Pennsylvania News

Recently, the Ancient Order of Hibernians Pennsylvania State Board held a meeting at the Scranton Irish Cultural Society. This meeting brought members as well as State Officers from all over the Commonwealth. During the meeting our Lackawanna County Commissioner, Patrick O’Malley presented a proclamation to Pennsylvania State President Thomas O’Donnell in honor of his many years of dedication and service to this Great Order. Commissioner O’Malley is Past President of the Paul Hook O’Malley Division 4, Scranton. Members from Lackawanna County included John F. Kennedy, Division 1; Msgr. William Farrell, Division 2; O’Neill Brothers, Division 3; Hook O’Malley, Division 4; Fire Fighter Joseph Flannery, Division 5; and Father Patrick D. Healey, Division 6; there were also members from Luzerne County and other parts of the State.


Dr. Kevin A. Morrin named Hibernian of the Year

Kevin A. Morrin, center, received the Hibernian of the Year Award from the Irish Settlement Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. With him from left are Robert R. Schadt, Division President and Rev. Fr. Joseph T. Orr, Division Chaplain.  Photo by Lenny Long

Kevin A. Morrin, center, received the Hibernian of the Year Award from the Irish Settlement Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. With him from left are Robert R. Schadt, Division President and Rev. Fr. Joseph T. Orr, Division Chaplain. Photo by Lenny Long

Dozens of members and friends of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish Settlement Division, attended a dinner party at Otto’s Riverview honoring Dr. Kevin A. Morrin as the Hibernian of the Year.

The award is given for contributions to the activities of the AOH of Clinton County, PA.

Robert R. Schadt, Division President, presented the award, which was a framed print of the original certificate of membership used by the AOH when the American branch was established in New York City in 1836.

Schadt praised Morrin for his contributions to the Division and his six terms as President.

Award winning Magician Richard Benninghoff provided unique performances of table-to-table magic and a cabaret show that entertained the guests. His skill, personality and passion for people was most impressive.

Walsh Honored For Service To Hibernians

Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley, left, former charter President of the “Hook” O’Malley Division 4 Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), presents a proclamation to Hibernian Joseph Walsh, Fleetville, for his dedicated service to the division and its members. Mr. Walsh, who was also voted “Man of the Year” by his fellow brothers, is Vice President and Marshall of the AOH and cochairman of the Celtic Festival.


Scholarships in Carbondale

The Ancient Order of Hibernians Monsignor William Farrell Division #2, Carbondale, PA awarded $500 scholarships to two LaSalle Academy eighth grade students who will be furthering their Catholic Education. Tiffany Powell, who will be attending Scranton Preparatory School and Sam Collura, who will be attending Holy Cross High School were this year’s selected scholars.

Both Tiffany and Sam were selected because of their academic excellence and for their community mindedness. Tiffany is the daughter of Pamela and William Powell. Sam is the son of Sam and Maria Collura.

2012 “Hibernian of the Year”
Brother Timothy John Brennan

“Hibernian of the year” Timothy J. Brennan received his award from St. Brendan’s President Leonard Weckel

“Hibernian of the year” Timothy J. Brennan received his award from St. Brendan’s President Leonard Weckel

St. Brendan’s Division #1 “Hibernian of the year” is no stranger to the members of St. Brendan’s Division #1 AOH OF Berks County, having served in many capacities, and having attended most if not all our events and/or celebrations, despite health issues that would inhibit most people.

He first joined St. Brendan’s on December 8, 2006 and completed his major degrees in 2007. He served as Sentinel from 2010-2011 and was elected as your Vice-President in 2012, a position he recently was re-elected to for the coming year. He has served as a delegate to several State Conventions, and last May he was one of several members of our division who attended the 175th Anniversary of our Order in New York City.

For the last four years, our honoree and his family have promoted the works of our Order through their participation at the Celtic Fling held at Renaissance Faire in Lancaster County, PA. Although several members have volunteered to spend a few hours manning our information booth, It was our honoree and his family that spent the weekend setting up, organizing and promoting the AOH, our Irish Heritage and the Celtic Oysterfest giving out informational materials and answering questions from our interested visitors.

In addition to participating in our division, he has been actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America for the last 30 years, holding positions as Cub Master, Scout Leader, Committee Member, Advancement Chair. And TBT member. He was honored with Scouting’s highest Award of the “Silver Beaver” and the “St. George Award.” He was also one of the founders of the Bike Benefit.

He is actively serving as a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in New Holland where he has served for the past 15 years. He is also a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus where he received the “Father John Award” for outstanding service.

Our honoree was born in St. Charles, Illinois to Jack and Pat Brennan. He has one sibling Terry Brennan Carlson. He has been married to his wife Patricia for 37 year’s and they have four children, Shawn, James, Michael and Kathleen. They also have two grandchildren, Evelyn and Avery.

