Honoring David R. Burke

Mrs. Patricia Burke, the widow of David R. Burke, speaks to those assembled following the unveiling of the plaque honoring her late husband. Aside of Mrs. Burke is her son Kevin Patrick Burke. Francis A. O’Connor, AOH Essex County President and Division 8 Treasurer, stands in the background.

The Rev. James T. O’Reilly Division 8 of Lawrence, Massachusetts and the Irish Foundation of Lawrence will honor the late David R. Burke with the dedication of a plaque in his memory at the An Gorta Mor Memorial in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, 29 Barker Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 1 PM. Former Ambassador to the Vatican, Raymond Flynn, will be the principal speaker. Ireland’s Consul General to Boston, Michael Lonergan, as well as other representatives of the Irish Government are expected to be in attendance.  AOH and LAOH National, State, County Officers, as well as AOH and LAOH Division Officers throughout Massachusetts are expected to attend. Public officials and civic leaders on the national, state and local levels as well as many other Irish organizations throughout the New England area will also be present for the dedication. A reception followed the dedication at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant in Lawrence.

David R. Burke was a member of Division 8 for over 40 years and served as an officer in various capacities on the National, State and County Boards as well as on the Division level. An enthusiastic supporter of Irish history and culture, he was instrumental in organizing and orchestrating annually Irish Heritage Month in the City of Lawrence. David Burke was the founder and President of the Irish Foundation of Lawrence, Inc., as well as the founder of the Irish Room and Hibernian Collection at the South Lawrence Branch Library, which houses one of the largest collections of Irish books, media, memorabilia and periodicals in the Northeast. David Burke chaired and led the campaign to build the An Gorta Mor Monument in Lawrence in 2006. Mr. Burke was the recipient of the Irish Echo’s Golden Bridges Award in 2007, as well as the recipient of the AOH National Board’s Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award in 2007.

Mr. Burke served organizations well beyond his Hibernian and Irish circles. An employee of the Lawrence Housing Authority and volunteer for the City of Lawrence on many fronts, he was a board member of Lawrence’s International Institute, the Advisory Board of Lawrence Heritage State Park, the Immigrant City Archives, the Lawrence Cultural Alliance, the Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Public Library, as well as a host of other organizations. A lifelong resident, advocate and supporter of the City of Lawrence and Irish history and culture, he was a tireless worker whose work will forever live on in the annual celebrations of Lawrence’s Irish Heritage Month, the Hibernian Collection, the AOH and the Irish Foundation. After a long and courageous battle with cancer, David R. Burke died on May 27, 2009. He was survived by his wife, Patricia and a son, Kevin

The Rev. James T. O’Reilly OSA Division 8, Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Foundation and the Irish American Community of Greater Lawrence built and dedicated in May, 2006 a monument as a tribute to the Irish of Greater Lawrence. The An Gorta Mor Memorial consists of two tablets, a shamrock tablet made out of Barre Granite, along with a Celtic Cross. The cornerstone from the original Hibernian Home on White Street in Lawrence built in 1887 is also part of the Memorial.

Four bronze tablets honor the three Past AOH and LAOH National Presidents from Lawrence: AOH  Past National President John E. Fenton; AOH  Past National President Joseph P. Kerrigan; LAOH  Past National President Margaret M. Webb; as well as Division 8 LAOH Foundress, Katherine A. O’Keefe O’Mahoney are included. The Celtic Cross has the inscription of the four Irish Provinces: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught and the names of the 32 Counties of Ireland in English and Irish, as well as two inscriptions. A time capsule is included as part of the memorial where loved ones names have been placed as a means of honor and respect.

On November 7, 2010 a bronze plaque will be added to the An Gorta Mor Memorial to honor the memory and celebrate the life and accomplishments of David R. Burke, lifelong Lawrencian, one of the most outstanding Hibernians in the history of Division 8 AOH and one of the greatest Irish Americans of our lifetime.

