By Ralph D. Day, President, the State Board of the District of Columbia
With the summer over, the AOH in the Archdiocese of Washington are getting back energized and better than ever. Whether coming back from our vacations at the beach, or even Ireland, we have returned and the first order of business was our State Convention held at St. Matthew’s Cathedral here in Washington, DC.
Over the past two years, we, the AOH have re-established a wonderful relationship with the LAOH and truly consider our organizations inseparable. Earlier this year we joined forces to showcase the AOH/LAOH to the world as they toured the Irish Embassy during the European Union’s Open House. We continued with having a combine State Convention.
Our Convention had the usual reports from Officers and Divisions. We elected Officers for the next two years. I was honored to be re-elected as President, and delighted that John Patrick Walsh is again Vice President and Mathieu Greenwood was re-elected as Treasurer. Our new Secretary is Mr. Jim Keenan, from Division #1, the Commodore John Barry Division. Our Chaplain is Fr. John Hurley of St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Our National President, Brendan Moore, installed the Officers.
The ladies joined us for our joint program, which featured Dr. Timothy Meagher, Catholic University Archivist, who spoke on the Irish Archives at Catholic University. Most of his comments were on the Fenian movement. He mentioned that the CU Archives are the official archives of the AOH, but he has very little. He was informed that the National President was in attendance and heard his plea for more AOH archives. National Presidents Brendan Moore and Maureen Shelton addressed the combined convention and encouraged us to renew our dedication to the AOH/LAOH and encourage our youthful Celtic Brethren and Sisters to join us, as an organization cannot grow without new blood and new ideas. They both noted the youth that are on our State Board, including our Vice-President and Treasurer.
Returning to individual sessions we were joined by members of the Virginia and Maryland AOH. They had been specifically invited to attend and hear the reports of the National Board Members present. Mr. J.J. Kelly spoke on Veterans Affairs, Hibernian Charities (especially the hunger project), and Rituals and Degrees. He noted that less than 30% of all Hibernians have their major degree. Mr. Sean Pender spoke on the Freedom for All Ireland effort and the success it has had over the last years and encourage our members to participate in the annual trip to Ireland, as well as contribute to the FFAI Christmas Appeal. We also learned that he is running for National Director. We heard from Jim Lawrecy from South Carolina who is running for National Director. Our final speaker was Mr. Patrick Sturdy. As most know, Brother Sturdy is our National Legal Counsel, but also head of the Constitution Committee. He informed us that the entire committee will meet immediately after the National President’s Testimonial Dinner to go over every input they have received. He also assured us that all ideas will be brought to the floor for a vote.
We had a great, if short convention. I am proud to be a Hibernian and even prouder to serve as President of the State Board of the District of Columbia. I hope to see all of you at the Testimonial Dinner.