Florida News

Catholic education scholarships awarded

The Carbondale Trinity Club, which is a joint venture of the Ancient Order Of Hibernians, Msgr. Wm. Farrell, Division 2 and the Columbia Hose Company No. 5, has awarded their Annual Scholarships to two LaSalle Academy Students who will be furthering their Catholic Education at Holy Cross High School.  The winners of this years each received a $500 scholarship, are Thaddeus Farrell and Rachel Moffitt.  Both were selected because of their academic excellence and their community involvement.  Rachel is the daughter of Michael and Kristen Moffitt and Thaddeus is the son of Eric and Christine Farrell.

From left, Ellen Murphy, Lasalle Academy Principal; Kristen Moffitt; Michael Moffitt; Rachel Moffitt (Scholarship recipient); Thaddeus Farrell (Scholarship recipient); Christine Farrell; Eric Farrell; and John Price, Scholarship Chairman.

From left, Ellen Murphy, Lasalle Academy Principal; Kristen Moffitt; Michael Moffitt; Rachel Moffitt (Scholarship recipient); Thaddeus Farrell (Scholarship recipient); Christine Farrell; Eric Farrell; and John Price, Scholarship Chairman.

Melbourne celebrates St. Patrick

Thousands lined the streets of downtown Melbourne, Florida, on March 16 for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. St. Patrick himself joined traditional bagpipers, as well as a host of Irish-themed floats and marching bands playing traditional Irish songs.

AOH Brother Ed Reilly turned to his right as the bagpipes and drums heralded the start of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As Chairman and Master of Ceremonies, Ed was both a chief planner and the Hibernian who introduced each marching unit as they passed the reviewing stand. More than 70 contingents joined the line of march and were enthusiastically greeted by the spectators.

At least 9,000 residents from Melbourne the area lined the route with an additional 1,600 marchers. People representing various Irish counties marched proudly honoring their ancestry, a program successfully initiated by Ed Reilly four years ago.

A record number of local police, fire, military and civic organizations were among the seventy units participating in the parade. It was particularly heartening to note how many floats entered the parade, complete with imagery honoring Ireland and its people.

Four bands and related musical accompaniment reinforced the theme of the day. St. Patrick made his appearance and was well received by all. The reviewing stand received our Grand Marshal, John McClory, the Coleen Queen, municipal leaders and other local government and military officials. Divisional President Frank Corcoran publicly recognized Mr. McClory, who has been one of the key planners and organizers of past Brevard County two parades, ceremonies and special events. John has deservedly won the reputation of being the “can do /will do” member of our division and we were proud to honor him as this year’s Grand Marshal.

The morning started with a Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which some of the Committee identified as the basis for outstanding weather and a record turnout. During the Mass there was a procession of items symbolic of our Irish Heritage.  These items included a stature of St. Patrick, the Celtic Cross, Shamrocks, Irish Penal Rosary and the Irish Harp. As each of these items was brought down the church aisle, AOH State President Greg Seán Canning read a brief passage describing the significance of each object.


IAHM program a success in Florida

The Brevard Division, from left, Br. George Flemming, State FFAI Chairman Rick Hewitt and VP Rukosky with Mayor Rocky Randels of the City of Cape Canaveral.

For many years, Brother Ed Reilly, a 1983 Charter Div. Member and past Financial Secretary of the Brevard County Div #2, and his brothers have quietly delivered letters of request for a Proclamation of Irish-American Heritage Month to the county and surrounding cities and towns.

His consistency of success with the help of the brothers is an example. The Division annually tops more than 15 Declarations from those solicited, and is a matter of pride for the Division.

“We have made a longstanding commitment as a Division to furthering the awareness of the AOH and Irish Culture in our area. We are very pleased that our success is shared with our Brothers across the State,” said Div #2 Uachtarán Frank Corcoran.

The success of the Brevard Division and the method it was achieved was shared with all the Divisions in the State. Using the letters provided by the National IAHM Committee, sample letters were customized for us in requesting Proclamations from counties, cities, libraries and colleges. A “how-to” with recommendations by the State Board was included.

