Members of the AOH attended a memorial Conference and Mass to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Cardinal John O’Connor in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday May 3, 2010. Cardinal O’Connor was a proud Hibernian, a member of Division 9, NY County, recipient of the John F.Kennedy Memorial Medal from the AOH National Board; and the 1996 Grand Marshal for the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
After the conference and prior to the Mass Martin Beirne, President of the Francis P. Beirne Division 9, NY County AOH presented a check for $10,000 to Monsignor Donald Sakano, Pastor of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral and to Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Division 9 has pledged $30,000 as part of the Cathedral’s 200th Anniversary Capital Campaign; to cover the costs of installing transparent doors into the burial crypt under St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. The Division is proud to help with the restoration and improvements at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, which the AOH were called on by Archbishop John “Dagger” Hughes to defend by force during the 1830 and 1840’s. The AOH defended the church grounds and prevented the “Know Nothings” from destroying St. Patrick’s old Cathedral. A reenactment of the defense of the Old Cathedral was made on Sunday June 7, 2009 after a Mass and Parade to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the laying of the Cornerstone for St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced at the St. Patrick’s Day Mass in the New Cathedral that St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was granted Basilica status by the Holy Father.
Monsignor Donald Sakano, who in addition to his duties as pastor of the Old Cathedral also serves as chaplain to the New York County AOH Board, said “I am both grateful for the practical support shown by Division 9 of the New York County AOH, and moved that its membership is still standing “shoulder to shoulder” in defense of the Old Cathedral, as their forebears did long ago. The gift of the members, which is the first donation tied to a specific 200th Anniversary Campaign project, will enable visitors to the Old Cathedral to see through transparent doors, emplaced in the Mott Street courtyard of the Old Cathedral, into our one of our most notable features, our historic crypt, which contains the remains of many prominent New Yorkers, as well as many of the pioneering priests of the Archdiocese going back to the early 19th century. As we undertake a number of restoration projects in connection with the 200th anniversary of the Old Cathedral, this generous gift is deeply appreciated.”
Plans are now under way for the 175th Anniversary of the AOH in America and many of the events, including masses and tours of the Old Cathedral, are currently being planned for the Fall of 2011.