Our honoree graduated from Marmion Military Academy in Aurora Illinois, and Aurora College with a Business degree. He currently is employed at Honeybrook Kitchens.

JFK Div. 2 celebrates 46 years

Division John F. Kennedy #2, Pottsville, PA, Schuylkill County, celebrated their 46th Annual Communion Breakfast and Hibernian of the Year celebration on November 18. Members attending were, from left, front row, Charlie Maurer, James McDonald (Vice President), David Fogarty (Treasurer), Leo Haley (President); back row, Don Kerns, Paul Kennedy, James Wesnoski (Recording Secretary), Leo Treschock, Joe Conway, Joe Post, Robert Laughlin (Irishman of the Year honoree), Thomas Rowan, Dan Koury (Financial Secretary).

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Conshohocken Parade March 16
Tom Coughlin Grand Marshal

This parade has bloomed into one of the best parades in Pennsylvania. With the theme “Great and Glorious Saint Patrick,” Tom Coughlin will lead the parade as the 2013 Grand Marshal. Tom, the Montgomery County President, was the first Vice-President of his newly formed AOH Division Yellow Jack Donohue of Hatfield Pa.

As an active member of the AOH serving as a State officer, Isle of Erin Degree Team Member and on the Anti-defamation Committee. The father of two children, also Hibernians, and his wife, Kathy, also served as LAOH President and County President.

The parade is organized by the members of the AOH, LAOH and supporters of the Notre Dame Division of Montgomery County under the name of the Montgomery County Saint Patrick’s Parade Inc. The parade committee also hosts the Irish Coffee Contest on March 14th with the current and past grand marshals and the big night for Tom Coughlin March 9th where he will receive his official title at the Grand Marshal’s Ball.

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California News

On December 8, 2012, AOH Brothers from Long Beach and Orange County gathered at O’Malley’s in Seal Beach for a very merry Christmas party.  It was truly great for all who were able to attend to share their Christmas spirit.  Everyone had a wonderful time!

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Pennsylvania News

Remembering the Bogside Massacre

The Lackawanna County Ancient Order of Hibernians met in downtown Scranton at the John Mitchell Monument on Jan. 29 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Sometimes called the “Bogside Massacre,” Bloody Sunday happened on Jan. 30, 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, in which 26 unarmed civil rights protesters and by-standers were shot by soldiers of the British Army.

The Lackawanna County AOH consists of John F. Kennedy, Division 1, Scranton; Msgr. William Farrell, Division 2, Carbondale; O'Neill Brothers, Division 3, Minooka; Paul "Hook" O'Malley, Division 4, Scranton; Firefighter Joseph Flannery, Division 5, Taylor; and Father Patrick D. Healey, Division 6, Scranton. Officers and members of all Divisions had a candlelight vigil with Gary Duncan, Lackawanna County President, Todd Frick, President of John F. Kennedy, Division 1 and Vice President of Lackawanna County and Sister Gilmary Speirs, IHM spoke of the tragic day in Derry. Roll Call of the 26 was read and prayers were recited.

Communion Breakfast honors Hosie, Toolan and Moran

The Msgr. William Farrell, Division 2, Carbondale, Ancient Order of Hibernians, held their Annual Communion Breakfast on Feb. 26 at Saint Rose of Lima Parish. Mass was celebrated at by Msgr. David L. Tressler, pastor and Division 2 chaplain. Following Mass, a reception was held in the Family Center of the Church. There were members from all Divisions of Lackawanna County, John F. Kennedy, Division 1, Scranton; O’Neill Brothers, Division 3, Minooka; Paul “Hook” O’Malley, Division 4, Scranton; Firefighter, Joseph Flannery, Division 5, Taylor; and Father Patrick D. Healey, Division 6, Scranton. This year, there were two AOH Members honored with Hibernian of the Year awards. The two members received this award for their perpetual service and dedication to the Hibernian. These two brothers live our motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity each day.

T. Gerard Hosie and William Toolan received the honors. They were presented with a proclamation, a walking stick, and a Waterford Crystal cross. Proclamations were issued: one from Jermyn Mayor Bruce Smallacombe declaring Feb. 26 as Gerard Hosie Day in Jermyn, and another from Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor declaring Feb. 26 as William Toolan Day in Carbondale.

Also, John Moran received the Trinity Award for his outstanding dedication and hard work in keeping the Trinity Club what it is today. He also received a Black Thorn Walking Stick.

At the dais, from left, were Joe Hosie, PA State Board Director; Katie Hosie, President of Jermyn Council; Bill Pryle, Division 2 President; Frank Burnett, Vice President, Division 2, and Master of Ceremonies; Gary Duncan, Lackawanna County President; and Patrick O'Malley, Lackawanna County Commissioner and Past President Division 4.