Across the state, Div. presidents and their brothers appeared before councils to accept the Proclamations and shared AOH history, and that of the Irish-American in America and Florida.

There are more than 2 million Floridians who claim Irish birth or ancestry, and millions more who travel there.

As of February 26, the Governor of the State of Florida, Rick Scott, had proclaimed March Irish-American Heritage Month in Florida along with 24 counties, cities and towns. Seven of nine counties that the AOH has a Division in had responded with a Declaration already. More of each was expected.

Additionally, seven county and city libraries and six colleges throughout the State joined in the support of the Irish people’s contributions to America and Florida with displays of Irish Culture and Literature. “We expanded on the proven success of the Brevard Division and made it easier for others to achieve the same result,” said IAHM Chairman SVP Rukosky. “It’s great to see Florida painted green with the support of our government officials.”

Florida News

President Conrad Osborne, the Officers and Brothers of the Fulton J. Sheen Division are proud to welcome Rev. Peter Walsh as their Division Chaplain. In the tradition of the Order, Fr. Peter was initiated at their Division meeting October 19.

Father Walsh was recently assigned as an Associate Pastor at Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Community in Viera, Florida, after spending five years in campus ministry at Saint Thomas More, the Catholic Chapel and Center at Yale University.

While at Yale, he worked with graduate students, developing social and spiritual programs that connected Catholic graduate students with each other and with the intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church.

“Theology on Tap” was one particularly successful program that brought graduate students together to share theology and libations at the graduate-student level.

Father Walsh also worked with undergraduate student-athletes, called Cathletes, who explored the spirituality of the student athlete. In addition, Father Walsh led alternative spring break trips to Biloxi, Miss., where students worked with disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina and to Lima, Peru.

With his background in campus ministry, Father Walsh will work with programs for young-adult Catholics as part of his new responsibilities as associate pastor in his new parish.

Born in Boston, he remains a faithful Red Sox fan. His Irish roots take him to County Galway, where he visited his ancestral farm shortly after his ordination.

When asked to reflect on his initiation, Father relayed that while he took his Hibernian oath he was reminded of similar feelings when he visited the water font at St. Colman’s well in Kilmacduagh. “This is a source and renewal of our Irish heritage.”

After graduating from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, he entered the Congregation of Holy Cross and was ordained a priest in 1989.

He attended seminary at the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a Master’s of Divinity degree and a passion for Notre Dame football. He also has a master’s degree from Boston College in English literature with a concentration in Irish poetry and often brings insights from literature into his preaching. Father Walsh enjoys hiking, reading, independent films and all kinds of music.

We welcome Fr. Pete into the Order and our Division.

De fide et operibus nostris
Guide us in our faith and actions

Patrick Keane, AOH Florida State Barry Commission

Proposed site of the John Barry Monument at Brevard County Veterans Memorial Park on Merritt Island.

As the cruise ship passed by it is likely that few
knew the Alliance, her Captain or Crew.
They leaned on the railing, with no chance of hearing,
You could see their lips mouthing, “Who are they Cheering?”

Asking each other, they now wondered aloud,
“Why the Green shirts?, “What’s all th’row?”

What flag is that, with the Red White and Blue?
It waves so briskly, “Do you know who?”

Who fought for us so that we could have Freedom?
Who was the man that was there to lead them?

Who are those people, and why do they stand,
All with reverence, and some at command?

What battle was here, you could imagine them say,
What happened here, on this beautiful day?
Standing on shore our speakers did tell!
The story of Barry, and how he “Gave ’em hell!”

A Man of Wexford, Ireland!
That’s who he was!
He sailed this ocean, and with fervent cause!

Hibernians are we, who remember him dearly,
The Flag, it’s the Tri-color! Of Ireland clearly!

From humble beginnings did Barry once come,
rising quickly through ranks, now with 36 gun!

He stood tall in stature, a glint in his eyes,
The Alliance below him, and wind in the skies!

He defended the freedom that all men should have,
We cheer him, we morn him, and we understand.

