Vice President Report

Brothers,

By this time you should be enjoying the beginning of summer, as well as planning or debriefing on your state conventions. You will recall that in the last issue of the Digest a schedule of all state conventions was printed so that members in neighboring states would be aware of convention activities taking place in their vicinity. Don’t forget, if members have not yet achieved their Major Degrees, state conventions are a perfect time to solve this problem. Our National Board member, J.J. Kelly of Virginia, is our Ritual Chairman and if you e-mail him he can let you know which Major Degree Team would be available for your state convention. Brother Kelly’s e-mail is; IrishKnight1@verizon.net .

As you are aware, our National President has appointed me as National Chairman of the 1916 Uprising Centenary Committee. We are well along in planning for some of the activities scheduled for the United States. Last month your State Presidents were advised of the plans for New York City on April 23, 2016. These plans call for a Mass at 1:00pm at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 23, 2016. Immediately after the Mass a procession, with many of the Pipe Bands in that area, will proceed from 5th Avenue to 345 Park Avenue, where the Consulate General is located. The procession will end in the plaza of that building and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic from 1916 will be read by a member of the Irish military. A reception on the plaza is still in the planning and we will inform you when plans are finalized.

Your State Presidents were also advised that it was the National Committee’s suggestion that each Division plan a special on April 23, 2016 to commemorate the Centenary. We thought it would give Hibernians an opportunity to educate our own on the historical events of the Rising and its legacy. Each Division is asked to plan something special for that day starting with a Mass, a reading of the Proclamation and then some type of respectful celebration. Divisions are not limited to the April 23rd remembrance and may desire to have other commemorations at that time or during the year. The National Committee thought that this would be a unique way to commemorate this event countywide and to display AOH solidarity. Both the Irish Government and Irish Ambassador fully support these projects.

The Irish Government is also planning a Centenary celebration Easter of 2016,(the third week in March). A schedule of those events will be put on our web site so our members will be aware of those particular activities being conducted in Dublin for the Centenary Remembrance.

The National Board continues to work diligently on the upcoming National Conventions in both Atlantic City in 2016 and Louisville in 2018. Please be advised that our National President’s Dinner will be held on October 3, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern, NY, at which time our very prestigious Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award will be presented. This year’s recipient is none other than Brian O’Dwyer, Esquire, of the great State of New York. Brother O’Dwyer has been very active in Irish affairs as were his father and uncle before him. As you may know, the President’s Dinner is an opportunity for one of the few face-to-face Board meetings outside of our National Conventions. This is the time when the National AOH conducts most of its business for the year. I hope you have a relaxing and productive summer and look forward to seeing some of you at our President’s Dinner as well as our Centenary celebration on April 23,2016 in New York City.

 

God Bless

James F. McKay III

National Vice President

Vice President

Brothers,

As I write this article we are only weeks away from Thanksgiving and almost unbelievably the end of 2014. By this time, you should be mailing in your contributions for the Label Program, which you want to make sure to get in early before the December 10th postmark deadline, to be eligible to win the $300 drawing prize.

All National Board members and State Presidents, County Presidents and Division Presidents will be receiving the 2015 Sean MacBride Award nominating letters in accordance with Article XXVII of our National Constitution.

As you are aware, this award is given to memorialize the human rights contributions made by Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Sean MacBride.  It is awarded to someone who has made significant contributions in the cause of peace, justice and the economic wellbeing of the Irish people, without regard to the nominee’s race, creed, sex, religion, color or national origin. I hope all constitutional nominators consider the requirements carefully spelled out in our National Charter when submitting nominations. They should also remember that they have to certify that their nominee does not stand in opposition to any moral principle espoused by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

This past week, the Louisiana Ancient Order of Hibernians dedicated Hibernian Memorial Park surrounding the Celtic Cross, which was erected a number of years ago to honor the “diggers” who died during the construction of the New Basin Canal. This event was held in conjunction with the Irish Famine Commemoration Celebration conducted here in New Orleans, which was named as the host city of this year’s Commemoration by the Irish government. Several Irish dignitaries traveled to New Orleans to help celebrate this event. They included: Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as Joe Hamill, the Secretary General for that office. Also in attendance were Consul General Paul Gleeson of Atlanta and Hugs Swift, former Ambassador to South Africa. This was a memorable and historic event for our city and many of Louisiana Hibernians who worked very hard to make this event the success it was.

