New Jersey News

The New Jersey State Board sent the following letter to the AOH Board of Erin in support of their efforts to keep Ireland pro life .


June 28 2013

Brother Harry McCabe,

Secretary, Board of Erin

On behalf of the New Jersey State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians of America, I write to you this day to pledge our support for the Board Erin’s fight for an abortion free Ireland. We your Brothers of New Jersey are aware of the importance of your fight. In May of this year, the New Jersey State AOH Convention was held, with the motto of “Honoring life and promoting vocations” Holding true to that motto we were able to hear from director/president of Life House Ireland, Scott Schittl, who informed us about the present issue in Ireland.  We also had an enlightening presentation by our Pro-Life Chairman John Hughes and the ongoing work of many of the life-saving programs around the state of New Jersey. After the convention the Hibernians of New Jersey returned to their home divisions with an incredible amount of knowledge and a renewed heart to defend life.  We will continue to pray for your work and for all the aborted and the suffering of those that have dealt with this terrible issue.  I would like to commend the great work of Brothers Martin Corey, Donal Muldoon, and all those that have assisted with “Hibernians for Life” I pray for the intercession of The Blessed Mother,  St Patrick, St Brigid, and all the saints that the horrible act of violence is no more.  We will continue to hold in our hearts the truths of the teaching of Jesus Christ and to the motto of our order.  Our Catholic faith will continue to guide us in this most important issue of life.

As Pope John Paul II stated in his Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Viyae (The Gospel of Life)

“O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.”

May God continue to bless you in your efforts to defend life.



                July 8, 2013, In Dublin, 60,000 participants, came out to participate in the All Ireland Rally for Life, it was the largest pro-life event in Irish history, organizers have said. Participants expressed their opposition to the government’s proposed abortion bill, and demanded a referendum, required by Irish law to overturn the nation’s constitutional pro-life provisions, carrying signs saying, “Let us vote.” Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said at the rally, “If you refuse, Taoiseach (Prime Minister), to let the people vote, then the people will be heard. 100,000 people have already signed the pro-life pledge.

In Support of the Rally for Life in Dublin, Division 16, Monmouth County (St Oliver Plunkett) attended Mass at St Rose of Lima, Freehold NJ on July 8, 2013 and offered up their prayers for the Unborn and all those that continue to fight for Life.

                As a continued effort to more clearly identify the AOH as Catholic and pro-life, The Monmouth County (NJ) Board is currently putting together a Hibernian for Life society. The society plans on moving around the County attending First Saturday morning Mass each month at a different Parish to pray for the unborn. The society will be open to all Brothers and sisters of the order and their families.

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”

– St. Augustine

Go mbeannaí Dia duit

John M. Keane Jr

Catholic Action Chairman

AOH New Jersey State Board


Father Brian Patrick Woodrow – NJ State Chaplin

Father Daniel Cahill – NJ State Chaplin – Emeritus

Sean Pender – NJ State President

Sean Hughes – NJ State Vice President

Patrick Jockel – NJ State Treasurer

Larry Prelle – NJ State Secretary

John Hughes- NJ State Right to life Chairman

Jack Cronin – NJ State Right to life Chairman- EmeritusNew Jersey

Directors Report

It has been 15 months since the Cincinnati Convention and most of us wonder where the time has gone, as do I. It is an honor and privilege to serve my Hibernian brothers as the Chairman of Anti Defamation and National Director for the West.

It has been 10 years since I was first elected as a National Director. In some ways there are the same issues today as then, but also things have changed in many ways. The way people communicate today is much different than 10 years ago. We have the print media, television with network programs, talk shows, the Internet and social media such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.

With information being received much more quickly, it requires the National Board as an organization to disseminate information more quickly as well. This includes responses to those who choose to defame our religion and our Irish heritage.

These slanders seem to persist more often in the month of March, but they do occur each and every month of the year. It is our duty to be vigilant and to notify people and establishments that we do not appreciate the degrading of our Catholic faith or Irish ethnicity.