Barry Captained the ship known for speed and agility,
from sea to Philadelphia, none questioned his ability.

We’re here today to celebrate his life!
His victories, his sorrows, and our people’s strife.

Said he “spurned the eyedee of being a treater.”
When they tried to bribe him, he knew Freedom was Greater!

Off these shores, the War of Independence did end,
Barry and Crew again did Defend!

George Washington and Senate, gave the command,
Commission #1, to be Freedom’s right hand!

To the visitor we thank you for coming to this place,
and to wonder what happened, at this time and space.

So know us, and join us, and remember on your way,
the reasons we celebrate,
John Barry Day!

John Barry
Born: 1745 at Ballysampson, Our Lady’s Island, Tacumshin Parish,
County Wexford, Ireland
Died: September 12, 1803, at his home known as Strawberry Hill
Buried: Philadelphia USA, Old St. Mary’s Churchyard
Commodore, and Father of the American Navy
Member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick
Hibernia Fire Company
Society of the Cincinnati
Charitable Captains of Ships Club

The State of Florida and the Fulton J. Sheen Division of Brevard County, began their celebration of John Barry “The Man” with an invocation by State Historian Patrick Moynihan.

Chairman of the Florida Barry Commission Edward Kelly, State Pres. Seán Denny, Division and County President Conrad Osborne and Malcolm MacLouth, President of the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Navy League all spoke about Barry and his life. Florida State VP Phil Mulrenin and LAOH Florida President Margo Neurendorf were also in attendance.

Following the ceremony at Cape Canaveral, the group, including State President Seán Denny and guests Jim Gillis and Jim Prior from the Pinellas 2 Division proceeded to the Brevard County Veterans Memorial Park on Merritt Island. There they surveyed the site to be used for the placement of a John Barry Monument.

Ground Breaking will take place before the end of the year. Chairman Edward Kelly and Patrick Keane head the project. Both are members of the Fulton J. Sheen Division.

Plans are to erect a statue similar to that in Philadelphia outside Independence Hall (Barry pointing out to sea) to be placed near water’s edge at the Veterans Park. Currently located there are two helicopters in flight and a World War II tank at the entrance. The property hosts an impressive courtyard with Memorials for all American wars and conflicts, representing all branches of the armed services. Recently a 9-11-01 Memorial was added.

The Division concluded the day of celebration, remembrance and Hibernian camaraderie at their annual Barry Day Luncheon.

Patrick Keane told the story and answered the question: “Why did cannon balls often “bounce off” the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”?

The Answer?

Because Commodore Barry knew that evergreen, southern live oak, is native to the southeastern United States and is hard as a rock! Imported from St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1794, the wood was used to construct the Constitution’s frame!
Pictures of the Divisions Barry Day Celebration and proposed location of the Barry Monument can be found on the Division’s website www.AOHBrevardCounty.com

Florida News

Condolences go out to the Families of John Kenny and Mike Walsh both whom passed away last month.  Mike was a State VP and John was a past Division President for Pinellas 2.  Both were officers in the defunct AOH Pinellas 1 when I first joined in ’92.  We will miss these great Hibernians.

The AOH FL State Board is having a State Convention on October 29th, 2011.  The location will be at Cocoa Beach, FL.  The address and date have been posted on the State Website. 



3901 North Atlantic Avenue

Cocoa Beach, Florida 32931

Phone: (321) 783-2221 * Fax: (321) 783-0461



We also ask all divisions to get sponsors to help build a Convention journal.  Treasurer Jack Marshall has provided us with a Convention Ad form with the breakdown of the journal page prices.  Please return them no later than October 14th to Jack.