I hope you had a Blessed Thanksgiving with your families.

 

God Bless,

James F. McKay III

National Vice President

Vice President McKay

Vice President McKay

Brothers,

By the time you read this article you will be in the throes of fall with “snow tell” just around the corner. We are well into the first quarter of our National President Brendan Moore’s second term and things seem to be rolling along as normal.

One of the duties of my office is our Annual Label Program drive. You have already received in the mail your Label request. As always, we depend on the generosity of our members to make the Label Program a success which helps fuel our many charitable endeavors. This year there is a new twist. In order to encourage “early bird” donation submissions, we have decided to make a contest of it. All members who mail in their donations on or before December 10th will be eligible to win a $300 first prize with 8 second prize drawings with awards of $50 each. All cards postmarked on or before December 10, 2014, will be placed in a wheel and a random selection made. Some of you will recall a typographical error in the first paragraph of the Digest in the July/August issue which mentioned November 1st; the current and correct date is December 10th. Sorry for the confusion.

New Orleans was recently named by the Dublin government to be the Irish Famine Commemoration city for 2014. It is a great honor for our city but also a great deal of work. There are four big events scheduled for the weekend of November 6th thru 9th that culminate with the dedication and blessing of the new Hibernian Memorial Park on Sunday, November 9th. This park is dedicated to the thousands of “diggers” who died from yellow fever, dysentery and other ailments while digging the New Basin Canal in sub-tropical New Orleans during the 1830’s and 40’s. The Hibernians of Louisiana, have secured a four acre site to memorialize their efforts. We Irish never forget.

At the convention in St. Louis, I spoke with National Rituals Chairman Brother J.J. Kelly from Virginia. We both agreed that it was a good idea to publicize any Degree presentations being made around the country in all future issues of the Hibernian Digest. If any of the Degree Team representatives or State Presidents who read this article would like to get the information to me of where their Major Degrees are planned, we will include it in the Digest and I think it would help our membership when they were being conducted in their area.

God Bless

National Vice President – Judge Jim McKay

Dear Brothers;

 

The summer has flown by and fall will be descending on us by the time you receive this issue.  By this time, the majority of state conventions will have been held and new state officers elected and in place.

I had the opportunity of attending the Ohio and North Carolina conventions and I can tell you first hand that Hibernianism is alive and well in these states and throughout the country.

I know that many of our Degree Teams have been very active this past year, especially in the summer months making many appearances at state conventions to initiate new members to our Major Degree.  I have been in contact with our eight Major Degree Teams requesting their appearance schedule for the rest of the year.  As this information comes in I am forwarding it to our Hibernian webmaster, Joseph McDonald, so that he may insert it on to our National website.  It was felt that this would be the easiest method of disseminating schedule information for all of our members who may be interested in obtaining their Major Degree.

We should continue our prayers for those who died or were injured in the Boston Marathon massacre.  Such mass violence and human casualties shock the senses.    We also pray that our country maintains the ability to handle these types of attacks in a strong and prudent manner.

The National Board continues to diligently work on our next conventions in St. Louis in 2014 and Atlantic City in 2016.  In St. Louis, the committees are all in place and planning a great event which is only about a year away.  The same consideration and attention is being given to the Atlantic City convention by that committee and while it is almost three years out, most know it will be on us before you know it.

By this time you should be well aware that Michael “Mick” Dunleavy has been selected as our Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award winner and will be honored this October at our National President’s Dinner in New York in October.   This will also coincide with our National Board meeting.  President Moore conducts many National Board meetings by phone throughout the year but this is the one time besides our National Convention where the Board will meet face to face.