These past several months I have had a great time meeting our Hibernian brothers and sisters throughout this country. It seemed that both Lois and I have been living out of suit cases, but we have loved every minute of our travels. I assisted in installing California’s state board officers at their convention and at Montana’s state convention installing their state board officers. Congratulations to Ken Jamieson, the newly elected State Board President of California, and Tom Pahut, who was reelected State Board President of Montana. I wish them the best in leading their respected states.

In August I traveled to Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo has a bit of AOH history. In 1884 there were two AOH Divisions in that city and the cathedral today has a stained glass window sponsored by the AOH. My trip to Pueblo was to make formal presentations to Kayla Cata and Elizabeth Manguso, two young ladies from Pueblo who won the top award for the National History Day. If Elizabeth and Kayla are any indication of the caliber of youth today, then we have nothing to worry about in our future.

While in Colorado we also attended the Lady of Knock Mass and LAOH picnic in Denver. The LAOH of Denver sponsored it. Our brother and sister Hibernians in Denver are wonderful hosts.

October was the AOH National President’s Dinner in Philadelphia. A big thank you goes out to Co-Chairpersons Nancy Cullen and Ed Dougherty for all their hard work in putting on such a wonderful function. The tours of the AOH Halls were a special treat. It was great to see the pride each member had for the history of their hall.

The one concern I continue to have is the isolated AOH divisions and how do we as a National organization support these divisions and assure them they are as important to us as any other member of this organization.

Bob Golden, left, Bill Featherston, Bob and Rose Manguso, Elizabeth Manguso, Kayla Caty, Herman and Michele Cata, Mike O’Connor, Devon Cata at the history award presentation in Pueblo, Colorado.

Vice President’s News

It was so nice to see once again so many of our ladies at the Interim Board Meeting and the Testimonial Dinner of our National President, Margaret Hennessy.  It was also so nice to see so many people at the Testimonial Dinner for AOH President, Seamus Boyle.  One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Sean McBride Award. The recipient, Clara Reilly of Belfast, was the first woman to receive this award. She is a very special woman with such faith and courage. It was such a privilege to meet her!  Clara brought quilts made by families in remembrance of the victims. Each square was unique as it related to a loved one. Clara spoke of one particular square that was made by a grandmother in remembrance of her fifteen-year-old grandson.  He had come over to her house to help her put up her Christmas Tree when he was shot and killed shortly after leaving her home. That woman never put another Christmas tree up but on his square, she has a Christmas tree. Each quilt was made up of forty-nine squares and put on display around the banquet room.  By the time you read this, I will have observed our newest Degree Team, Daughters of Erin from South Carolina, confer Degrees at their State Convention.  It is always a pleasure to enjoy their Southern hospitality. If your State is interested in organizing a Degree Team, please contact me. It is so important that all our members take their Degrees.  Our Juniors are staying very active after the summer break. If you have Juniors in your State, please support their endeavors. They are our future and need our encouragement and support.  As we approach this special season, I am so thankful that we live in a country that gives us the freedom to practice our Catholic faith. Please remember to pray for those who are so far from home this Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Although the LAOH spreads its works of charity for those in need at home and abroad, prayers are always needed.

I wish you a very Blessed Christmas and New Year,


News From Virginia

The Lieutenant Colonel John A Dowd, USMC, Divisions of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and Ladies AOH presented John F. Kane Scholarships to fifteen students during a reception at the Montclair Country Club on Sunday, August 7th.  The scholarship board is composed of the AOH and the LAOH presidents and vice presidents.  We have been adding to the scholarship pot now that the amount is dwindling like all the other investments.  It is a joint effort all the way.

The Kane Scholarship Fund was established by Jack Kane in honor of his father.  Always appreciative of his Catholic University education, and eager to help the children and grandchildren of his fellow Hibernians, Jack endowed the scholarship fund in 1996.  This year marks the 15th anniversary of the scholarship program.   Thanks to Jack Kane’s generosity, since its inception the fund has distributed over $140,000 to 154 recipients.

The AOH and LAOH are dedicated to promoting Irish heritage and preserving the Catholic faith.  They support additional charitable activities such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, Tepayac Family Clinic, ACTS, Birthright, and Catholic Charities.

