President Maureen Shelton

At this time of year we are beginning to prepare for our St. Patrick’s Day festivities; however, we must not forget our patron, St. Brigid, whose feast day is February 1st.  She does not get the notoriety of St. Patrick but St. Brigid was known for the many ways she helped those in need. It seemed she always was able to provide for anyone who needed help. As LAOH members, we carry on her works today. There is no end of the amount of charities that our members are involved in as we continue to help others as our patron saint did centuries ago.  I hope that you all receive special blessings as you celebrated St. Brigid’s feast day.

As Sister and Brother Hibernians, we came together once again to help with the relief effort for the Hurricane Sandy victims. I know that everyone will continue to as generous as they can be to help with this cause. This will be an ongoing relief effort; it may not all be monetary but our members are there to help one another any way they can.  We can all be proud to say we are Hibernians.

As March approaches it will be a busy time for many St. Patrick feast day celebrations. Please remember that this is a holy day for us. We celebrate St. Patrick and we are Irish 365 days a year, unlike those who all just want to be Irish on March 17th. Keep an eye out for offending materials that are sold at this time of year. None of us want to be portrayed in a bad light. I do not see any other nationality being portrayed in as many offensive tee shirts, cards etc. as the Irish. Stand up against this; these people are only trying to make money off of defaming us at our expense. I look forward to seeing many of my Hibernians sisters and brothers at many gatherings this March. I pray that you have a safe and holy St. Patrick’s Day.

Yours in Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,


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!

Project St. Patrick

This year has seen the highest number of applications for Project St. Patrick Vocation Grants from seminaries and novitiates. A total of 123 applications — 97 from seminarians and 26 from religious sisters — shows an increase of 22 from 2010.

Project St. Patrick is a joint Catholic Action program of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. It was created in 1995 to encourage vocations and to support Priests, Seminarians and Religious, spiritually, emotionally and financially.

Individual $500 PSP Vocation Grants are awarded annually through an application and selection process that runs from Jan. 1 to May 1 of each year. These grants help cover expenses of men studying for the priesthood or diaconate and women studying for the religious life. The need is great but our funds are low.

This year, the PSP Committee of nine was able to award a total of $36,000 ($20,00 from Hibernian Charity PSP and $16,000 from LAOH PSP). We were able to award vocation grants to 59 seminarians and 15 novices. In addition, an outright grant of $1,500 was awarded to the Little Sisters of the Poor who sent in a number of applications.

Winners of the 2011 grants came from NY, CA, LA, MN, WI, MA, OR, MO, OH, TX, DC, MD, PA, NJ, IN, CT, ME and AL. Six applicants were either members of the Order or related to a member of the AOH or LAOH.

State, County and Division Boards and all Hibernians need to be unwavering in our support for vocations, helping those who are called to serve our Church. One important way to do this is to encourage vocations within your families and communities and help more workers in the vineyard of Our Lord through the 2011 Project St. Patrick Easter Appeal.

Annual donations of any size (at any time of year) will help us be able to help more applicants. For each donation of $500 (or more), we ask that you submit a name of a beloved chaplain (or lay person), living or deceased, and we will name a Vocation Grant in his or her honor.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage use of the PSP Memorial Cards, which is a “living” donation to support seminarians and religious and will go a long way to support PSP.

AOH PSP donation checks should be made out to: Hibernian Charity, and in memo section write: Project St. Patrick and send checks to Frank Kearney Jr., Sec. Hibernian Charity, P. O. Box 391, Meriden, CT 06451 or through PayPal on the Hibernian Charity website

LAOH PSP donation checks should be sent to Carol J. Sheyer, LAOH Catholic Action Officer, 121 South B Street, Hamilton, OH 45013. Memorial Cards can be obtained from Ed Wallace, Frank Kearney, Tom McNabb or Carol Sheyer via their email addresses in Digest.

Writing Your Story in the New Year

The holidays are over and a new year is upon us.  This time of year always presents an interesting opportunity to take stock of our lives.  Whether you believe in the proverbial “New Year’s Resolutions” or not, there is something refreshing about being able to look back at the previous year and also to dream about the new year upon us.  It is like rereading the previous chapter in the book of your life, and then looking at the blank page of the upcoming chapter that is ready to be filled.  What exciting possibilities lie ahead!

As we enter 2011, why not give yourself one more Christmas gift this year?  The gift of time.  First, take some time to think about this past year.  What have you done to fulfill the Hibernian motto of “Friendship, Unity and True Christian Charity?”  What actions did you commit to and fulfill during the course of 2010?  This is not a time to criticize yourself about things that you may have failed to accomplish, but a time to remember the things you were able to do.  How did you help to promote friendship and unity, as well as to show true Christian charity to others?

After taking stock of 2010, think about the upcoming year.  What are some of those actions from this past year that you would like to continue into 2011?  What are some resolutions that you wanted to fulfill this past year, but were not able to accomplish?  Can you commit to them in the upcoming year?  It is also a time to think about new actions you would like to commit to during the upcoming year.  What is a new commitment that you would like to make this year as a Hibernian?

The page is fresh to begin writing your story for 2011.  How can “Friendship, Unity and True Christian Charity” continue to be a part of your life theme for this year?  Give yourself the gift of time to really think about it.  Let God use you this year in new and exciting ways.  And may He richly bless you in 2011!

Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn an aimsir go breá an t-am seo bliana, agus is breá liom a bheith amuigh faoin spéir ag spaisteoireacht.  The weather is fine this time of year and I love to be outdoors walking around. Tamall ó shin, fuair mé comharsanacht an-suimiúil in Brooklyn agus mé ag siúlóid.  A while ago, I found a very interesting neighbourhood in Brooklyn while I was on a walk. Vinegar Hill a thugtar uirthi.  It’s called… Tá sí taobh leis na Brooklyn Navy Yards.  It’s next to… Tá cúpla alt suimiúil ann faoi ag, faoi “na comharsanachtaí.” There are a couple of interesting articles about it at…under “neighborhoods.” Ainmníodh an áit in ómós do Chnoc Fíodh na gCaor lasmuigh d’Inis Córthaidh i gContae Loch Garman, mar a raibh cath tábhacht ar 21 Meitheamh, 1798.  The place was named in honor of …outside of Enniscorthy in Wexford, where there was an important battle on June 21st, 1798. Ár agus slad uafásach ar na Gaeil sin, fiú ar mhná is páistí, agus is iomaí uafás a rinne arm Shasana ar na Gaeil ina dhiaidh mar gheall air.  A slaughter and massacre of the Irish that, even of women and children, and many a horror was done by the English army to the Irish afterwards because of it. Tubaiste d’Éirinn ab ea an cath seo (tá alt maith faoi ag This battle was a disaster for Ireland. Nach aisteach go mbaisteadh an t-ainm sin ar an gcomharsanacht seo?  Isn’t it odd that this neighborhood was given that name? Ach rinne an duine a thóg na tithe seo amhlaidh chun na hÉireannaigh a mhealladh chuici.  But the person who built these houses did so in order to attract the Irish to it. Is dócha go mbíodh Éireannaigh ina gcónaí ann, ach ina dhiaidh sin tháinig gach saghas duine, agus ní raibh dea-chlú ar an áit i gcónaí.  I suppose there used to be Irish living there, but afterwards every kind of person came, and the place didn’t always have a good reputation. Ba í seo an chéad áit a raibh Al Capone ina chónaí!  This was the first place where AC resided!

Chuaigh Capone go Cicero agus Siceágo Illinois, áiteanna a maraigh sé a lán coirpeach de shliocht na hÉireann, mar a tharla. Capone went to …and Chicago…, places in which he killed a lot of criminals of Irish descent, as it happened. Ar dtús, ghlac sé seilbh ar rialtas Cicero ó choirpigh le hainmneacha mar Myles O’Donnell, agus mharaigh sé daoine le hainmneacha mar Bill McSwiggins.   First he took over Cicero from criminals with names like…, and he killed people with names like… Ansin, in Siceágó féin, bhí cogadh ann idir drong Capone ó dheisceart na cathrach agus drong thuaisceart na cathrach, Bugs Moran i measc a cheannairí.  Then, in Chicago itself, there was a war between Capone’s gang from the south side and the north side gang, …among its leaders. Ba é dúnmhárú duine darb ainm Dion O’Banion a thosaigh an cath a chríochnaíodh le Sléach Lá ‘le Valaintín. It was the murder of a person named… that started the battle which ended with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Deirtear uaireanta go bhfuil droch-chlú ar shliocht na hIodáile mar gheall ar na coirpigh, ach ní lú ná iad líon na gcoirpeach ab ea de shliocht na hÉireann, is oth liom a rá!  Sometimes people say that the Italians have a bad reputation because of the criminals, but there were no fewer criminals who had an Irish background, I regret to say!

I Nua-Eabhrac ag an am céanna sin a bhí drong i gCistín Ifrinn darb ainm an Gopher Gang, agus ba de shliocht na hÉireann a bhaill uile.  In New York at that same time there was a gang in Hell’s Kitchen called the…,, and all its members were Irish. An duine ba mhó díobhsan ná Owney “The Killer” Madden. The biggest of them was… Sea, is dócha go bhfaca a lán daoine an scannán The Gangs of New York.  Yeah, I guess a lot of people have seen the movie… Ba iad na hÉireannaigh sna Cúig Phointe a bhí i gceist, agus cé nach raibh an scannán sin cruinn go huile is go hiomlán, is iomaí drong Éireannach a bhí ann gan aon agó, agus bhí droch-chlú ar an gcomharsanacht sin.  The Irish in the Five Points were the subject, and although that film wasn’t perfectly accurate, there were a lot of Irish gangs, without question, and that neighborhood had a bad reputation. Théadh na daoine saibhre go dtí na Cúig Phointe chun na bochtáin a fheiscint agus sin as a bhfuaireamar an téarma ‘slumming.’  The rich people used to go to the Five Points to see the poor people and that’s where we get the term… Bhí na daoine sin thíos leis an mbochtannas agus leis an gcoireacht ina dtimpeall.  Those people suffered from poverty and the crime all around them.

Bhí mo shinsir féin ina gcónaí sa chomharsanacht sin, mar a tharlaíonn, agus níorbh coirpigh iadsan.  My own ancestors lived in that neighborhood, as it happens, and they weren’t criminals. Agus ní gá dom a lua an méad Éireannach a bhí agus atá ina bpóilíní, srl.  And I don’t need to mention how many Irish were and are policemen, etc. Ní mór dúinn a bheith bródúil as ár sinsir agus as na hÉireannaigh a rinne mórán rudaí maithe sa tír seo.  We need to be proud of our ancestors and of the Irish who did a lot of good things in this country. Ach leis sin, ní mór go n-admhaímid nach raibh gach mac máthar díobh go maith!  But along with that, we need to admit that every mother’s son of them wasn’t good! Tarlaíonn a leithéid…  These things happen…