Missouri News

Deadly Tornado in Joplin Missouri


Not much remains of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Joplin, Missouri except for the Cross.  Joplin, Mo., a town of roughly 50,000, was steam-rolled May 22 by a powerful tornado. It has resulted in 154 deaths to date.

One of the lucky ones who escaped relatively unscathed was the Rev. Justin Monaghan, a 70-year-old pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The Church, however, was flattened during the tornado’s onslaught, which cut a path one-and-a-half miles wide, while leveling a third of the town’s structures.

Fr. Monaghan, who is from Mullingar, County Westmeath in Ireland, no doubt had a little luck of the Irish on his side that Sunday afternoon of May 22. When he heard the wrath being unleashed by the tornado, he jumped into a bathtub at the Church, face down, and prayed.

In addition to St. Mary’s Church, the 200-mile-an-hour twister also destroyed the St. Mary’s school and parish buildings. The padre was badly shaken, but otherwise unharmed.   The residents of Joplin will forever reflect on that Sunday, and hope to somehow learn from the past, if there is a message in the offing. “God allows things to happen that we don’t know why,” Fr. Monaghan told a CNN reporter, adding “but when we look back, we always hear the good things that happen as a result.”

In the days following the deadly tornado, parishioners and volunteers have pulled together and sifted through the debris looking for items to salvage. As luck would have it, they found Rev. Monaghan’s Bible, and his golf clubs.

The call went out from Catholic Charities in Springfield, Missouri after the tornado for help and assistance, their “Mission isn’t just to help Catholics. It’s to help anybody and everybody,” Our Hibernian Brothers and Sisters from around the country have sent donations, and I want to thank each and everyone for their support.

The Household Impact

•           30% of all households were destroyed in Joplin with the tornado event.

•           More than 25% of Joplin residents are over the age of 65

•           13% of residents are female head of households

•           Joplin’s median income is 32% less than the US average at $32,535.

•           To date, more than 3,600 individual assistance applications have been approved by FEMA


There is still much work to be done and donations are still needed.  Please send to:

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri

Attention “Joplin”

601 S. Jefferson Ave.

Springfield, MO 65806


“Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead, he asks God the Father of mercies to grant eternal rest to the departed, consolation to the grieving, and strength and hope to the homeless and the injured,” Pope Benedict XVI to the people of Joplin, Missouri.


A Division’s Cross to Bear

Recently elected Div 2 President Michael O’Shea had the occasion of discussing their beautiful Celtic Cross.  This work of art was made by Irish political prisoners in the infamous Long Kesh prison and originally obtained in 1996, through a small donation and the work of George Clough, long a champion of the prisoner’s causes. The body of the cross was constructed from one large hand carved piece of fine wood, and embellished with a finely detailed Celtic knot design and zoomorphic accents.  It was hand carved by hands not in control of their own destiny and under the worst of conditions. It should be viewed as not only a symbol of our Catholic faith, Irish heritage and a work of art, but also a symbol of the long struggle for Irish freedom

Past National President and National Counsel George Clough posses with recently elected Michael O’Shea with the Division’s Celtic Cross.

Missouri News

Padraig Pearse Div 1 Kansas City,Mo , St. Patrick’s Day annual Lenten Shrimp dinners is staffed by this main kitchen crew for all the shrimp boiling and corn boiling too. Pictured (L – R) Back Row: Michael P. Murphy and Steve Page. Front row: John Phelan, Tom Quinn, and Frank Stapleton.

Missouri News

Growney Receives Padraig Pearse Hibernian of the Year

Ed Growney

Brother Ed Growney was alone at home when he suffered a stroke, fell and hit his head.  As a result he had some swelling, bleeding and fluid around his brain. He spent several months in hospital in Kansas City, MO. and slowly recovered, beating all the doctors diagnosis. From there Ed went to Madonna physical rehab facility in Omaha, Nebraska.  After a few months, Ed was walking – something they said he would never be able to do.  Friday night, February 25th, Brother Ed Growney received the Division’s Padraig Pearse Hibernian of the Year Award for 2010. Congratulations Ed. We are proud to have you as our division historian for the last 2 years. Ed has brought many stories of Irish history to us. He has taught us all very well with his vast knowledge of history.

Members of the Missouri AOH attended the annual Support our Seminarians gala in Kansas City, Mo. It was held on February 10th 2011 at the Marriott Hotel downtown KC.