Missions & Charities

Sarah Mains

Saint Columba, the patron of the Columban Fathers and Sisters, lived from 543 to 615 A.D.  A monk and a Missionary, he left Ireland to proclaim Christ and His Gospel to the people on the continent of Europe who had fallen into barbarism. Amid hardships and persecutions, he and his followers founded monasteries throughout France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy  He was described as ‘traveling through Europe like a flaming torch kindling the fire of God’s love in the hearts of men.’   His greatness stems mainly from the fact that he established a new sprit in European monasticism, a spirit of total commitment to Christ and to Gospel values. He founded his last monastery at Bobbio in Italy where he died on November 23, 615.

Today the Columban Missionary Society is carrying on the work of St. Columba.  The Society seeks to establish the Catholic Church where the “the Gospel has not been preached and spread the Catholic faith around the world

The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Inc helps in this missionary work by contributing the funds to help them spread the word of Christ’s love.  Please remember to give to our Missions and Charity fund.

Director’s Report

The calendar says we are heading into spring but the weather here in Montana is still reminding us it is winter.  This is such a great time of the year for all Hibernians.  As we plan for all the festivities we might need to have our cross country skis ready for our St Patrick’s Day Parade this year. It won’t be the first time. One of great traditions we look forward to in Montana is to have our Governor raise the Irish Tricolor on the capital on St. Patrick’s Day. The Governor also proclaims March 17th as “Irish Heritage Day”.  The publishing of this Digest will be after St. Patrick’s Day so I do hope all of you had a glorious time celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick.

I take this opportunity to encourage all to continue the fight against those who chose to defame our religion and our Irish heritage. These slanders seem to persist more often in the month of March. It is our duty to be vigilant and to notify people and establishments that we do not appreciate the degrading of our Catholic faith or Irish ethnicity.

I had the honor to swear into office Montana officers for the Butte, Anaconda, and Helena Divisions. I wish the respective divisions the best and the officers a successful term of office.  These brothers are the core of this organization and the glue that keeps us together and focused.

As spring comes I hope to travel to some of the divisions in the west. I look forward to visiting with my fellow brothers.

AOH Celebrating Quartoseptcentennial

Quartoseptcentennial is a mighty big word!  Taken from the Latin, it literally means one-quarter (quarto-) times seven (sept-) times 100 years (centennial); it is also a mighty big accomplishment.  A Quartoseptcentennial celebration is, in essence, a 175th anniversary and the Ancient Order of Hibernians will celebrate that in the year 2011.  We will be celebrating 175 years of service to our heritage which includes our Catholic faith, our ancestral homeland and the United States of America.

Our National Board is considering a special 175th anniversary commemoration weekend in New York City, where it all started, so many years ago.  The celebration may be combined with the National President’s Dinner, will take place October 7 – 9, 2011.  Special events are being considered such as celebratory Mass at old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was key to early Hibernian activities and will, by that time, be designated a Basilica.  A gala Banquet and Ball is also being investigated.  Details of all the events will be revealed in subsequent issues of the Digest.

In conjunction with the celebration, a special commemorative souvenir publication is in preparation.  It will be a colorfully illustrated keepsake that will contain the roots of the AOH and notable accomplishments in the 25 years since the last major anniversary.  It is presently being prepared by the National Historian’s office with the assistance of other past AOH Historians.  The history will be printed on the upper 80% of each page with the lower 20% of the page allocated to the sponsor of that page for future generations to note.  A tag line across the bottom of the page will note: This page is sponsored by: and beneath that will be the name of the sponsoring individual, Division, County or State Board with officer’s names or any other message limited to four lines.  Your sponsorship will allow future researchers into the history of the AOH to determine the names of your officers and their commitment to its history.  Sponsoring a page of our history will only cost $100.  However, if you or your organization would like to include a history of your Division or Board with such data as a list of past presidents and/or notable accomplishments for future researchers, you can do so on 25 lines for only $150. or 50 lines at $200.  Copy for larger ads should be in digital form in WORD or WordPerfect and sent to AOHBard@Optonline.Net.  Since the number of history page sponsorships at $100. is limited to the number of pages containing the history and those pages are still being created sponsorship will be honored on a first come, first served basis.  Ads with checks made payable to AOH National Board (with journal on the memo line) must be submitted to Tom O’Donnell, 9512 Northeast Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19115 before May 1, 2011.   More details will be given in future editions of the Digest.