Half Way to St Patrick’s Day in Western Missouri

The ninth annual Kansas City Irish Fest took place over Labor Day weekend, September 2-4, at the Crown Center Square in Downtown Kansas City. The Kansas City Irish Fest celebrates the city’s deep Irish roots with seven music stages featuring traditional music and Celtic rock from international, national and locally-known bands such as Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Kila, The Killdares and hometown Celtic rockers and the city’s favorite band, The Elders. The Irish Fest also features a comedy stage, heritage displays and workshops, shopping, ethnic food, a massive area just for kids and the city’s largest outdoor Catholic Mass on Sunday morning.

Kansas City Irish Fest has been named the “Best Festival” in Kansas City and the “Best Ethnic Festival” many times over in the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association’s Visitor’s Choice Awards. The Kansas City Irish Fest is also the third-largest Irish festival in the nation, with more than 100,000 people attending in 2010 and with reports that 2011 surpasses all previous attendance records. This is a great place to meet Hibernian brothers from throughout the Mid-West who were working the festival and enjoying all the great entertainment.

Weston, Missouri, founded in 1837, is just 30 minutes north of Kansas City, and 30 minutes south of St. Joseph. The town of Weston was the boyhood home of Buffalo Bill Cody and is the home to the Weston Irish Festival at O’Malley’s Pub, founded in 1842, where the Festival was celebrated October 14th through the 16th in 2011.

The Weston Irish Festival began in 2000 and has grown to a three-day event of all things Irish. The Irish Fest brings over 10,000 festival goers to this town of a little over 1,000 on the three-acre property that encompasses O’Malley’s Irish Pub, American Boman Restaurant and the Weston Brewing Company.

The fest served delicious Irish fare, had 15 acts on four stages, including many of the premiere acts in Irish music. Headlining this year’s event were the Screaming Orphans, The Elders, Enter the Haggis, Barleyjuice and The Mickey Finns. In addition, many local Irish entertainers, Irish dancers, and marching bands, the St Joseph, Missouri, Hibernians have been helping work the festival since its inception in 2000.

No trip to Kansas City, Mo., would be complete without stopping at Browne’s Irish Market established in 1887 noted as North America’s oldest Irish business and proclaimed this by the Irish Trade Board. It is considered to be Kansas City’s oldest retail business. When they first opened, proprietors Ed and Mary Flavin, both immigrants from County Kerry, conversed with locals and traded pennies for cured hams and embroidered pieces of lace. Flavins Market, at 27th and Jefferson in the front of the family home, was a place for neighbors to meet. It was Ed and Mary’s aim to provide quality food, wares and Irish hospitality to their many customers and friends. Accommodating their growing needs, in 1901 the Flavins built a new store on the outskirts of town — at the corner of 33rd and Pennsylvania. Their daughter, Margaret, and her husband, James R. (Jim) Browne, also from Kerry, continued the family business after their marriage in 1915, keeping the same friendly atmosphere. Now, the fifth generation can be seen bringing Irish smiles to customers and carrying on the tradition at the store. Kerry Browne and her husband, John McClain, have owned Browne’s Irish Market & Deli since July 1, 1981, when they bought it from her mother, Margie Blake Browne. The store is split between the deli and a section in the building that sells Irish imports, Irish foods, clothing and house wares. St Patrick’s Day brings long lines of customers and also to their street festival held every June.

Browne’s Market is located at 3300 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. 64111     phone. 816.561.0030.

Pennsylvania News

Maureen Lavelle, Pennsylvania State Vice President, installed the Juniors of LAOH Division 3 in Bucks County.

Montgomery County Máire Drumm, Division 3, has formed a group “Hibernians for Hemophilia” which walked and raised money for Hemophilia, a devastating disease that affects many, but namely, children of one of their Sisters.

Allegheny County announces its 2011 St. Brigid Court.  Pictured: Jean O’Malley (Div 21), Melissa Lassiter (Div 11), Cathy McNeilly, St. Brigid Court, Margaret Cloonan (Div 11)

Maryland News

In the March-April issue of the Digest I mentioned the retirement of Bill Ferguson as head of the Ocean City Irish Apostolate program.  I was then honored to receive an invitation from the Irish Embassy to attend a luncheon in Bill’s honor at the Dune’s Manor hotel hosted by Ambassador Michael Collins. The Rev. Brendan McBride, President of Irish Apostolate USA, came from San Francisco; John P. McDonough, Maryland Secretary of State, represented Governor O’Malley; Rick Meehan, Mayor of Ocean City, and a number of Bill’s friends and volunteers all turned out to honor Bill as well. Bill still receives cards and letters from the many students he has helped over the years as testimony to his hard work.

