Indiana News

Alice Davis

 

Our Lady of Knock Division #1, Indianapolis, Indiana is having a busy summer.   We kicked off with a power point presentation of the AOH Bloody Sunday delegation to Derry for commemoration and final march of that event.  We are sharing the presentation with other Irish organizations upon request.  The CD is a 17 minute program featuring the Collusion Wall in Belfast, The Bogside murals and museum and the Kilmainham  Prison  as well as a list of groups supported by the Christmas Appeal. If any group is interested in the program, they may contact Alice Davis:  Aliceanndavis@sbcglobal.net.  The CD is free.

The  OLK Book Club is reading The Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd.  The story takes place in the north, 1981 and is a study in contrasts.  It compares the ancient and modern commitment to love of people. It portrays innocence in a character from Wales and introduces discussion on the consequences of choice.

The Division is in full swing in preparation for our participation for Indy Irish Fest, our major fund raiser on September 16, 17 and 18. The Irish Fest Chairs are Mary Ellen Morris and Nancy Tindall-Sponsel.  The Group is also preparing for a celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Knock under the chairmanship of Joyce McMullen.  Beside the Memorial Mass for deceased  members, Joyce is also preparing for OLK garage sale.

Jane and J.J. O’Brien hosted the annual summer social  event celebrating and thanking members and guest for their continued support.  The garden setting, sharing of food was delightful and visiting with friends made for a delightful evening.

Michigan News

Michigan held its 78th Biennial State Convention in Brighton, on Saturday, May 20, 2011.  Hosted by the States newest AOH Division, the Tom Kelly Division and co-hosted by the LAOH Sarah Regan Division of Livingston County. The gathering convened at the American Spirit Centre beginning with an ice breaker on Friday evening. The Convention was attended by members from across the entire State who were afford the hospitality of one of the State’s premier VFW/American Legion facilities. The Convention was dedicated to all Veterans of the United States Military.

National Director and National Organizer, Brother Danny O’Connell was in attendance, representing the AOH National Board.  He displayed an impressive “power point” presentation on the importance of retention and organizing and was able to distribute information this subject to all present.  The election of a new Board of AOH State Officers included Brother Patrick Sturdy to the office of State President. Rounding out the new State Board were Brothers Kevin Burke, Vice president, March Jefferies, Recording Secretary and Gerry Mato to the Office of Treasurer.  This year’s State Convention was judged to be one of the best and the largest in years and is a tribute to the combined efforts of the AOH/LAOH Convention Committee who brought it to completion.

The Michigan Hibernian Rifles were present for the dedication of a monument to the twenty-two Union Soldiers, of the Michigan Regiments of the famous “Iron Brigade”, who perished during the Civil War, from the City of Royal Oak.  The dedication was a part of the ceremonies connected with the annual Memorial Day Parade in that City. AOH Brothers Steve Zannetti, Norman O’Brien Division President and Greg O’Sullivan, Division Financial Secretary were on the Parade Committee and invited the AOH to participate.

The summer AOH golf outings commenced with the Daniel P. O’Kennedy Division hosting their outing at the Romeo Golf Club on June 11th.  The monies raised by over 80 golfers were donated to Operation KINDNESS (Kids In Need Deserve Necessary and Essential Surgical Services), founded by local physician Michael Busuito.

Dr. Busuito was in attendance and explained to the golfers how he and other physicians working with Operation KINDNESS travel to foreign countries to provide surgical care to children suffering from severe deformities (mostly cleft lips and palates) that would otherwise go untreated due to lack of medical care and technology in their homeland. The children treated by Operation KINDNESS are the poorest of the poor – without its services, these kids would have little to no chance of leading a normal life.

Operation KINDNESS travels to areas where the need is greatest and continue returning until all the children are treated. For the past seven years, Operation KINDNESS has been traveling to southern Mexico near Guatemala despite the dangers presented by the ongoing drug war and violence in Mexico.