My wife and I traveled to Europe this summer to the south of France, but found time to go through Dublin on our way.  We had the opportunity to have dinner with Nial Burgess and his wife the night before we left for France.  I had the opportunity to thank Nial Burgess for all the friendship he has shown the AOH not only during his time as Consul General in New York, but also in his present position as Director General of Ireland.

I hope that you all had a relaxing but productive summer and look forward to seeing many of you at our President’s Dinner in New York.

 

James F. McKay III

National Vice President

 

 

 

 

Vice President Judge Jim McKay

Hope all is well and wishing all my brothers a prosperous New Year.  Hopefully by the time you are reading this, spring will be on its way and you will begin to think about the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Recently letters were sent to National Board members and Division Presidents requesting nominations for the Sean McBride Award.  The constitution requires that nominations be in by January 20, so by the time you have read this article all nominations will be in.  The final result will be published in the next Digest issue.  As you know, this very prestigious award will be presented at the next President’s Dinner to be held in New York City in October on behalf of our National President, Brendan Moore.

Queries have also been made to our State Presidents for information on our State conventions which will be held this summer as per our Constitution.  As soon as I receive the requested information I will have it published in our Hibernian Digest so that all brothers who are interested in going to their own state conventions or other state conventions will have the materials for their perusal.

I have also requested information from our Major Degree Teams for their scheduled presentations as well as their scheduled travel plans for the upcoming year.  This will afford our brothers who haven’t received our Major Degree an opportunity to obtain their Degree at a convenient time and place.

The Label Program is winding down and as of this date over nineteen hundred checks have been sent in with an average of just under twenty dollars per donation.  Our organization has traditionally endorsed this fundraiser over the years and thanks to the loyalty and generosity of our members they should be commended.

Our Executive Board had been diligently working at ironing out the minor details for our next two convention sites, St. Louis, 2014 and Atlantic City, 2016.  Information concerning the St. Louis convention will be forthcoming sometime in late summer so that State committeemen can start preparing for this National convention.

I hope that all have a meaningful and Holy St. Patrick’s Day and as Hibernians we should strive to keep a proper perspective for all our celebration.

 

God Bless

Vice President’s Report

In case you haven’t noticed, so far there’s been a common thread or theme in this column during 2012.

In the February edition of the Digest I wrote: “And so, we turn our attention to the 2012 National Convention to be held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in upstate New York. There will assuredly be changes in the composition of our National Board, and these next few months need to be a time of discernment for the delegates who will be attending and voting. This is a healthy process for the AOH to go through, as together we examine and discuss the future of our Order, its needs, and its vision of how it and we must together grow and change.”

Then in the April edition, I included the following: “If you are a convention delegate, start to take the time to think about who the best candidates are and what needs to be accomplished to move the Order forward during the next two years.”

Well, this June edition brings us within weeks of the 2012 National Convention that has been more than two years in planning. Like many of you, I find myself very much into arrangements, reports, and hours on the phone. But I have to share with you that my thoughts are now often drifting to the scene of another gathering briefly described in the New Testament, Acts 4:31. “When they ended their prayer, the building where they were assembled rocked.”

I keep wondering did the building really “rock” or is something else being implied or expressed here? What would cause it to actually “rock” or seem to “rock”? Was it simply the Spirit at work? Was it the intensity of what had been experienced by each of them, by all of them, together? Was it the Disciples’ deepened sense of mission? Was it an overwhelming awareness of new-found faith and confidence? Was it a heightened renewal of their unity and commitment? Or was it all of the above?

As we come together at Turning Stone, this Order looks to its delegates to focus on mutual concerns, to examine new approaches and ideas, to think, talk, and pray (to that same Spirit!) about who we will elect to lead us. And just as importantly, as we depart from Turning Stone, our own intensified and renewed unity, energy, confidence, and commitment must be just as contagious as if “…where they [we!!] were assembled rocked.”

