Massachusetts News

Massachusetts AOH & LAOH just held their 96th Biennial State convention in Sturbridge Mass.  We were lucky to pull this off seeing that just 2 days before we were to begin, a tornado touched down less than ¼ of a mile away from the Host hotel where our convention was held.  All went well just the same.

Hibernians from across the Bay State gathered in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for the 96 Biennial Convention of the AOH and LAOH Massachusetts State Boards on the weekend of June 3 – 5, 2011. We had distinguished guests from out of town attend our convention, LAOH National President Margaret Hennessy and her husband Jack from New York, Jere Cole Jr. , National Director from New Jersey, Danny O’Connell, National Director from Ohio, Frank Kearney, former National Director from CT. We were grateful that they took time out of their busy schedules to attend.

Elected to lead the AOH over the next two years were: President: Richard Wall of Div 10 in Lynn, Massachusetts; Vice President: Paul Hogan of Div 1 in Holyoke, Massachusetts; Secretary: Keith Murphy of Div 8 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and Treasurer: Francis A. O’Connor, also of Div 8 in Lawrence.  Elected to lead the LAOH State Board for the next two years was Beverly Horowicz of Div 18 in Salem, Massachusetts. Delegates at the Convention approved a 0 donation for the Barry Gate and Memorial Project.

Pictured (L – R) Mary B. Ryan (LAOH Missions & Charities), Anne-Marie Nyhan-Doherty (LAOH State Secretary), Paul Hogan (in back AOH Vice President),Paula Paoli (LAOH Vice President), Dick Wall (AOH President), Jack Lahey (standing in for Keith Murphy AOH State Secretary), Beverly Horowitz (LAOH President), Margaret O’Connor(LAOH Historian), Frank O’Connor (in back AOH Treasurer), Kathleen Hair (LAOH Catholic Action), and Mary Whidden (LAOH State Treasurer).

News from Massachusetts

By Bill Sullivan


On Saturday, June 18th a large gathering of AOH and LAOH officers and members attended the annual John Boyle O’Reilly Memorial Exercises at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. The Mass was celebrated by the Re. William F. Waters OSA, Chaplain to the Essex County Board and Div 8 in Lawrence. Joseph Downs, AOH State Historian and a member of Div 19 in Lowell, Massachusetts, was the speaker. A reception followed the Memorial Exercises at the home of Div 14 in Watertown, Massachusetts.

On Sunday, June 19th, AOH and LAOH State Officers and members attended the annual Catholic Television Hibernian Mass which was broadcast across the state. At the conclusion of the Mass, both State Boards made a very generous donation to Boston Catholic Television.

Other events of interest which recently took place in Massachusetts were:


175th AOH Anniversary Commemoration: Hibernians from across Massachusetts and New Hampshire gathered on Sunday, May 15, 2011 to commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the AOH in America at Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel Mausoleum on the grounds of Saint Mary-Immaculate Conception Cemeteries in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The 1 pm Mass, which was celebrated in the Chapel Mausoleum by the Rev. William F. Waters OSA of Merrimack College and Chaplin to Div 8 and the Essex County Board, was attended by a capacity crowd which included AOH and LAOH National, County, State, Division officers and members, civic and local leaders, as well as family and friends of the AOH and LAOH. In his homily, Father Waters noted that the members of the AOH, which was founded by Irish immigrants, have made many great contributions to the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts and the nation as a whole.

Following the Mass, a ceremony was held at the An Gorta Mor Memorial on the grounds of the cemetery and in close proximity to the Chapel Mausoleum. At the commemorative ceremony, Francis A. O’Connor, Div 8 AOH Vice President and immediate Past AOH Essex County President, sang the National Anthems of the United States and the Republic of Ireland. Kathleen Rafuse of Div 10 LAOH in Lynn and LAOH Massachusetts State President, brought greetings from the LAOH State Board to those assembled. Richard Wall, also of Div 10 AOH of Lynn and AOH State Vice President, brought the greetings from the AOH Massachusetts State Board. Helen Mathison of Div 8 LAOH in Lawrence and LAOH Essex County Vice President, brought the greetings from both the AOH and LAOH Essex County Boards. Div 8 AOH President and AOH National Board Officer, President William J. Sullivan, brought the greetings from the AOH and LAOH National Boards and Div 8 AOH and LAOH. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a tricolor wreath of green, white and orange carnations was placed at the memorial, which was dedicated in 2006 to the victims of the great hunger in Ireland during the mid to late 1840’s.  A reception followed the ceremony at the Memorial.