Our AOH South Florida Organizer John Pesce and I represented the State of Florida and our Noble Order in New York City on May 21st for the Anniversary Mass.  We had a great time in New York City on May 19-22, 2011 celebrating the 17th year anniversary.  Upon arrival at the Metro Doubletree Hilton Hotel on Thursday May 19, I went to the Empire State Building, walked through Central Park, and stopped and said a prayer at the New St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  On Friday, I took a Ferry Boat to Liberty Island and walked up the 304 steps to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty.  Then I walked through the museum in the pedestal of the Statue.  The Ferry Boat took us to Ellis Island and I could look up a couple of my ancestors.  Friday evening, all the AOH/LAOH National Board Officers and State Presidents were guests at a reception given by Noel & Nora Kilkenny at their Penthouse Apartment.  Noel Kilkenny is the Consul General to Ireland.  On Saturday, we met in Little Italy to warm up for a parade to march to the Basilica of the Cathedral of Old St. Patrick’s for the 175th Anniversary of the AOH.  That was a GREAT Mass and afterwards a Reception at the School across the street.  There was food and music within a crowded open-air terrace.  I took a cab to Wall Street and then the subway to my hotel.  Finally, I went on a tour of the museums by Central Park including the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.  I came home early on Sunday Morning. 

Florida President Sean Denny with Nora and Noel Kilkenny at the New York reception.


Florida News

Florida Hibernians Commemorate John Barry and the Last Naval Battle of the American Revolution

On a windy day much like that on 10 March 1783, The Bishop Fulton, J. Sheen Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Florida gave salute to a man of Wexford, Ireland, Cabin boy, Captain, Commodore, Commander of the US Naval Fleet and Father of the U.S. Navy, John Barry.

The 228th Anniversary of the last naval battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida was remembered by dignitaries, more than 22 units and over 200 in attendance. Florida’s AOH Historian Patrick Moynihan and Bishop Sheen Div. President Conrad Osborne led the AOH in review. Osborne gave silent tribute at the monument and a wreath was presented in memoriam.

With the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a wave of Naval and Revolutionary colors and members of the Florida Society of the Sons of the American Revolution as a background and acapella four part harmony by the Harbor City Harmonizers, the life of Barry was recounted.

Author Tim McGrath of Philadelphia gave an account of Barry’s life as the son of a poor Irish farmer being born in 1745 at Ballysampson, Our Lady’s Island, (part of Tacumshin Parish) in County Wexford and rise to Captain of the Alliance, a 36-gun frigate and leader of the United States Navy.

While escorting the Duc de Lauzon, a sister ship bound for Washington with a hold of 72,000 pieces of Spanish silver dollars, Barry, Captain of the Alliance and the Duc de Lauzon were intercepted off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida by the frigate Sybil of Britain, with two other British ships not far behind.

The battle with the Sybil by Barry, the over-competent sailor, guiding a ship known for its speed and maneuverability left a weary and battered crew of Brits. At one time in the 45-min barrage of cannons Barry held off volley until the Sybil was some “half a pistol shot away” and then shot to the British broadside. The Sybil barely escaped as it retreated with sails flattering, masts in splinters and barely afloat.

During the ceremonies the crowd was given a rare glimpse into one of the US Naval Sea Cadets timeless traditions, the “Pinning Ceremony”.

Commanding Officer, LCDR Richard D. Waddell, Sr. and Executive Officer, LT Neil P. Durette presided as Derrick Brown (17) of Cocoa Beach, FL was raised to the Rank of E7, Chief Petty Officer. CPO is an exclusive fellowship in the Corp. The rank carries with it unique responsibilities to their shipmates who will now look to Chief Brown for direction and wisdom. The responsibilities do not appear in print, have no official standing and are ghost-like, but legendary. The rank is measured by actions and performance with expectations at the highest level. The feeling of pride and accomplishment was felt by all as Brown removed his seaman’s white “Dixie cup” cap and donned the hat of “The Chief”. “This is remarkable for us: this is only the second Chief in our almost 30 year history”, said EO Durette, “We are very proud of Derrick’s accomplishments.”

The event closed with wind blowing a stiff 20 knots, a rate that would put a smile on any sailor’s face. A 21 gun salute and taps sounded, remembering John Barry and the crew of the Alliance. Looking out at the white capped waves of the ocean from Cape Canaveral, one could easily picture the 6’4″ man of Wexford, Ireland at the helm of the Alliance in defense of the new nation.

