As we have arrived in a New Year I hope this issue of the Hibernian Digest finds you and all of your family well and ready for a fresh start. There are many challenges that face us all as an Order as well as a people. The blatant attack on our faith abounds in our country as well as in many individual states, the likes of which we have never seen before in the history of our nation. The continued financial challenges that face all of us, whether we are retired or are still working, speak directly to our personal ability to continue great charity that is a hallmark of our genetic makeup. But Brothers, I am confident that if we bind together fraternally, as a group in the form of our Order we will be able deliver on our motto of “…Christian Charity”.
As we enter into our ‘green season’ or the ‘High Holy Day’ we can anticipate many activities surrounding such. As you are aware the Feast Day of our Patron Saint is on a Sunday this year and that will mean a very different schedule of events; and in some cases more events and in some less. I am asking that each and every jurisdiction take the opportunity of the St. Patrick’s Day season to remember and expand our feeding ministry.
What a great opportunity it would be that at every dance or hoolie, every mass or parade, every historical exhibit that may be set up or presented live by our members we seize the opportunity to do three things. First, we educate: educate the public as well as our members of the Great Hunger and the significance it held for the Irish as a people. Secondly: we gather food, whether it be in the form of a direct collection of non-perishable food items donated by attendees or a monetary collection that can later be donated to local food pantries, particularly in those parishes that need our support. And thirdly, arrange an opportunity for our members to help staff a soup kitchen or physically perform support work for a food pantry or soup kitchen sometime during the month of March. This is the time for your local Hunger Chairmen to reach out in the community and contact any of the feeding ministries that are active and make an offer of workers, Hibernian workers, to come forward on an arranged day and time and directly feed the hungry. It gives our members the opportunity to donate sweat equity and put our shoulder behind our words.
And as I’ve asked before please notify me by e-mail or otherwise and outline of your feeding ministries so that they can be shared with others to give them ideas and motivation to initiate or expand their own programs.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Brothers and Sisters who have donated to the Sandy Relief Fund. Many, many jurisdictions have made sizeable donations but what is helping to bolster the fund are individual contributions of the 10’s and 20’s and 50’s from the members themselves. If every member were to donate as little as $5 we would have a significant amount to pass onto those of our Order in need. If you haven’t done so by now, or even if you have, do it again, a lot of little ones add up! You can donate as easily as using the aoh.com website and click on the donate now button. Thank you so much, it is very much appreciated by the members who have filed for relief. As a member of the Relief Fund Committee I can assure you that we are working diligently to aid as many members as possible. To date we have either distributed initial aid or are in the process of making initial awards to all who have applied. What is now very important is that all members are aware that we have asked those who are requesting aid file their application by March 1st. After the initial awards are made we will revisit the applications to make subsequent awards to those in dire need as far as the funds collected allow us. So please realize that the donations should carry on, please.
Congratulations to all of the recently installed officers throughout the Order and best wishes on a successful administration. Please feel free to contact me for any support you may need. All the best for a very enjoyable “marching season” and …May the wind be at your backs and the sun shine warm upon your face. Remember, to include our faith and St. Patrick in all dignified celebrations. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and your families.