working on pro-life issues.  When we promote life, it should be in a way that stimulates abundant life.  Because when our efforts steal and kill and destroy life, it is not God’s true desire for us.

So, as we continue to journey through these issues, let’s also ask ourselves these important questions: Is this making people more whole and healthy?  Is this helping people to heal?  Is this creating a life that is more abundant and overflowing?  Because that is God’s ultimate desire for all of us.


Irish American Heritage Month

By Neil Cosgrove, Chairman


“… local AOH Divisions are hereby urged to unite in this worthy mission by appointing Divisional IAHM Committees charged with developing and implementing strategies for the promotion and expansion of Irish-American Heritage Month celebrations in taxpayer supported institutions”

That was a resolution passed by the Order at its national convention in July 2004.  How is your Division doing with this charge?  Do you have a Divisional IAHM Committee? Does your County or State?  If not, now is the time to start one.  When you read this column we will be approximately six months away from Irish American Heritage Month 2014, and the time for planning is now.  The protection and furtherance of our heritage is one of our reasons for existence as an organization and a basic duty of us as Hibernians.  If we are not foursquare behind IAHM, no one else will be.  To those of a pessimistic bent, I point to the fact that other Heritage initiatives often began with the idea of one person and are now nationally recognized.  Are we saying that the Irish can’t succeed where others have?  The history of our people says a resounding “NO”, the Irish have always succeeded when others said they couldn’t.

Strategies for promoting Irish American Heritage Month need not be overly elaborate or expensive.  Does your area have a person or site connected to Irish Heritage (what area in the United States doesn’t?).  How about a Divisional IAHM commemoration of that person or place in March, coordinating with local press coverage?  Does your division run a scholarship contest with an essay portion?  Do any speak to the role of the Irish in the History of America?  Again, why not coordinate their publication by your local paper in March?  What a great message not only on our Heritage, but the fact that it is alive and well amongst the next generation.  Ask your local schools and libraries what are they doing to recognize Irish American Heritage Month and be prepared to back this up with a commitment to lend you and your divisions support and expertise.   The time for action is now, while we have an opportunity to get on organizations calendars and have time to prepare.  Also, begin reaching out to your elected officials and ensure that Irish American Heritage Month will be proclaimed in your State.  As a wise man once noted “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Let’s make Irish American Heritage Month 2014 a success.

Our Heritage is who we are and why we are the way we are.  I was reminded at the NY State Convention in the recognition of some of the many Divisions that came to the aid of their fellow citizens, both Irish and non-Irish, what a truly remarkable group that Irish Americans are.  I believe that the overwhelming aide of the Irish American Community, especially you my Brother and Sister Hibernians, is a direct result of our heritage making us “the way that we are.”  Let us always be proud of “who we are” and ensure that proud heritage is recognized and carries forward into subsequent generations.  That is why Irish American Heritage Month is such an important program.

If you have ideas on how to promote Irish American Heritage Month, if you wish to contribute to this worthy effort please do not hesitate to contact me at Neil.Cosgrove@aoh.com


Director Denny Donnelly


The Ohio AOH/LAOH Convention was held June 28th and 29th at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio.  Co-chairs Judy Leddy, Division 1 Franklin County and Ron Hagan Division 1 Franklin County did a great job organizing the Convention.  The newly elected officers were sworn in by National Treasurer Danny O’Connell.  The new officers are: President Mike McKenzie, Division 2 Summit County, Vice President Ron Hagan, Division 1 Franklin County, Secretary Bob Harper Division 2 Hamilton County, Treasurer Pete Chrystal Division 1 Medina County, Directors Ed Brannon Division 6 Mahoning County and Denny Parks Division 2 Summit County.

National Vice President Jim McKay attended the Convention and assisted Danny O’Connell with the swearing in of the new officers.  Everything from the opening Mass celebrated by State Chaplain Msgr. John Code, to the final banquet ran smoothly.

Four Hibernian brothers from the Fr. Abram J. Ryan Division 1 Louisville, Kentucky drove 215 miles so that two of of the members (John Dwyer and Bradley Miller) could receive their degrees.  Their Division President Mark Wakefield and Financial Secretary Matthew Huber accompanied them.

