Director Chip McLean

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.

Catholic Action

Although our official New Year begins in January, September always seems to be the “unofficial” beginning of a new season. Fresh from a summer hiatus, activities begin again. School starts up for the kids. Clubs and organizations begin to meet. The cool autumn air is crisp and clean. September even feels like the best time of year for a fresh start.

Although there is a sense of freshness in the air, the importance of history still remains. As we look forward to a new season in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, let’s take time to remember back to our roots and the cornerstones on which our Order is founded: Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. This is the motto of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. These three characteristics are more than just words. They have profound meaning attached to them. This is the core, the essence, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

 

The motto Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity has a strong and proud history as the foundation of our organization. The Ancient Order of Hibernians was founded in New York City on May 4, 1836, but it can trace its roots back to a parent organization of the same name, which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. The Order evolved in the early 1600’s to protect the lives of priests as well as to aid and comfort the Irish people by whatever means available. Similarly, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was founded to protect the clergy and to help Irish Immigrants fleeing famine issues in Ireland in the late 1840′s.

Today, the Order of Ancient Hibernians continues to be committed to its motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. We do this through a variety of ways. We provide aid to the newly arrived Irish. We foster and preserve Irish culture — art, dance, music and sports. We advocate for issues concerning the Irish.

 

Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. In all of our actions, in all of our pursuits, these are the three elements that we ultimately want to encourage and inspire. As we look forward to a new season, let’s remember our heritage. As we remember back, let’s take stock of our current role in promoting our motto. As a community, think about the following questions:

ü  What is your division currently doing to encourage friendship, unity and Christian charity among your members and within your communities?

ü  What are ways that your division can strengthen its commitment to friendship, unity and Christian charity this coming year?

ü  Does your personal commitment to friendship, unity and Christian charity extend outside your division into your daily life?

As Hibernians, our tradition is to build friendship, to promote unity and to practice Christian charity in all aspects of our lives. As we start this new season, let’s keep this tradition strong and growing!

FFAI

by Patricia Rattigan

As you know, this is the time of year that the FFAI Committee from the AOH and the LAOH ask for your help.   Sean Pender so elegantly quoted remarks, on the AOH website, by Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from his address to the AOH and LAOH joint session in Cincinnati on the Peace Process in Northern Ireland. I quote:  In his address to the delegates of the National AOH – LAOH convention the Deputy First Minister of the North of Ireland quoted a poem by Tom Paulin. The poem likened the experience of Nationalists and Republicans in the Northern State to tapping through granite with a spoon. Martin McGuinness added that “we have always recognized that our struggle would not be easy. No grand gesture by a few would win freedom. Change comes from the small steps, and the resolute actions of the many.” The continued progress in the peace process still needs your attention and support and I came away from your Convention confident of that. We appreciate your important work in America for Irish Unity which has so effectively raised the issue and informed the debate on achieving it. Finally let me thank you all for your support and help for republican prisoners through all the years of conflict and for your support now for former prisoners in rebuilding their lives.”

There are strong people in all communities who are trying to live up to the opening words of the Good Friday agreement that stated:”We … believe that the Agreement we have negotiated offers a truly historic opportunity for a new beginning. The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured and their families. But we can best honor them through a fresh start in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance and mutual trust and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.

Each year we take small steps through the Christmas Appeal to help our fellow Irish in Northern Ireland and as you can see by the above comments it does work.  That being said, I would like the LAOH to consider the following non political recommendations from the list of Charities for this year’s donation to the Christmas Appeal

1)  Mary’s Gift Irish Language Foundation, a non-profit corporation and registered 502c(3),

2) Holy Cross Ardoyne Trust which continue to promote educational and recreational activities for the youth of the parish in their deeply divided area.

3) Omagh Basketball Team that helps bring children from all sides of the community to teach them to work together using basketball as their tool.

4) A newcomer to the block is Mrs. Flo O’Riordan an active Republican who is writing a book based on her life experiences of loss and her imprisonment during the troubles in the 1970’s.  Mrs. O’Riordan is in need of funds to help defray the cost of her book.   Please give this new Charity your consideration.

Please help us!  Make out the check payable to AOH Christmas Appeal and note on the bottom left memo area of your check, the designated charity you would like your donation to go to and the money will go to the specified charity. I would appreciate you mailing the LAOH checks only to me first, so that I can keep an accurate tally for the LAOH and then I will send them on to Sean Pender, the AOH National FFAI Chair.  My address is 59 Linden Street, Lindenhurst, NY 11757.  You can visit the AOH website for a full explanation of all the recipients of the Christmas Appeal.  All State Presidents and FFAI Chairs will be receiving a complete mailing of all material.  We must have donations no later than December 31st to ensure the money is accounted for and ready for presentation in the North of Ireland in late January.  So please act quickly.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!