Vice President’s Message

Highlights

Fall 2011 has been both busy and exciting, with the weekend in Philadelphia standing out as a memorable high point. A very productive National Board meeting was held early in the day, followed by the National President’s Testimonial during which Seamus Boyle was appropriately thanked and roasted. Seamus shifted the focus from himself, however, to the winding down of the AOH’s 175th Anniversary Commemoration, as well as the presentation of the AOH/LAOH Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award. The entire event was a valuable opportunity to network with and enjoy the company of so many great Hibernians from across the United States.

Coming two weeks later, the New York State Board meeting in Schenectady was an opportunity to deal with New York plans and issues, and I must admit that I came away very grateful and proud of having been endorsed by my Brothers to run for National President.

Advent and Christmas challenge us to step back from the “busy and exciting” and dwell (mentally and spiritually!) in the realm of the quiet, the peaceful and the thought-filled. It’s not easy, but it’s the real Christmas gift we owe ourselves.

Clara Reilly was this year’s recipient of the MacBride Award mentioned above. In reflecting back on 2011, I will certainly be thinking of her along with the other outstanding persons I have been blessed to be with during the past year. Because some have requested it, I offer below the speech I gave in presenting Clara with the MacBride Award.

“Clara Reilly, native of Belfast, founding member of the United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets, founding member and chair of Relatives For Justice, has been selected as the 2011 MacBride Award recipient based on balloting conducted among National Board members and State Presidents of both the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. The purpose of the prestigious Sean MacBride Award is specified in the AOH National Constitution, which states: ‘To memorialize the human rights contributions made by Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Sean MacBride and to recognize the efforts of others who make similar contributions in the cause of peace, justice, and the economic well-being of the Irish people…’

I am certain that you will soon conclude that tonight’s honoree is the perfect choice for this year’s MacBride Award.

The mother of six small children at the time, Clara began documenting British human rights abuses in the north of Ireland in 1970. In a world without cell phones, without email, or any online capabilities, Clara Reilly made records of arrests, took prisoner statements, and arranged for legal representation for ordinary citizens imprisoned by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. In an upside-down perversion of  government, whereby citizens were savagely beaten on their own streets, only to be stockpiled and beaten again in undisclosed locations, she responded to the emotional needs of terrified family members anxious to learn the when, the where, the why, and the how of their loved ones’ arrests. In the Orwellian world of British misrule in Northern Ireland, Clara Reilly’s kitchen provided the calming cup of tea, as well as the message of sympathy, hope, and assurance so urgently needed by victims’ loved ones. With so few resources available to her except for her rock-solid sense of determination, a caring heart, and unshakable zeal for the rights of others, Clara Reilly managed to transform that tiny kitchen into command central in the quest for fair treatment for her fellow citizens.

As both the British army and the RUC were to soon realize, Clara Reilly was not to be worn down, was not to be intimidated, and certainly was not to be dismissed in her quest for accurate information. She soon emerged as one of a different, fiercer, more invincible breed of combatants — the modern Irishwoman.

She was successful in urging the Irish government to take the British government before the European Court on Human Rights where it was found guilty of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. Along with attorney Pat Finucane, Clara again challenged the British government’s procedures as wrongful arrest. Ultimately, Reilly and Finucane were vindicated when the high court ruled that the process of interrogation the RUC called “screening” was illegal. But sadly, their victory was truly bittersweet in that it was followed by the assassination of Pat Finucane as he sat down to dinner with his wife and family. To this day the British government has failed to respond adequately to the widely held and carefully detailed contention that both the security forces and British intelligence units were at least complicit, if not the initiating force, behind Pat’s assassination. But for anyone else this would and should have been a message, a warning, a wake-up call, an obvious threat. To stop. To walk away. To surrender. Clearly, once again, the Brits failed to recognize the kind of person they were dealing with.