The second of this summer’s AOH Division golf outings took place in Grand Blanc, Michigan, on a beautiful Saturday morning on June 18th.  Hosted by the AOH Sullivan and O’Sullivan Division of Flint.  The event raised significant monies for the Division charities in the Flint area.  Over 80 golfers participated in the annual “Shillelagh Swing” held at the Jewel on the River Golf and Country Club.

New elected Michigan State President Patrick Sturdy, Peter Hogan, Jim Odea and Kevin BurkeSullivan and O’Sullivan Division Members who participated in the golf outing.

 

Sullivan and O’Sullivan Division Members who participated in the golf outing.

Connecticut News

by Phil Gallagher

 

As predicted in the last issue of the Digest, spring weather came to Connecticut by mid March and brought out record crowds to view the State’s many St. Patrick’s Parades that were held over a two-week period. Connecticut Hibernians will next head to Waterbury on the weekend of June 10-12, 2011 for their Biennial State Convention.  The AOH of Connecticut began holding annual conventions in 1872 and switched to the biennial format in 1882.  The Waterbury Convention Committee promises a full weekend of activities beginning with a Pub Night at the AOH hall on Friday night.

State President Bob O’Sullivan announced that one of the highlights of the Convention will be a power point presentation by National Freedom for All Ireland Chairman Sean Pender which will deal with the distribution of funds raised by the annual Christmas Appeal.  Convention business will be attended to on both Saturday & Sunday.  The Convention Mass will be held at 4:15 P.M. on Saturday at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury.

By the time this report goes to press, the Connecticut AOH & LAOH will have participated in the 175th Anniversary of the founding of the AOH in America. At press time already 40 members had signed up to go to New York City by bus.

On May 27, 2011, the Greater Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Parade Committee honored Bridgeport Hibernians Richard Owens and Bob Curwen for their extraordinary fund raising efforts.

Connecticut Hibernians have not been shy about living up to our motto.  At least four Divisions have members who regularly work at local soup kitchens. Fran McFarland led the efforts of the men and woman of Meriden while Waterbury Hibernians are very involved in feeding the less fortunate in their community. A large contingent Bridgeport Hibernians decked out in their green aprons regularly staff the Thomas Merton Hospitality House. The Danbury LAOH & AOH have for years done the same at the Dorothy Day soup kitchen while Tom Foley and Jim Comer go the extra mile by spending one overnight a month supervising the attached homeless shelter.

Meriden and Danbury continued two long-standing traditions this year.  Meriden once again ran a refreshment booth at that City’s famous daffodil festival while Danbury under the Chairmanship of Joan Barry and Martin Tuite once again for the 36th consecutive year presented scholarships to students attending immaculate High School.

As we go to press we understand that negotiations are underway between Bridgeport, Danbury and other Divisions to start an annual AOH softball tournament in Connecticut. Can a new tradition be about to start? (jpgallagherct@sbcglobal.net)

JFK Division Serves Breakfast

 

Brothers from the JFK Division cooked and served breakfast at the Thomas Merton Center on Friday, February 11, 2011. The Thomas Merton House is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport.  A total of 122 guests enjoyed a hearty breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage.  Chilly temperatures brought out a big crowd to enjoy the comforts of the Thomas Merton House and its caring staff and volunteers.

“We are all children of God, entitled to dignity, respect, and a sense of self-worth. With that in mind, The Thomas Merton Center is much more than a soup kitchen to so many. It is a house of hospitality, day shelter, sanctuary, and welcoming place of hope and care to the hundreds of people it provides with food, love, and a helping hand each day.”

Ancient Order of Hibernian Brothers Chris Boyle (Financial Secretary), Ken Dougherty,  Brian Dunne, Rich Loefelm, Ted Lovely (Past President), Mike Meade (Standing Committee), Jim Murray (Activities Chairman) and Dave Ryan (Vice President) volunteered and gave back to the community as part of our commitment to Christian Charity.  The AOH will cook and serve again on Friday May 13, 2011.

Pictured (L – R) Financial Secretary Chris Boyle; Chairman of the Standing Committee Mike Meade; Bro. Ken Dougherty, cracking eggs; VP Dave Ryan.