: Pictured (L – R) Bill Quinn, Rob King, Steve Lynch, Brad McCormack, Bishop Finn of Kansas City Diocese, Kurt Killen, John Phelan, Steve Page, Tom Moore, Jerry Loonergan.

Missouri News

“Irish Outlaw” honored in Missouri

The Missouri St. Charles Division honored Irish-American boxer Ryan Coyne (aka “Irish Outlaw”) for his accomplishments in the ring and in the community. Ryan was the proud recipient of the inaugural Cu’ Chulainn Award given annually to an Irishman of distinction. Ryan was recognized by his fellow Irish brethren following the biggest win of his career on August 7th where he captured the WBC U.S. National Title. In addition to this distinguished honor, Ryan was issued a proclamation of achievement by Mayor Patty York of the City of St. Charles. Ryan takes great pride in his Irish heritage and in representing his hometown community of St. Charles. It was an evening to remember hosted by a first class organization and in his hometown community. Irish Outlaw Boxing would like to extend its deepest gratitude to the Hibernians Kevin Smith for extending this honor to the next Irish American champ!

Missouri News

Kansas City on FIRE

Neither high winds nor drizzle could keep some of the Padraig Pearse Division boys away from the links; we were there supporting children with special needs. The golf tournament was at the famed Blue Hills Country Club located in southern Kansas City, Missouri. The day started off with a prayer by the Most Rev. Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph Diocese who was surrounded by many of the children whom this tournament benefits. Then the golf balls went flying.

The division has been so blessed to be able to partner with the worthy Foundation for Inclusive Religious Education – FIRE the only model of its kind in the nation.   FIRE was founded in 1996 by a group of parents who shared a common dream: for their children with special needs to attend their parish schools with their siblings and friends. Since that time over 3 million dollars has been raised to further that dream. By all accounts, teaming up with FIRE over the last 2 years has been a most rewarding experience for members of our brotherhood. FIRE offers financial grants for qualifying schools within the Catholic Diocese of K.C.- St. Joe. These grants assist with the cost of inclusive education, enabling schools to educate children with special needs alongside their peers.

Approximately 35 children with diverse needs are successfully being educated today in an inclusive setting. In addition, over 250 children with more mild learning disabilities are receiving classroom modifications and assistance. FIRE enhances the education of approximately 4,000 children by teaching acceptance, compassion and the value of every child of God. Children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.

What started as an idea to adopt FIRE by our division, Jerry Hayes and Steve Lynch met with Executive Director Becky Conaghan and Board President Maura Nulton to present a 5 year commitment plan. After a wonderful meeting the decision was made to accept the AOH as a partner official. Now my intention is to get the word out to all the other divisions about starting and adopting their own FIRE program in their diocese. The good Lord gives us choices to make every day and not a day goes by that the Padraig Pearse boys aren’t thankful for the direction God has taken them.  Learn more about FIRE at www.fire-program.org.

Missouri News

St. Louis AOH Honor Irish Tradition and Culture

South St. Louis was a veritable sea of green for the 27th annual AOH Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, on March 17. The parade stepped off at Tamm and Oakland and moved south past St. James the Greater Church, ending at Manchester Ave. Temperatures in the sixties drew tens of thousands to view the annual Irish event on the saint’s feast day, in one of St. Louis’ oldest Irish neighborhoods in the Clayton/Tamm (known as Dogtown) area on the city’s south side. Nearly 100 units participated including the McBride Alumni and the St. Mary’s High School Marching Band. Many floats featured Irish dancing and salutes to Irish history and culture including Clark Academy, Mayer and O’Faolain schools of Irish Dance, St. Louis Tiono’l, St. James the Greater Catholic Church and the St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Club. The AOH Irish Guard and Pipers led the parade. Prizes were awarded in a number of categories including: Best Float– O’Faolain School of Irish Dance; Best Irish Clan – McGinnis Clan; Best Irish Heritage – Mayer School of Irish Dance; Best Band – St. Mary’s High School and Best AOH Division – Division 1, Fr. Tim Dempsey. The 2010 AOH Saint Patrick’s Day Parade’s Grand Marshal was James Holloran, local St. Louis attorney and founder of John D. McGurks’ Irish Pub. Holloran was selected by parade organizers in recognition of his support to the St. Louis Irish-American community and his efforts in promoting traditional Irish music and culture. As in previous years, St. Louis area firefighters and law enforcement officers were recognized during the parade. The 2010 honorees included Police Officer Bill Noonan, of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Police Officer Lisa Hale, of the St. Louis County Police Department, Firefighter Bill Pollihan, Sr., St. Louis Fire Department (Ret) and St. Louis County Firefighter Jim Cook. Also recognized was the 2010 Labor Leader, Greg Booth, an official with IBEW, Local 1 and founder of the Tri-County Labor Organization. The AOH 2010 Civic Leader was Todd Waeltermann, Director of Streets for the City of St. Louis. Sponsored by the St. Louis City and County Boards of the AOH, the parade was created in 1984 to highlight the many contributions of the Irish to America. This year St. Louis magazine named the 2010 AOH Parade in Dogtown as its top pick for things to do in St. Louis during March.