Major Degree: On Sunday, June 5th, a large delegation oh AOH members from Lawrence, took their Major Degree at the Home of Div 1 in Newport, Rhode Island that was given by the Tara Court Degree Team. A coalition by Div 1 of Newport followed the ceremonies. Paul Hogan, newly elected AOH State Vice President announced that the Massachusetts State Board would sponsor the Major Degree this coming October at a location to be announced in the very near future.

Scholarships: Robert A. Crowley, Chairman of Div 8 AOH’s Scholarship Committee in Lawrence, on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 presented Div 8’s 2011 Scholarship the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant in Lawrence.  Receiving the awards were: Meghan Maloney Burke, daughter of Robert Burke of Andover and granddaughter of Robert Burke of Lawrence; Anne-Marie Farrell, daughter of Brian Farrell of Wilmington; Tonicia Gauthier, granddaughter of Robert A. Gauthier of North Andover  and Julianne Jacobs, daughter of James Jacobs of Lawrence. A reception followed the presentation of the awards. This was the thirty-first continuous year that Div 8 has presented scholarships to the children and grandchildren of its members

That’s the word from AOH in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Stay well and have a great summer. God Bless!

Massachusetts News

The Massachusetts 2011 AOH/LAOH State Convention was held at the Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA during the weekend of June 3-5, 2011.  The members were honored to have our LAOH National President, Margaret Hennessy and Immediate Past LAOH National President, Mary Ryan in attendance.

Newly elected offices pictured (L – R) Mary B. Ryan, State Missions & Charities, Anne-Marie Nyhan-Doherty, State Secretary, Paula Paoli, State Vice President, Margaret Hennessy, National President, Beverly Horowitz, State President, Margaret O’Connor, State Historian, Kathleen Hair, State Catholic Action and Mary Whidden, State Treasurer.

Lowell, MA LAOH, Division 1 attended their Annual Hibernian Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church followed by a catered buffet brunch at the Immaculate Conception School Hall. Massachusetts State President Kathy Rafuse and Past Massachusetts State President Ellen Barr were honorary guests and they installed Lowell’s newly elected 2011-20012 Officers.

Pictured (L- R) Helen Picanso, Treasurer; Carol McCarthy, Vice President; Joyce Burgess, President; Anita Campbell, Immediate Past Division 1 President and Pat O’Brien, Sentinel. Standing in the second row is Ellen Barr, Past MA State President; Kathy Rafuse, MA State President; Joyce Lloyd, Office of Missions and Charities; Charlene Cesarz, Mistress-At-Arms; Donna Curran-Salyards, Financial Secretary; Maureen Barter, Recording Secretary and Helen Marie Ledoux, Irish Historian.


Massachusetts News

Div 8 Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians held their Installation of Officers during a Mass said by Father William Waters at Merrimack College on Sunday, February 13, 2011.

The officers for the term 2011 to 2013 are picture (L – R) Rear: Thomas P. Canney, AOH Standing Committee, Anne Collins, LAOH Recording Secretary, Francis A. O’Connor, Sr., AOH Vice President, John T. Lahey, AOH Finacnial Secretary, Robert R. Gauthier, AOH Sentinel, Front: William Sullivan, President of Division 8 AOH, Jackie Lamprey, LAOH Vice President, Joyce Buckley, LAOH Sentinel, Anne-Marie Nyhan-Doherty, LAOH President, Susan Fink, LAOH Irish Historian, Helen Mathison, LAOH Chairlady of Catholic Action and Ellen Melvin, LAOH Treasurer. (Missing from photo is Keith Murphy, AOH Recording Secretary, Michael P Miller, AOH Treasurer, Mark S. Murphy, AOH Marshall, Irene Dixon, LAOH Financial Secretary, Marge Woodworth, Mistress at Arms.)

From the Desk of the LAOH National President, Mary Ryan

Spring is just around the corner as I write this letter, it has been such a busy time since 2010 began and it’s great to see the warm sun and the snow melting.