The Ohio Brother and Sister Hibernian were very hospitable to my wife and I, and I certainly look forward to attending their next state Board Meeting.  Good luck to all the new officers on the Ohio State Board.



The Pennsylvania AOH/LAOH Convention was held July 18 – 20th at the Doubletree Hilton in Greentree, just outside of Pittsburgh.  Another great example of brother and sister Hibernians working together as co-chairs Maureen DeLong Division 11 Allegheny County and Jim Green  Division 1 Allegheny County did a fantastic job running the convention.  National Presidents Maureen Shelton and Brendan Moore attended this convention.  National Treasurer Danny O’Connell swore in the officers and was assisted by National Directors Jere Cole and myself.

The new PA AOH State Officers are:  President Dan Devinney Division 23 Allegheny County, Vice President Ed Halligan Division 2 Montgomery County, Secretary Tim Carley, Division 1 Dauphin County, Treasurer Denny Gaw, Division 2 Montgomery County.  The Directors are  Bob Haley, Division 22 Philadelphia County, Joe Hosie, Division 2 Lackawanna County, Tom Robison, Division 1 Dauphin County, Dick Murtha, Division 1 Cambria County, Kevin O’Donnell, Division 17 Allegheny County, Ted Miller, Division 1 Mercer County and Ed Barry, Division 1 Lehigh County.

Fr. Tom O’Donnell was the celebrant for the opening and closing masses.  Fr. Jeremiah O’Shea con-celebrated the opening Mass.  Our thanks to both.

A highlight of the joint session of this Convention was a presentation given by Jim Lamb, President of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh and Honorary Consul of Ireland.  Jim stressed the importance of passing on our love of Ireland, its culture, music, and history to our children and grandchildren.  If we don’t teach these next generations – who will.

For the next Digest, I would like to report on our Junior Divisions.  I ask that anyone who is a moderator or has involvement with a Junior Division to please send me information.  This would include locations, how long they have been a division, activities such a fundraisers and/or trips, etc.  My email is ddon633@comcast.net.




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.

Tomhas na Teanga

Cé gurb amhlaidh go mbíonn an dúlra ina namhaid dúinn uaireanta, mar a bhí leis na stoirmeacha uafásacha a tharla i mbliana, níos minice is cara, fiú máthair dúinn é.  Even though sometimes nature is our enemy, as it was with the terrible storms that happened this year, more often it is a friend, even a mother to us.  Agus go háirithe san earrach agus sa samhradh, bíonn deis againn taitneamh a bhaint as.  And especially in the spring and summer, we have a chance to enjoy it.  Stadaimis agus bolaímis na bláthanna, mar sin!  So let’s stop and smell the flowers!

Is caitheamh aimsire breá an gharraíodóireacht, agus táim cinnte go bhfuil garraithe thar barr ag a lán ball dár n-ord seo.  Gardening is a great hobby, and I’m certain that a lot of our order’s members have great gardens.  Níl an ceann atá againne chomh galánta.  The one we have isn’t so fine.  Tá plandaí éagsúla ann, an iomarca luifearnach ina measc…  There are various plants, too many weeds amongst them…  Ach táthar ag súil go bhfaighimid glasraí dár gcuid féin as.  It is hoped that we will get our own vegetables from it.  Agus dar ndóigh, tá bláthanna ann, freisin.  And of course, there are flowers, too.

Mura bhfuil spás nó am go leor agat chun do gharraí féin a chur is freastal air, is iomaí garraí pobail atá ann.  If you don’t have space or time to plant and attend to your own garden, there are lots of community ones.  Tá ceann ag mo pharóiste.  My parish has one.  Tugann scaifte daoine ón gcomharsanacht aire dó.  A group of people from the neighborhood tend it.  Ar mo shlí ón traein go dtí m’oifig i mBrooklyn, siúlaim thar cheann eile, ar leis an gcomharsanacht é.  On the way from the train to my office…I walk past another one, which belongs to the neighborhood.  Níl na cinn seo an-mhór, ach tá siad go deas agus cé nach n-ithim na glasraí, bainim taitneamh as na bláthanna agus an boladh deas atá orthu (agus ar na luibheanna, freisin).  These aren’t very big, but they’re nice and although I don’t eat the veggies, I enjoy the flowers and their nice smell (and that of the herbs, too).