Clara, when we announced your name as the recipient of this award there was a pervasive sense of satisfaction among Hibernians here in the U.S., as well as among your many close associates in Ireland. However, one of your own colleagues, Andre Murphy, of Relatives For Justice in Belfast, saw fit to send us a reflection on the impact of all you have sought to accomplish. I was most struck by three of his statements:

First: ‘She defended human rights and human life at a time when they had lost their value in the turmoil of our recent Irish conflict…’

Next: ‘Clara Reilly stood up for those with no voice. For those being tortured, imprisoned without due process, being injured with no recourse, and murdered with impunity… Clara Reilly stood up and was counted, regardless of the fear she felt for herself and her own family.’

And finally, Murphy declared: ‘There are homes across the north where people will state that when the worst of our conflict came to their door, no one else did — but Clara Reilly.’

For these many reasons and more we are delighted and proud to present you with this 2011 AOH/LAOH Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award.”

Vice President

Like all of you, I look at the desk calendar and wonder how to fit in or balance what is upcoming, along with what needs to get done. Those desk calendars work both ways though. They not only point us forward, but also provide a record of where we have been and what we have done (or didn’t get done!). I flip back and see the faces of wonderful AOH and LAOH people I was able to re-connect with at the New York State Convention in Pearl River, some of whom I have been blessed to know for decades. Then there was the Virginia State Convention. While the July heat wave rendered Richmond hot-hot-hot, the welcome of our AOH Brothers was both refreshing and invigorating. Two conventions — in two different regions — and one AOH. Great people and friends I never would have met if I had never joined the Hibernians. Something we should all think about often!

The LAOH National President’s Testimonial Dinner is on the calendar and “HATS OFF TO MARGARET HENNESSY!” She is a lady who has gone out of her way to assure that the AOH and LAOH partnership endures and thrives, with her own spirit of cooperation as an example for all of us.

The “Big Guy’s” dinner is set for October. National President Seamus Boyle has been extraordinary! I wish there were some way to clock the hours he has spent on planes, trains and automobiles — traveling to do the work of the Order during these past three years. However, it’s the many 5 a.m. (and sometimes earlier) emails that get one wondering if he ever really stops.

 

 

About Junior Divisions

During July and August, National Organizer Danny O’Connell and I worked on editing and committing to disk the “Information and Forms Packet” for establishing a Junior Division. Please contact me — brendanaoh@yahoo.com — if there is interest on your end. And thanks Danny.

 

 

About Major Degrees

For the past eight months, National Rituals Chairman Pat Shannon and National Historian Mike McCormack have been collaborating on editing and updating The Rituals Book. Copies have been made available to Chairmen of Major Degree Teams for study and reaction. Some preliminary discussion is planned for the October National Board meeting in Philadelphia, with further consideration and possible adoption set for the 2012 National Convention. Thanks Pat and Mike for all you do.

If you are within travel distance of the following locations, seek out your members who need to take the Major Degree; contact the appropriate people listed below if any of your members will be attending.

Please note that only those who are already AOH members are eligible to take the Major Degree.

 

 

DATE          DEGREE TEAM         DEGREE LOCATION      CONTACT               PHONE                   EMAIL

 

10-02-11      Tara Court MDT          Worcester, MA              Dick Thompson       617 755 8467     rthomp521@comcast.net

10-02-11      Isle of Erin MDT                Bucks County, PA         Jim Hansen                                       isleoferin6@gmail.com

10-09-11      Schenectady MDT      Schenectady, NY           Michael Glenn        518-505-3588     mglen2@nycap.rr.com

10-23-11      Tara Court MDT          Div 2, Suffolk, NY          Walter Butler          631-736-2171

10-23-11      Isle of Erin MDT          Philadelphia, PA            Jim Hansen                                       isleoferin6@gmail.com

11-12-11      Cu-Chulainn MDT       Monmouth County, NJ       Jack Sullivan                                     fenian1881@aol.com

 

Vice President’s Message

WE’VE MOVED!