Joan O’Brien, National Pro Life Chair and I attended the Annual Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. once again in January where we met up with Sally Maines, Mary Hogan and an increase of Sister Hibernians from many other states.  I think this was the best turn out of the LAOH and the AOH, in fact, the size of the parade itself has increased a great deal and even though TV and the newspapers give us little attention, we who are there, know the real story.  As we continue to grow in numbers, the Washington people will someday take notice and realize that their apathy is allowing the crime of abortion to continue and to happen every day.  Of course, they’re all consumed with their own lives like the rest of us, there are important issues with our jobs today and our own families but there is a bigger picture and we all have a responsibility to manage the laws that govern our souls and our country.  As Roman Catholic’s, it’s our Christian duty to protect the “Life of the Unborn”.  Hopefully, our peaceful march each January will send the message to our politicians that abortion is a crime against our most precious gift, the innocent unborn, who need laws to protect them and their right to life.

The end of January, I had the privilege of once again going to the North of Ireland for the Bloody Sunday March.  As with the “Right to Life March”, the Bloody Sunday March had an increase of numbers as well.  Kathleen Savage, FFAI National Chair and Anne Marie Nyhan Doherty, Immigration & Legislation National Chair also took part in this ‘history making time’.  We pray to God that this will be the last march and that next year the British Government will finally acknowledge their mistakes and give the families of those killed, injured or imprisoned a final report bringing closure to their suffering and loss.  The FFAI Fund donated more money to the Irish organization this year than ever before.  Thank you to all the ladies who supported and donated to this very important fund that brought aid and hope to these families.  Our support brought comfort that they are not alone in their struggle, the Hibernians of America are aware of what’s happening in Ireland and will do everything they can to ease their suffering and help bring the parties to a peaceful resolution.

February 1, 2010, we once again celebrated the Feast of St. Bridget.  Many of our ladies organized and attended a Mass in her honor and then hosted a Tea for the Ladies to celebrate this special occasion of our patron saint.

March will begin our happiest of times, our high holy days of St. Patrick with its many forms of celebrations.  We’ll all be attending our dinner dances, parades and other forms of Irish heritage traditional festivities to numerous to mention.  Again this year, I have the privilege of representing the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Inc. at the White House via special invitation from President Obama to attend their St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  Not much can top that, however, along with all these wonderful events in March, I’ll be celebrating a new and wonderful event myself with the arrival of a new granddaughter.  Presently, I have five grandsons who I love dearly but it has been many, many years since the Ryan’s have had a baby in the house, twenty years to be exact and this will be my first little granddaughter.  Needless to say, they’ll be “happy days in the Ryan home” and at last, I can buy little pink dresses and bonnets with lots of ruffles.

April will bring the time of our Risen Lord; we must remember that without the Lord’s sacrifice, we wouldn’t be here.  I wonder, can we as Hibernians really say that we would lay down our lives for others when we can’t even seem to get along with some of our sister and brother Hibernians?

During all my travels while talking with and seeing so many of our sister and brother Hibernian’s, I have to comment that it would be refreshing to see everyone working together like a well oiled machine for the betterment of our Irish Catholic organization instead of being caught up in petty differences that divide us and are counterproductive to our Order.  If the Hibernians in the past could not work together, where would we be today?  I implore all my sisters to do a soul search and ask if you could be part of the problem and dissatisfaction.  Ask yourself; could I do more to be a better person as well as a better Hibernian?  I’m not judging, nor should you judge anyone, I’m just asking all of us to assess our behavior so that we can continue to improve ourselves and our behavior toward others.  Our good Lord said, “Do not judge least you be judged”.  With the best interest of our Order in mind, I’m just saddened to see so many conflicts between good people, we’re better than that and shouldn’t let any dissension fester and hurt good members in our Order.  We all need to respect each other and be gracious at all times.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question if you don’t understand or are unclear about anything and never jump to conclusions.  Let’s be a source of encouragement to our sisters who sacrifice so much of their valuable time, energy and talent toward helping others.  Careless criticism is a destructive force and we want to discourage negative actions toward one another.  We are all different which only compliments and strengthens our Order.  We “Ladies” are a mighty force when united and have made the difference in winning wars.  Let’s keep focused on our true purpose and put all that wonderful strength to work in God’s army to help the needy during these difficult economic times.  This means working together with all our differences and being respectful in spite of them.  I’m sure you’ve all heard that song, “Don’t mess with Mr. In Between” with the lyrics, “accent the positive and eliminate the negative”.  I know it’s not easy but anything easy is never worthwhile so just keep humming that song and hopefully it will bring a smile to all our faces.