Also in honor of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, the National Board has authorized the minting of a limited edition of numbered commemorative medallions to be sold among the membership of the Order.  The medallion was struck by the Highland Mint in 3D and is one and one-half inch, ten gauge, antiqued bronze and comes in a protective case with a certificate of authenticity describing the historic icons on the medallion.

Born in Liberty is the theme of the anniversary, and of the medallion, since the Order was born in the search for religious and cultural liberty in America as well as liberty for a united 32-county Ireland.  Further, the Order was founded simultaneously in New York and Pennsylvania and the symbols associated with those two sites are the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell.  These two icons are engraved on the face of the medallion while the theme, in both American and Irish, and the dates 1836 – 2011 encircle the images.  Also engraved is the notation 175 YEARS and the legend HERITAGE AND HOMELAND – the two strongest motivations of the Irish people.

The reverse side of the medallion contains one of the earliest known representations of our organizational logo dating from before the turn of the 19th century.  It was the design originally adopted by the Ohio State Board.  In addition to the early logo, there is engraved a Celtic Cross, as was uppermost on the Sesquicentennial (150th) Commemorative Medallion, to illustrate the Order’s commitment to the faith of our fathers.  The motto of the Order, Friendship, Unity and Christian charity, and the founding date of 4 May, 1836 complete the inscription.  The medallion was proposed by Mike Byrne, designed by Mike McCormack and approved by National Chairman, PNP Ed Wallace, National President Seamus Boyle and New York State President Chip McLean.  A pre-sale of the medallions has been authorized in order to make them available for Christmas giving.  They are available for only $30 each (includes postage and handling) to members for gifts, as awards and as collectors items, only by using the order form in this Digest.

Buy your 175th coin by downloading this form.

Montana News

On the evening of Thursday, October 21st, 2010, the Thomas Francis Meagher Division of Helena, Montana gathered at the Montana City Grill for the Division’s 26th annual Charter Dinner and the awarding of the Archbishop Brunett Medal for Social Justice. The award is named in honor of Archbishop Brunett, the now retired Archbishop of Seattle who was formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Helena. All in attendance enjoyed a wonderful dinner and a great social evening. It was the 11th time the Archbishop Brunett Medal for Social Justice was awarded. The 2010 recipient, Gertrude “Gert” Downey from Butte Montana is an extraordinary woman whose faith driven life of compassion for others has greatly impacted her family and her community. A summary of her accomplishments is inspiring.

Gert Downey, born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1931, is the mother of 10 children and her life of public service has been driven by her Catholic Faith. The local Butte paper,The Montana Standard, in an article about her stated:

If you ask Gert Downey what her primary motivation is for helping others, she doesn’t hesitate to reply, “Faith”. … Downey added that she believes the best legacy she could ever leave her children and grandchildren is compassion for those who need help.

Gert worked with the Butte Silver Bow Anti-Poverty Council from 1965 to 1995, serving as the Director from 1991 to 1995. Over all those years, she obtained many grants for the needy, helped establish a transitional housing project for them called “Homeward Bound” and also launched a project called “Rosalie House” which provides low income housing for seniors. She has always treated people of all socio-economic levels and varied mental and physical disabilities with the same compassion and kindness, always being mindful of their inherent dignity as children of God.

Her other Faith driven achievements, too numerous to fully describe here, include: Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and through that association and Habitat for Humanity rehabed a home for a developmentally disabled couple; initiating a project which successfully funded and built a home for a grandmother struggling to raise the 3 children of her daughter, a single mother, who died of ovarian cancer ; active in the right to life movement, the LAOH, and the Living Word local prayer group as well as

attending daily Mass and serving as a Eucharistic Minister to those who cannot get to Mass. The story of her life and the remarks she made upon acceptance of the award were a moving and inspiring experience to all attending the dinner. It was a great evening in Montana !!

National President

Since this issue will cover Thanksgiving and Christmas let me begin by sending wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas from my husband John and myself.  We have a lot to be thankful for in our everyday lives.  Even though our lives have ups and downs we need to keep in mind that God never gives a cross that we cannot handle.