Members of the Bishop Sheen Div. marching in review with Navy Cadets at their sides to honor Commodore John Barry.



Grand Marshal Named in Melbourne

Bill Moroney was named Grand Marshal of the 2011 Melbourne parade in the great state of Florida. Tom Boland, Treasurer of the Fulton J. Sheen Division and the Grand Marshal of the Melbourne Parade in 2010, handed over the sash to the Chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee center, Pat Moynihan, a Past President of the Division and the current State Historian. Moynihan presented the sash to Bill Moroney the Grand Marshal of the 2011 Parade and a senior member of the Fulton J. Sheen Division.


(L – R) Tom Boland, Pat Moynihan and Grand Marshal Bill Moroney

Members of the Bishop Sheen Div. marching in review with Navy Cadets at their sides to honor Commodore John Barry.

Florida News

Newly elected Florida officers from Hillsborough. Pictured (L – R) Seated; Mike McClusky – Pres., Sean Denny – State President, Jim Harkins – VP. Standing; Tom Bennis – Fn. Sec., Jack Dorsey – Sentinel, Kevin O’Keefe – Marshal, Jim Sullivan – Treas., Charlie Silk – Rec. Sec., Jack Crowe – Chair Stand/Comm.

Newly elected Florida officers from Pasco. Pictured (L – R) Joseph Cooling (SCC) , Jack Marshall (RS), John Fahey (VP), James Crawley (SEN) , Bernie McParland (Act Tr.), Joseph Heaney (Act Sent), Joseph LaGuardia (PSP, FDP), (in front) Peter Fegan (Div. Pr.) and John McLaughlin (FS)

Newly elected Florida officers from Pinellas. Pictured (L – R) Rob King, Jim McCarthy, Gerard O’Brien, Fr. Michael Perry, Sean Denny, Jim Whelan, Jim Gillis, Jim Prior, and David Prior

Florida News

Florida Racks Up Another Division

Former AOH Brevard Financial Secretary Patrick Kennedy moved to The Villages south of Ocala a few years ago.  Since then he organized a new AOH Division which was installed on September 18th, 2010.  State President Sean Denny drove up to the Villages with North FL Organizer Joe LaGuardia and Treasurer Jack Marshall.  State Historian Patrick Moynihan came over from Melbourne.  Our newly re-elected National Director, Bob Mott came down from South Carolina.  We welcomed our new “Village Brothers” in the new Mother Theresa of Calcutta, AOH Lake County Division 1.  Eighteen new members were installed at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church.  Patrick Kennedy was elected as the Charter President.  We attended Mass afterwards and it was standing room only in the Church!

Pictured (L – R) National Director Bob Mott, new Division President Patrick Kennedy and State President Sean Denny

Below is a list of Florida AOH Divisions and their contacts.  If you happen to be in the Sunshine State over the winter please contact a division in your area.

Florida Year                   Division

County                  Chartered          President                        Phone                    E-Mail

Brevard                                             Conrad Osborne             321-631-5863        COSBORNE4@cfl.rr.com

Broward                 2010                   Judge Joseph Murphy     954-557-7727        murphj30@bellsouth.net

Citrus                                                Bob Dunton                    352-382-2129        Jdunton1@tampabay.rr.com

Hillsborough 1                                  Donald McPartland         813-633-1242        dpkmcp1@verizon.net

Hillsborough 2       2007                   Michael Quill                  727-580-0955        michaelvk@aol.com

Lake                      2010                   Patrick Kennedy             352-391-5291        aohvillages@embarqmail.com

Martin                    2010                   Dennis Mckenna             772-323-3344        aohofstuart@aol.com

Palm Beach            2010                   Michael O’Connor          561-762-4546        moconnor09@gmail.com

Pasco                     1981                   Pete Fegan                      813-907-2808        P.T.Fegan@verizon.net

Pinellas                  1995                   Sean Denny                    727-678-0183        venner20@aol.com

Where have all the Hibernians gone?

Michael O'Connor, president of the Palm Beach County division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, stands in front of a flag displaying a shamrock and representing his Irish heritage. The St. Patrick parishioner is promoting the newly formed division of the Irish Catholic organization that is dedicated to service and the Irish culture.