July will bring the National Convention to life and it will be here before we know it.  On Wednesday July 7, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio we will have the opening of this busy time.  Ladies, we will have much to do so please book early to avoid any last minute problems. The accommodation information can be found in this newspaper or on the Ladies AOH website.

Remember to pray for our family and friends in Ireland who have had much rain and some have lost all they own.  Encourage your state or division to send a special donation to Catholic Action this year on their behalf.  Encourage a small raffle on the division level, collect loose change, anything will help and will be most appreciated.

Pray for our service men and women who are still overseas and pray that God and Our Lady will keep them safe and bring them home soon.

Thank you all for your personal sacrifices and hard work throughout the year on behalf of those less fortunate.  God Bless you all and may God’s Guardian Angels continue to watch over you in all your endeavors.

What IT Means To Be Irish

Being Irish isn’t something you do; it’s something you are….

Being Irish Means that your heart swells like a sheet on a clothes line at the sound of your ancestral brogue…

That the thought of your DA and sainted mother make you weak a wee bit, even now…

That the devil himself, try as he does, will never dim your devotion to the Trinity…

If you’re truly Irish, you’re possessed of a joy of spirit and a depth of soul…

You carry a smile for a stranger and coins aplenty for the poor…

Aye, there’s feistiness about you as well, but only in protecting all that you hold dear, family, friends, faith and land, your heritage…

For if you can see a masterpiece in a sunset and a promise of a harvest in a clump of dirt…

If you can claim friends who’ll buoy you up as well as cheer you when you sail…

If you can feel the loving grip of God, whatever your lot in life, then saints be praised…

You’re IRISH!!!

AOH/LAOH Join the Bloody Sunday March in Ireland

Once again Sean Pender, AOH FFAI Chair, organized a wonderful and very informative trip to the Six Counties of Ireland with the help of Coiste & Relatives for Justice.  It all coincided with the “38th Bloody Sunday Commemoration and March”.  There were fifteen AOH/LAOH members that made the trip including our National LAOH President, Mary Ryan and National Immigration Chair, Anne-Marie Nyhan-Doherty.

The tour met in Belfast on Friday and that afternoon we attended a reception at the Scoil Na Fuiseoige which is the Irish speaking school located in Twinbrook, West Belfast.  The AOH/ LAOH presented a generous monetary gift of $5,000.00 in memory of our own David Burke from Division 8, Lawrence, MA.  The children and teachers were waiting for us when we arrived, we were told the children patiently stayed after school (even though it was a Friday afternoon) as they  wanted to meet the American’s that were coming to their school.  The teacher explained that the children were going to put on a play for us in Irish; we would probably recognize it even though most of us don’t understand the Irish language.  It was “A Christmas Carol” and I must say it was simply delightful to watch and to listen to the children speaking Gaelic.  They also sang several “Irish songs” and then played the tin whistle, there was no shortage of talent at this school and the entire show was just a joy to watch.  The staff was so grateful to receive our donation and it will most certainly be put to good use.  I couldn’t help but think of Dave and how proud and happy he‘d be at our remembering him in such a special way. A plaque will be put up in the school to honor his memory, what a wonderful way to begin this tour!!!

Later that evening we went downtown to a couple of local pubs and found out then that a social was on at the O’D’s for Pol Brennan so naturally we all ended going there.  What a pleasure it was to see Pol and to see that he seems to be adjusting so well being back in Ireland. The place was packed with all Irish Republicans and there were so many of the ex-POWs that I recognized from years past.  It was so nice to see them all there for their comrade Pol.  Unfortunately, the next day his father passed away but at least Pol and his family were able to be with him during that time.