Be mindful to keep Christ in Christmas and be on the lookout for shirts, cards, ornaments, etc. that are demining to our heritage and our Catholic Faith.  The only way to help prevent this is to let our voices be heard.

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of LAOH National Right To Life Chair and National Life Member Jonnie O’Brian from Massachusetts and Charter member and Trinity Degree Team Director Pat Mc Sweeney from Albany, New York.  These ladies were true Hibernians and will be sorely missed our condolences go out to their families and friends.

On another sad note our Past National President Sally Murphy is in need of our prayers she was transferred to St. Joseph’s Medical Center.

Past National President and Norte Dame Chair Terry Kelleher, LAOH National Secretary Mary Hogan and I traveled to Norte Dame to present the Ladies donation to the scholarship fund and attend a meeting as well as meet the recipients of the Scholarships.  George Pinchock is a senior and is majoring in Business, Erin O’Connor is a Junior and majoring in Mathematics, Kevin Condit is a Sophomore and is majoring in Pre-Professional Studies.  Unfortunately Erin was called home on an emergency and we were unable to meet with her.  The two young men that we spent some time with are a credit to their families as well as their school.  The AOH Norte Dame Chair Vince Lysaght was extremely helpful and we thank him for his thoughtfulness to the ladies. The campus is quite large with a lot of history if you have not already been there; it is well worth a visit.  It was the consensus of my daughters and my two grandsons that I not attend the football game therefore not embarrassing the Ladies or myself; as an early Christmas present I purchased a ticket for John and he attended the game and had a great time especially since Norte Dame won.  It was amazing to see the thousands of students, facility, alumni and guests head from the stadium to attend mass which is held thirty minutes after the end of the game at the Basilica.  The participation of the students as altar servers, lectors, and leaders of song was very uplifting.  We also learned a good deal on how the scholarship is awarded.  First you must be accepted by the College; you then must contact the Notre Dame Scholarship Fund and let them know that you or your parents are members of the AOH or LAOH.  Once this is verified our scholarship is awarded on a need basis.

By now each state officer should have received the packet of information from your National Board officers and hopefully each officer has forwarded this information to their county/division officers.  Remember to check out our website for updated forms and annual report information.

Yours in Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity.

South Carolina Junior named Junior Hibernian of the Year

At the National Convention in Cincinnati, Caitlin Armstrong was named Junior Hibernian of the Year.

Caitie is a member of Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church and their youth group on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina.  As a young lady of today, Caitie does possess a strong belief in our Catholic Faith which is evident in her many acts of charity in her daily life and sharing the word of the Lord as a CCD Instructor.   She is visible each Sunday as she interacts with her young class teaching them about prayer and virtues.  She is also a Lector at Mass.  God has certainly blessed Caitie with a gift to inspire others by speaking so eloquently at such a young age and to stand in front of a Church full of people and not be intimidated.

Her Parish sponsors a soup and sandwich gathering after Stations of the Cross each year and Caitie can be found with the youth group organizing, setting up and helping younger members learn the responsibility of caring for others.  Two years ago in forming the Junior Group called “The Daughters of St. Brigid, Caitie asked for a membership form and all knew that the Division now had a leader to guide the group. Her outstanding commitment to our Hibernian motto was strong and already in place.   She quickly befriended each member and treating her as a true sister.    Her ambitious demeanor soon found its way to the girls scrap booking project and having fun at a Christmas Party in her home filled with crafts and games of her own design teaching Irish Heritage.   Caitie is currently serving as President of the Juniors, filling the calendar with trips to Nursing Homes and clothing drives for those less fortunate.

Caitie’s future ambition extends to the law and her goal is to advocate for the unborn professionally using legislative and judicial means.            Everybody is astounded by Caitie’s continued drive for her own success as well as helping others to achieve their goals.  Her hand is always extended to help others succeed in all their endeavors.  Caitie doesn’t let setbacks discourage her, but she learns from her mistakes and uses them to her advantage.  She’s just an ordinary young lady doing extraordinary things with a positive slant trying to overcome the obstacles and challenges we all encounter in life.   Friendship, Unity, Christian Charity, charm, grace beauty and a bit of Irish wit makes Caitlin Armstrong Junior Hibernian of the Year.  South Carolina is so proud of Caitie.