Ouida D. Williams – Used with permission of the Florida Catholic newspaper

They reside in your neighborhoods, shop local grocery stores and could even be sitting next to you in the church pew, but when Michael O’Connor moved here, he asked, “Where are all the Hibernians?”  “I went into the Catholic churches and found them and recruited new members,” said O’Connor, a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish, who moved to Florida in 2007 and is president of the new Palm Beach County Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH).

The word “Hibernian” is from the Latin for “Ireland,” and the Hibernian order is a Catholic Irish-American organization stemming back to Ireland. The American order was founded in New York City in 1836 at St. James Parish.  The group’s overall mission is friendship, unity and Christian charity, and at this point, the Palm Beach group is focused on recruiting new members.

“We’re a diverse group,” said Doug Bowe, a local dentist and parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. “I’m in my 60s, but guys in their 30s are joining.”
Historically, the Hibernian order was a secret organization for many years, established at a time when the Irish population in the United States exploded due to an influx of immigrants.

The mission of the group then was to defend the Catholic Church and assist Irish-Catholic immigrants faced with discrimination and harsh working conditions in America.  A ladies auxiliary was formed in 1894 in Nebraska, and today, the Catholic fraternal organization is a group with many initiatives.  “Today, the AOH is helping the hungry. Since the Irish came over suffering from hunger, we like to keep up helping with that,” said O’Connor, referring to Ireland’s potato famine that struck in the 1840s.  In just five years, well more than a million Irish died of starvation and disease, and millions more  Irish immigrants came to the United States looking for a better way of life. It’s no wonder that on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, more people celebrate in America than in Ireland, wearing a touch of green to signify roots to the Emerald Isle.
“We just started the Hibernian hunger project,” said O’Connor about the group’s outreach to the poor. “We give donations to soup kitchens and indigent feedings in Palm Beach County.”   The group is also reaching out to help youngsters.  “Right now we’re planning fundraisers to help the Quantum House, a local facility that helps sick children with medical bills and even houses them while they undergo intense medical treatment,” said Bowe.
The order not only seeks to help, but also intends to promote Irish culture.  “We are planning Irish feisanna and festivals with music, dance and auctions to raise money,” said O’Connor. The money raised from social events will go to benefit the group’s support efforts.  Although one must be of Irish descent and Catholic to become a member of the order, the AOH isn’t limiting the groups it helps to just one culture.  “We do anything we can do for the diocese,” said Bowe about the diverse Diocese of Palm Beach with people of all cultures.
Father Brian King, episcopal secretary for the Diocese of Palm Beach, commends the organization for its current service work and aims, and has agreed to take on the role of chaplain for the order.  “I am Irish, and my mother came from Ireland,” he explained O’Connor is trying to spread the word of the group’s formation and is soliciting membership.  “We focus on the Irish, but our work benefits all,” he said. “The Irish did an awful lot to build this country … and I think it’s important we remember that. We want to help the community, and we want people to know what it means to be an Irish-American.”

Florida News

Members of the Florida AOH attended the An Gorta Mor Mass on May 30th, 2010 at St. Therese’s Church of the Little Flower in Hollywood, FL just south of Fort Lauderdale.  The Church has beautiful Spanish Architecture and a golden dome.  The Piper brought in Bishop John Noonan with several con-celebrating priests.  Numerous prayers were said in Gaelic.  Marie Tierney Smith (the Mass organizer) spoke after the Mass to remember those who suffered as a result of the Hunger in the 19th Century.   A post reception was held at after Mass at Field’s Pub in Dania Beach.

(L to R) Patrick "PJ" Clarke, State Historian Patrick Moynihan, State President Sean Denny, Anna Neve at the An Gorta Mor Mass


Two New Divisions Formed in the Sunshine State

Members of the new Fr. Mychel Judge Division in Martin County

Members of the new Deputy Sheriff Patrick Behan Division in Broward County

Members of the new Deputy Sheriff Patrick Behan Division in Broward County