John F. Kennedy Division Hosts Siobhan and Dan Dennehy at 61st Annual Communion Breakfast

The John F. Kennedy Division #1 of Bridgeport, Conn. hosted its 61st Annual Mass & Communion Breakfast on Sunday March 13, 2011.  Well over 200 Brothers and their sons, grandsons and nephews attended our annual Mass at St. Ann Church in Devon, CT celebrated by Division Chaplain Fr. Lawrence Ryan, S.J. assisted by St. Ann’s pastor and new Hibernian Rev. Brian Shaw.  A hearty full Irish breakfast followed at the Division’s home base, the Gaelic American Club in Fairfield.

Our keynote speakers Siobhan Dennehy, winner of the JFK Medal at last year’s national convention and her husband Bro. Dan Dennehy, National Chairman for Immigration, spoke eloquently and reminded us that we are all here because of immigration from Ireland and that it’s our duty to our heritage and countrymen to help others get the shot at a life in the U.S. that we’ve all enjoyed.

Pictured (L – R) John F. Kennedy Div. President Tom Keane, Bro. Dan Dennehy National AOH Immigration Chair, Siobhan Dennehy 2010 John F. Kennedy Medal winner, Connecticut State President Bob O’Sullivan.

 

Organizer

Brothers, this is my final report for this term as your National Director/Organizer.  It has been my pleasure to serve you in this office.  I hope I have done my job to your satisfaction and have helped to grow our Order.  I will have my final report at the National Convention in Cincinnati.  There will be totals on the State boards, County Boards, Divisions along with membership totals in that report.  I hope to see you all there in July.

I would like to thank our National President, Seamus Boyle, for appointing me the post of Organizer.   My thanks also go out to the National Board, in general, for all their help, along with my Deputy National Organizers, State Presidents and State Organizers all deserve a hearty thanks for a job well done.   Last, but certainly not least, thanks to all members of the rank and file that have helped in the organizing of new divisions and bringing in new members.

At this convention, I will have a power point presentation on organizing.  At this program we will discuss ideas and ways of organizing new divisions in your state and/or area.  All State Presidents and State Organizers along with any interested members should plan on attending.

During these past two years, numerous e-mails and phone calls have poured into the Organizer’s office.  This was one of the busiest offices on the National Board.  All inquiries were answered in a timely fashion, usually within 2 to 3 days.  We had calls/e-mails from all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska, and other countries such as Ireland, Australia, Canada, Germany, England, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  As the calls and emails came in, I would either handle them myself or forward them to the appropriate State, County or Division Presidents for their direction to the new candidates.  I would also utilize National Directors and State Presidents in their jurisdictions, to install new Divisions.  Believe it or not, we also had an Episcopalian Priest in Cleveland call and ask if he could join.  Of course, he

could not, but it is nice to know that our name is out there and a lot of people have heard of us.

Over the past two years, my articles in this paper have been trying to give you effective ways of drawing more Irish-Americans into our fold.  The most important way is to show our good works in the communities that we live in.  Articles in your local newspaper are often good avenues to take.  Another way is to use your Church bulletins.  We are looking for good Catholic men of Irish descent and where better to find them than in the pews.  Our parades, parties and music fests can be attractive to future members.  Set up stands or work tables and provide information and applications, and always have it manned by 3 or 4 Hibernians so there is a no wait policy.  As always, for AOH materials contact me by email or phone.

At this National Convention in July, a lot of good men are running for offices.  Delegates, get there and have your vote heard.  This is a great opportunity to meet your brothers from around the country, your National Officers and men from your own state.  Get involved, ask questions, offer opinions, and most importantly be part of the projects, committees and delegations that will guide our great Order into the future.

Again, thank you for your confidence in me for the past two years.  I am running for re-election for this National Director post and I would appreciate your vote.  I am always available to you for any questions you have, or information that you need.  If you need organizational materials, email me at norrisaoh@aol.com or call me at 570-323-7789.

Have a happy and safe summer and Beannacht De an obair.