In case you need to get in contact by means other than email:

Brendan Moore

25 Avner Lane

West Nyack, NY 10994

914-712-5463

 

THE MAJOR DEGREE

Once someone has joined the AOH, what really is the purpose or value of the Major Degree?  The Major Degree of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is an important component of who we are and what we are as an organization. The Degree ceremony itself must be seen and experienced as a journey towards greater and deeper awareness. It is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on and absorb the very purpose of being a Hibernian. As such, it is, indeed, a significant opportunity for all in attendance (candidates, Degreed observers, and even Major Degree Team members) to focus on why we call each other brother. And it should directly challenge each of us to pause and re-commit ourselves to the AOH’s ideal that our Hibernian Brothers stand at our side and on our side, truly caring for and about us.

With all of that in mind, I am providing below the details for upcoming Major Degrees, hoping that you will take the opportunity to participate.

 

DATE         TEAM                    LOCATION        CONTACT        PHONE           EMAIL

07-24-11     Brian Boru MDT    Richmond, VA      JJ Kelly              703-475-9415   IrishKnight@cox.net

10-02-11    Tara Court MDT     Worcester, MA      Dick Thompson 617 755 8467    rthomp521@comcast.net

10-09-11    Schenectady MDT  Schenectady, NY   Michael Glenn   518-505-3588    mglen2@nycap.rr.com

10-23-11    Tara Court MDT     Suffolk, NY           Walter Butler     631-736-2171

 

PRIDE AND ACCOMPLISHMENT  

June 29 brought a team of National Board members to Washington, DC, for a variety of purposes. The day was planned around an invitation to lunch with Irish Ambassador Michael Collins, who was anxious to promote communication with the AOH and provide an opportunity to share ideas, concerns, and reactions on a range of topics. While I am certain that this event will be alluded to elsewhere in this edition of the Digest, I would simply like to focus on my own perception.

I was quite proud of the manner in which we presented ourselves! In our listening and our speaking, we came across on the whole broad range of “Irish issues” as both truly committed and knowledgeable. Whether it was visas, the undocumented Irish, U.S. immigration legislation, tourism, the state of the Irish economy, the Six Counties, or future joint ventures with the Irish government, our team clearly articulated facts, impressions, and solutions. Great job, Brothers!

 

Vice President’s Message

By the time you are reading this, our weather and landscape will have been tremendously transformed by a brightness and vibrancy around us and, hopefully, within us. Throughout much of the past winter plans have been moving forward for the AOH’s 175th Anniversary observance, and we do, indeed, have much to celebrate! The impact of this mighty organization on its members, its communities, its churches, on schools, on Irish culture, on those we assist, and on those we feed is immeasurable. Because we are proud to be Irish-Americans, to be Brothers to each other, and to be advocates for the least, the lost, and the lonely around us and among us, there is a clear and definite legitimacy to our sense of accomplishment over a span of one hundred and seventy-five years.

Past National President/175th Anniversary Committee Chairman Ed Wallace, along with his local Co-Chairman/ New York County President Tom Beirne and their entire committee have worked long and hard to organize the observance. Their tremendous efforts are most appreciated.

As an organization we now also face the State convention season, which stretches from April through to the very beginning of November. This is a crucially important time for us all. State conventions should be both opportunities and challenges. They should be times for us to not merely renew acquaintances, but also to strengthen our connectedness through listening to and learning from each other, through sharing our concerns/problems/ideas, and through an even deeper identification of ourselves as Hibernians and as Brothers. Likewise, state conventions should be opportunities for self-examination, enabling us to seek to identify what there is about us right now at the division level that would/could/should attract new (and younger!) members.

Our state conventions often usher in new leadership. Attention should not be focused completely on the top spot, but on the other positions as well, since it is from those ranks that future leaders usually and eventually emerge. All of our officers, both elected and appointed, must take on an awareness that their leadership is service, and that the medallion worn by each is truly meant to be a symbol of their commitment to serve their Brothers.

Our state conventions need also to be occasions to express gratitude to our out-going state presidents. Gratitude seeks to recognize the generosity, kindness, and contributions of others. By seeking to lead the AOH within their states, presidents often sacrifice much more than their own time. Please refuse to let these Brothers quietly “ride off into the sunset.” Instead, insist on acknowledging in some way their personal commitment and service to all of us.