We then traveled on to Derry and once again on the Saturday evening before the Bloody Sunday Commemoration, we were at the AOH Hall on Foyle Street in Derry for Mass.  We were warmly welcomed by all our AOH brothers.  They graciously served tea and sandwiches after Mass and before the presentations were given.  Sean Pender presented checks to the Pat Finucane Center, Relatives for Justice, The Cairde ex-political group from Strabane,etc.  He then gave out the Hurley to the members present representing the different AOH/LAOH Divisions, State Board, and National Boards that donated over $1,000 to the Christmas Appeal.  I’m very proud to say, a Hurley was given to the LAOH National Board, New Jersey LAOH State Board and LAOH Division 1 Baltimore City.  Our LAOH sister, Catherine Reinholdt, Division 1, Baltimore City was in attendance with other members from her Division.  It was a pleasure to meet them all and to hear about the fundraiser they had where they raised $1,100 for the Christmas Appeal.

Sunday morning we attended the solemn wreath laying ceremony for all victims killed on that horrific day Jan 30, 1972.  It was very sad indeed to think that they still haven’t been told the truth about that fateful day and they’re still waiting on the Saville Report.  Afterwards, we were given a tour of the murals done by the Bogside Artists which told the story of events that unfolded in Derry during the Troubles.  In the afternoon, we assembled for the Commemorative march and rally.  It seemed like there were larger numbers of people marching that day which was great to see.  After the march, we stood and listened to what each family member had to say about their loved ones that were killed that day as they held their photo for everyone to see. Martin McGuiness was then the main speaker of the day and as usual gave a brilliant speech.

After the march, Eamon Daly from the Omagh Basketball Club met with us at the AOH hall.  He’s bringing his under 14 team to CT, NJ, NY and Boston this summer.  This is a cross community team and maybe the first time these youngsters have ever met others from the other side of the community.  The parents are also very involved and also getting to meet each other from the Protestant and Catholic communities.  I’m proud to say this is one of the many projects our Christmas Appeal helps.

Over the course of the trip, we met with representatives from the Pat Finucane Center and also Relatives for Justice.  They’re both working tirelessly to bring truth and justice to families who have lost loved ones, in part, through collusion with the security forces.  We heard from families who lost loved ones on Bloody Sunday and also during the Ballymurphy Massacre.  The Ballymurphy Massacre occurred August 9th through the 11th, 1971 when 11 innocent people were gunned down by the occupation forces.  It was heartbreaking to hear their stories of what transpired over those three days.

One of the highlights of the tour was a visit and tour of Stormont.  There we met with Raymond McCartney.  Raymond is now an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for Foyle (Derry) since 2004 but at one time had spent several years in prison and took part in the 1980 hunger strike from 27 October to 18 December, he was released in 1994.  The next day we got the news that a deal had been struck between the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and Sinn Fein for the devolution of policing to the Six Counties of Ireland. This was great news to hear and certainly a historic moment in the Peace Process!!!

In Belfast we met a representative from the David Ervine Trust (one of the groups the Christmas Appeal donates to).  It’s named after David Ervine who was once a member of the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force- a Loyalist paramilitary group).  He served time in prison but questioned his involvement in the UVF.  He later became instrumental in securing the Loyalist cease-fire of 13 October 1994 and supported the virtues of peace and reconciliation for Northern Ireland.  The David Ervine Foundation is a cross-community effort to help people from both sides of the community in securing grants, etc.  In his own words, David stated, “There are great opportunities for Northern Ireland, we just have to grasp them”.

In gratitude of all the AOH has done to help The Holy Cross School/Trust in Belfast we were asked to be their guest for lunch.  We were warmly greeted by Fr. Gary Donegan who gave us a bit of history on the school and church.  Fr. Donegan also told us of the events that took place in 2001 when the school children were constantly harassed on their way to school.  The entire group was then seated and an elegant lunch was enjoyed by all.

There were more presentations given at the “Felon’s Club” in Belfast to Coiste, Green Cross, An Cumann Cabbrach, and the Belfast NGA (National Graves Association) Liam Shannon.  All and all, it was a great trip; we experienced once again the traditional kindness and warm hospitality unique to Ireland during our eight day visit and a special thank you to Sean Pender, AOH FFAI National Chair for his gracious leadership throughout our trip.  Wishing you all a blessed Easter and a happy spring!