Massachusetts News

Lawrence Massachusetts Celebrates Irish Heritage Month

When the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 8 in Lawrence, Massachusetts celebrates Irish Heritage Month, truly a jam packed calendar of events takes place. During March, 2010 no less than twenty events celebrating Irish culture and the contributions the Irish made to the City of Lawrence were on tap. Beginning with the raising of the Irish Flag on the North Common on Monday, March 1st right through the end of the month, Division 8 members and friends celebrated and remembered. Division 8 in cooperation with an exhibit on the 150th Anniversary of the collapse of the Pemberton Mill that was on display at Lawrence’s Heritage State Park Visitors Center sponsored speakers and other activities who spoke on this tragedy and how this tragedy affected the Irish of Lawrence.  When the Pemberton Mill collapsed in January, 1860, five years after it was constructed, 129 mill workers were killed, 89 of whom were of Irish ancestry. Division 8 AOH will dedicate a monument to the Irish who perished in this calamity this coming fall. Other events included: an Irish authors series; Division 8’s 139th Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance on March 6, 2010, where Keith Murphy, Division 8 Recording Secretary was selected as the 2010 Irishman of the Year and Rose Allen, a longtime member of Division 8 LAOH was named the 2010 Irishwoman of the Year. Francis A. O’Connor Sr., AOH Essex County President and member of Division 8 AOH for over 50 years, received the Richard Cardinal Cushing Award. The Division’s Souvenir Program Book was dedicated to the memory of David R. Burke. On Friday, March 12th, Division 8’s 41st Annual Saint Patrick’s Luncheon took place at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant with over 500 in attendance. At this event, Patricia Burke, widow of David R. Burke, late of happy memory, was presented with the Judge John E. Fenton Citizenship Award in memory of her husband. On Wednesday, March 17th, Division 8 AOH sponsored an Irish Film Festival at the Heritage State Park Visitors Center. Under bright, warm and sunny skies, Lawrence’s Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade took place on Sunday, March 21. Two days later on March 23, the Division sponsored an Andy Cooney Concert to a large and enthusiastic audience. Irish Heritage Month closed on Sunday, March 28 with a Concert: “Ireland in Song – Celtic Melodies for Voice and Piano” at the Lawrence Public Library’s Sargent Auditorium. This year’s concert was in memory of David R. Burke and was performed by Terry and George Kelley. Division 8’s Irish Heritage Committee is already hard at work planning next year’s events which again will feature an exhibit, author’s lecture series and other activities.

Division 8 AOH’s 41st Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Luncheon was held at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant. Division President Bill Sullivan presented the Honorable John E. Fenton Citizenship Award posthumously to David R. Burke, member of Division 8 AOH, Past AOH National Director and former Editor of the Hibernian Digest. Accepting the award is his widow, Patricia.

Father James A. Wenzel

The Rev. James A Wenzel OSA, a member of Division 8 AOH in Lawrence, Massachusetts is shown presenting his lecture on “The Pemberton Mill Disaster: its effect on the Irish of Lawrence and the role of the Augustinians and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who ministered to them” on Saturday, March 20, 2010 to an overflowing crowd who attended one of Division 8’s Irish Heritage Lecture Series. A 30 plus panel exhibit on the Pemberton Mill was on display the entire month of March.

Lawrence Division 8 Helps Pass United Ireland Resolution

At the Lawrence City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, City Councilor Eileen O’Connor Bernal sponsored a resolution calling for a United Ireland as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. The resolution was cosponsored by all 9 Lawrence Council members and unanimously adopted. Lawrence joins Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cleveland and Syracuse in adopting a resolution calling for a United Ireland by all electoral and diplomatic means necessary. Division 8, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Lawrence worked with Councilor Bernal on the resolution and supported the passage of the resolution with their presence at Tuesday night’s Council Session. The ties between Lawrence, Massachusetts and Ireland are strong.  In1919, the Lawrence City Council became the first legislative body in the United States to take official action, and recognize the New Republic of Ireland.

The 1st Annual AOH/LAOH 5K Recovery Run was a big success. Over 250 runners and walkers participated. $6,000 was raised for Hibernian charities, including the scholarship fund. Thanks to all of the sponsors, runners, walkers, and volunteers from the LAOH and AOH Division 10 in Lynn, MA who made the race possible, with a special thanks to race director Karyn Coulon, who is also the LAOH Division 10 President. Start training now for the 2nd Annual AOH/LAOH 5K Recovery Run!

On March 1, 2010, Irish Heritage Month in the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts officially began with the raising of the Irish Flag on the North Common across from Lawrence City Hall. Pictured (L to R): Francis A. O’Connor, AOH Essex County President; Atty. Charles Boddy, Member of Division 8 AOH ; Leonard Degnan, member of Division 8 AOH; Mayor William Lantigua; Bill Sullivan, President of Division 8, AOH; Anne-Marie Nyhan Doherty, President, Division 8 LAOH; John Troy, Member of Division 8 AOH and Robert Crowley, Member of Division 8 AOH.