On May 23rd members of the Maryland AOH and LAOH gathered at St. Peter the Apostle church for a “Mary of Ireland” Mass and May Procession. The celebrant was Rev. Michael Roach, Chaplain of the Carroll County LAOH and former pastor of St. Peter‘s. The Mass was hosted by Baltimore City Division 5 and LAOH Division 1. Following the Mass a reception was held at the Irish Railroad Workers Museum with music by Division 5’s own Brendan Pelan. Though St. Peter’s church is now closed, the AOH/LAOH have been granted permission to host a Mass there the last 2 years. This is the only known church in Baltimore with an AOH sponsored stained glass window. Earlier in the month, members of Catonsville Div 1 volunteered at St. Peter’s Cemetery helping to clear brush as part of a long term restoration project.

Members of the Harford County division have been continuing their efforts to assist with the restoration of St. Patrick’s Chapel in Pilottowin, MD.  Members helped remove the pews so the floor could be replaced. The entire chapel is being renovated and is set for re-dedication on September 18th with Bishop Malooly presiding.

Bill Ferguson (left) with Irish Ambassador Collins. Photo by Nancy Brown.

New Jersey News

Pictured here proudly displaying the U.S. Flag and the Certificate of Appreciation from the US Air Force on the top row are left to right, Loisanne Martin, Kathleen Murray Boyda,  Janet Pernini,  President Claire Russell, and Diana Hayes.  Those seated from left to right are Kathleen O’Sullivan, Mary Kelly, and Helen Flatley.

LAOH Grainne O’Malley Division, Somerset County, NJ was honored to receive a U.S. Flag that was recently flown over Camp Egger in Kabul Afghanistan.  The Division received this recognition for their support of Project Michael.

Project Michael is a local volunteer organization honoring Michael Sunder, a local resident who died as the result of a tragic diving accident.  He had spent 29 years in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic following his accident at age 17.  His mother, Joyce Walker, honors his memory by honoring the troops in his name.  Mrs. Walker was a guest speaker of Somerset County, where she touched the hearts of all with her stories of commitment to our men and women in uniform.  Year round she sends multiple packages oversees…items of comfort, items of need,  items for fun, but most importantly each package is filled with love.  At Christmas she sends decorated trees along with cards and gifts to spread holiday cheer.  Her enthusiasm and commitment is relentless, sending over 500 large boxes a year to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Irish American Heritage Month

We continue to make progress on the initiative to have March permanently declared as National Irish American Heritage Month. For the twentieth consecutive year, the President declared March 2010 as IAHM. We reported on states that had done so in the previous Digest. Additionally, we have received information from Delaware that the Governor had made a similar proclamation, and the State of Rhode Island, via the Rhode Island General Assembly has declared March 2010 as Irish American Heritage Month as they have for the past 33 years by unanimous resolution. This year’s proclamation was sponsored by Brother State Board VP Representative Peter Martin. Well done, brother.

On behalf of the members of the IAHM Committee, John Schell and Neil Cosgrove, I thank those of you who responded to our requests for letting us know what activities you had in support of IAHM. Wow! Lots of good stuff going on – too many to mention here – I’d probably fill up the whole Digest if I reported them all. But, just a few will be highlighted here. This is not to imply that these were the “best” – just kind of representative of all of your activities.

The Governor of Maryland joined several other states by declaring March as IAHM. Governor O’Malley, as an Irish-American, certainly supported our efforts. We are still waiting final word from the Irish-American Catholic governor of The Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell. Back to Maryland, brothers there contacted state universities, community colleges and public libraries asking them to support IAHM. Division 5 Baltimore City set up the Irish Photo Exhibit and Contest. Catonsville Public Library had a large display with things Irish, including proclamations, books, and films related to Ireland.

Rockland County AOH Division 3 made a donation to the Pearl River Library to fund the purchase of books and over twenty CDs relating to Irish American Heritage. A large poster thanking the AOH for the donation and recognizing IAHM was prominently displayed at the library entrance throughout the month.

Colonel John Fitzgerald Division in Arlington Virginia once again sponsored the very well attended Gaelic Mass celebrated by Father Gerry Creedon. Father Creedon, a graduate of All Hallows Seminary in Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland, and a fluent Irish speaker, has celebrated this Mass the week of St. Patrick’s Day for many years now.

Again, these activities are representative of the many other activities sponsored by our AOH states, counties and divisions throughout the month of March. Well done!

In coming weeks and months, we, the IAHM committee will be meeting with members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs in an attempt to get legislation sponsored and passed to make IAHM a permanent thing. We have been in communication not only with IAHM but other government agencies such as the Smithsonian. Not all of our actions have met with the desired response, but that does not deter us.

We continue to ask you, our membership, to let the IAHM Committee know what you are doing in support of IAHM to help us strengthen our case with the appropriate legislative bodies at the National level.