Chaplain’s Message

A few days ago I was traveling from Philadelphia where I attended the AOH National Board Meeting and the President’s Dinner making my way to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Canon Law Convention. I could not believe my ears when I heard “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” coming from the car radio. Only October 10th and we were already being besieged with non-religious Christmas songs. However, these non-religious holiday songs are not to remind us of Christ’s birth, the dawn of our salvation. Unfortunately, materialism and commercialism, making the “big buck,” have replaced the significance of Christmas. The season to celebrate Christ’s Birth has been replaced by such titles as “Sparkle” Season.

The number one way to keep Christ in our Christmas celebrations is to have Him present in our daily life. Keeping Christ in Christmas means daily revealing the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in you, by allowing these traits to shine through the actions of your everyday life.

There are some simple ways to keep Christ the focus of your life. You can give God one very special gift just from you to Him. This gift can be something personal that no one else knows about, and let it be a sacrifice. Maybe this gift will be to forgive someone you’ve needed to forgive for a long time. Perhaps, your gift will be to commit to spending time with God daily. Set some time aside to read St. Luke’s account of the birth of Christ. Make sure you have a Nativity scene in your home. Plan a project of good will, like adopting a single mom. Make her life and her child’s life happier by buying her and her child a gift. Or maybe there is an elderly neighbor in need of home repairs, yard work or snow shoveling. Find someone with a genuine need; involve your whole family and see how happy you can make someone this Christmas. Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, especially by

The wonder of Christmas is that in Jesus, God and humanity are meant for each other. The Christmas story tells us that God chooses to be human, chooses to know human life from the first moment of conception to the end of our days on earth. In Jesus, God knows what it is to be a toddler, to have a stomachache, to feel the sun and wind, to be betrayed and forsaken, and eventually to die. Incarnation is about God choosing to be one of us, so that we may become people of compassion, mercy, courage, justice, care, the presence of God here and now. In essence, we can become more like Christ, if we live out the Hibernian virtues of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity in our daily lives.


Virginia News

Another year, another Advent and soon another Christmas. Christmas time seems to come much faster now that we are adults doesn’t it. It was a long time between Christmases when we were kids. The birthday of our Savior is but a few more days away. The Virginia State Board has continued make a strong attempt to “Keep Christ in Christmas” again this year.  I encourage all Division presidents to contact radio stations in your local areas with a thirty second radio spot to keep Christ in Christmas. I encourage you to make a Nativity Scene as part of your Christmas decorations in your home and your meeting locations.

I encourage you to make sure that your Parish or perhaps an underprivileged Parish in your community is suitably dressed for Christmas. Offer to assist with decorations, flowers, cleanup or whatever is needed. Encourage our children to give gifts that they made themselves or a thoughtful act to those less fortunate this year.

As we approach the New Year it is also a time to reflect on our accomplishments or the things we did not accomplish in 2010 as a leader of the AOH. This is a time to set new goals, repair omissions and correct errors from last year and plan for a worthy future. It is always more meaningful and binding if we put our goals and commitments on paper, even if we do not show anyone else.

I hope that your schedule and plans enable you to spend a lot of time with your families this Christmas. I hope you will have the most wonderful and happiest Christmas of your life and that our Savior bestows his blessings on you and your family.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Holy New Year.

Picture (R – L) Back row: Joe Sabella; Aldo Direnzo; Marty Crimmins, Div 4. Front row: Dr. Craig Campbell, Div 1; Donald McAndrews, Div 4; Tom P Monahan, Div 4

Director’s Report

First and foremost – Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!  Please remember to keep Christ in Christmas.  It is hard to believe that we are closing out 2010 – it seems that Congress has cleaned house a bit after the election results and I look forward to the upcoming year.

I was honored to represent the AOH at the Irish Ambassador’s residence for a reception for the famed Irish musician Mike Rafferty.  We celebrated Mike’s achievement of receiving the prestigious 2010 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.  As always, there was great craic throughout the reception. Shortly after the Ambassador’s remarks the instruments came out and the music played through the late evening.

I attended meeting in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania with the executive board to discuss management of the Digest including subscriptions and costs savings.  As editor I wear many hats and am always looking for new and innovative ways to better the paper for you, our subscribers, and for our advertisers.  Please feel free to e-mail me at with any suggestions you may have.  I would like to publically apologize for an error in the last edition with our identifying the incorrect State president for South Carolina.  Len Byrne is the current State president and my oversight placed his predecessor’s (Neil Diamond – no not the singer) graphic in the paper.  I would also like to thank our former Editor Mike McCormack for his efforts in publishing this edition.  I have been in the middle of a major office move in Washington with my company and Mike stepped up to get the paper out on time.  Thanks Mike!

In this edition you will find a Book Review on the newest book on Commodore John Barry.  My Division was honored to have the author, Tim McGrath, come down from Philadelphia for a grand evening.  Mr. McGrath spoke to a large and enthusiastic crowd of Barry admirers that night and signed a few of his books for members who purchased this fine and comprehensive book on Commodore Barry’s life.  Tim is an engaging and entertaining speaker and I would suggest to and Division that would be interested in having him come and have a book signing and discussion at your meeting to contact him at

I attended the State Board meeting for DC.  The District of Columbia Board will be holding their annual Pro-Life breakfast at the Irish Channel restaurant located at 5th and H Streets, NW on Monday, January 24th – the day of the Pro-Life march next year.  Breakfast starts at 9:00 and is all you can eat – it is a great way to meet lots of new friends and fill up before the march. We had a record AOH crowd last year with brothers and sisters from around the country.  We look and look forward to seeing you all again.  On a sad note I will certainly miss a familiar face of Joan O’Brien from Massachusetts who recently passed away. Joan was a stalwart each year at the march and always attended out breakfast – I am certain she will be with us again in spirit.  Happy New Year everyone!

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.