(L - R) Past AOH National President George Clough, 2010 AOH St. Louis County Police Officer Lisa Hale, 2010 AOH Parade Grand Marshal James Holloran, 2010 AOH St. Louis City Police Officer William Noonan, 2010 AOH St. Louis City Firefighter William Pollihan, 201 AOH St. Louis County Firefighter James Cook, 2010 AOH Labor Leader Gregory Booth, Dan McGuire, former St. Louis Alderman (28th Ward), 2010 AOH Parade Committee Chairman Mike Brassil and Chaplain of the Father Tim Dempsey AOH Division 1 and State AOH Chaplain of Missouri Fr. Jim Brynes.

St. Louis Alderman Stephen Conway introduced the proclamation for consideration by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Conway had numerous co-sponsors and the final proclamation and was endorsed unanimously by the board. With him were Pat Maloney, Fr. Tim Dempsey Div AOH, Alderwoman Donna Baringer and Mike Brassil, Missouri AOH State President.

Second row, (L to R) were Phil Barry, former Missouri State Representative, George Clough, Former AOH National President, Third row (L to R) Robert Gates, Fr. Tim Dempsey Div AOH, James Dailey Wahl, Freedom for Ireland, Fr. Tim Dempsey Div AOH1 and Lewis E. Reed, President of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

St. Louis Unites for “One” Ireland

In 1876 the City of St. Louis voted to secede from St. Louis County. Since that split over 130 years ago, the city and the county have operated independently. But recently representatives from both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County found common ground to lend their support to the cause of a United Ireland.  The week prior to Saint Patrick’s Day the St. Louis County Council and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen both issued proclamations in support of the AOH call for “One Island, One Ireland with justice for all.” The proclamations were unanimously supported by all members of both bodies. The St. Louis legislators called on the English and Irish governments to take immediate steps necessary to bring to “fullness the promises of all institutions called for and envisioned by the Good Friday agreement.” The County Council resolution was co-sponsored by Councilmen Michael O’Mara and Steven Stenger and Councilwoman Kathleen Burkett. The resolution from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen was introduced by Alderman Stephen Conway and was co-sponsored by Aldermen Stephen Gregali, Fred Wessels, William Waterhouse, Kenneth Ortmann, Joseph Roddy, Matt Villa and Alderwomen Jennifer Florida and Donna Baringer. Hibernians were present at the reading of both proclamations. Former AOH National President George Clough was invited by the President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed to give the opening prayer at the weekly Board session prior to the presentation of the city’s proclamation. Spearheading the proclamation effort in St. Louis for the AOH was St. Louis Municipal Court judge, the Honorable James Dailey Wahl, who is also the Freedom for All Ireland Chairman of AOH Division 1, Father Tim Dempsey Division. The St. Louis AOH was assisted in its efforts by the Emerald Society of Missouri Metro St. Louis Chapter and NORAID (St. Louis). Wahl said that he was extremely pleased by the unanimous support that both bodies gave in support of the effort.  “What was extremely gratifying was the support we received from the aldermen representing some of the other large ethic groups in the city, especially the African-American and Italian-American reps,” said Wahl. “There also was a great deal of support from the St. Louis Labor Community.”  The effort is not stopping with the City and the County governments. Wahl said that there is growing groundswell of support from numerous cities and municipalities throughout the St. Louis region wanting to endorse the effort for a United Ireland.

(L to R), Robert Gates, Fr. Tim Dempsey Div AOH, James Dailey Wahl, Freedom for Ireland, Fr. Tim Dempsey Div AOH1, Michael O'Mara, St. Louis County Council, sponsor of the “United Ireland” Proclamation and Mike Brassil, Missouri AOH State President.