Tá garraithe móra poiblí ann, freisin – crannlanna ina measc.  There are also big public gardens – including arboretums.  Bhí an aimsir go dian ar na crainn i mbliana, agus cailleadh roinnt mhór díobh, faraor, ach fós féin, mhair an chuid is mó díobh, agus is breá an rud é am a mheilt i measc na gcrann galánta éagsúil.  The weather was hard on the trees this year, and a lot of them were lost, alas, but just the same, most of them lived, and it a fine thing to while away the time in the midst of various noble trees.  Ar na sean eastáit ar Inis Fada i Nua-Eabhrac, cuireadh crannlanna agus gairdíní breátha, agus tá roinnt mhór díobh seo ina bpáirceanna poiblí anois.  On the old estates on Long Island in NY, arboretums and fine gardens were planted, and a lot of them are public parks now.

San earrach, thug mé cuairt ar ghairdíní Hershey in PA.  In the spring, I visited Hershey Gardens…  Bhí na tiúilipí faoi bhláth ag an am, agus b’iontach an radharc iad.  The tulips were in bloom, and they were a wonderful sight.  Tá na garraithe seo ar bharr cnoic, agus is féidir Hershey Park a fheiscint uathu.  These gardens are on the top of a hill, and you can see…from them.  Crannlann atá ann chomh maith, agus tá fiú crónghiúisí acu.  There’s an arboretum too, and they even have redwoods.  Tá cróghiúis na caomhaire againn sa bhaile.  We have a dawn redwood at home.  Tá a lán acu seo sa Bhablóin, ar Inis Fada, mar atá.  There are a lot of these in Bablyon, on Long Island, as it happens.  Ach tá na cinn ón gcósta thiar – Sequoiadendron gigantea – acu in Hershey.  But they have the ones from the west coast…  Níl siad chomh mór leis na cinn in California, ach tá siad mór go leor.  They’re not as big as the ones in CA, but they’re big enough.

Tá Garraithe na Lus (na luibheolaíochta) mór le rá againn sa Bhroncs (agus in áiteanna eile), i Nua-Eabhrac.  We have big Botanical Gardens in the Bronx (and in other places), in NY.  Agus tá a leithéid ann ar fud na tíre, más níos lú an chuid is mó díobh.  And there are similar ones all over the country, even if they are usually smaller.  In Éirinn, tá Garraithe Náisiúnta na Lus ann i nGlas Naíon, sráidbhaile ó thuaidh ó Bhaile Átha Cliath.  In Ireland, the National Botanical Gardens are in Glasnevin, a town north of Dublin. Tá an méid seo leanas (agus níos mó) fúthu le fáil ar an suíomh idirlín www.heritageireland.ie/ga: The following (and more) can be found on the website…:  “Bunaíodh Garraithe Náisiúnta na Lus sa bhliain 1795.”  The NBG were founded in… “Tá clú agus cáil orthu as na tiomsacháin bhreátha de phlandaí ina bhfuil breis is 17,000 de speicis agus de chineálacha plandaí as áiteanna ar fud fad na cruinne.”  They are famous for their fine collection of plants, which includes more than [15,000 sa leagan Béarla atá acu – tá sé difriúil ar fad!] species and kinds of plants from places all over the world.  “Tá cáil orthu de bharr na ngairdíní áille tírdhreachtaithe agus na dtithe gloine, go háirithe Raon Cuarlíneach Turner agus Teach na Pailme Móire, atá athchóirithe go fíor-ornáideach agus plandaí curtha iontu.”  They’re famous for the beautiful landscaped gardens and greenhouses, especially the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House, which have been restored very ornately with plants planted in them.

Agus is iomaí gairdín eile atá ann i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ar fud Éireann agus ar fud Meiriceá.  And there are many other gardens in Dublin and all over Ireland and all over America.  Tabhair cuairt ar cheann nó dhó sa samhradh seo!  Visit one or two this summer!