Chaplain’s Report – September 2015

I am attempting to keep this short, as I was in the Philippines when I received word that this column would be due before I got back; with that in mind I apologize to Brother McKenna for making him wait.

Since seeing many of you in July, at the State Convention not much has happened on my end, other than the trip to the Philippines I already mentioned. This was a mission trip, to introduce Aquaponics to small communities in a couple of locations, and to lay the groundwork for my return next year, when I hope to finish two large systems for some isolated communities. While I was traveling around Aklan province, I kept noticing cement markers on the roadsides, just prior to bridges or villages, adorned with various fraternal symbols: the Knights of Columbus, Rotary, even a Masonic one. These were placed there because these organizations had assisted the community in the past, with some project, unfortunately I did not see any from the AOH. I am not writing this to embarrass anyone or to solicit donations (although if you want to send money to help the projects I am working on I won’t say no), but to remind us of how we are part of the Universal, that is the Catholic, Church. As followers of Jesus Christ we are all called to think outside of ourselves towards an other, and the Other.

While many brothers and divisions have been generous, we need to continue to be generous and increase our generosity. Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, which has enjoyed the support of the AOH and LAOH in the past, and which has assisted youth, families and individuals throughout the State (and Nation), depends completely upon donations and grants for its operations. Now the demand is even greater since many of those agencies that depended upon government subsidies and contracts have closed due to cut backs, resulting in more people seeking help from Hope House and similar groups.

As I have mentioned over the past year, Fr. Fred Close, the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Washington D.C. is still collecting money to build affordable housing for students of the John Paul II Institute. The students attending this Pontifical Institute return to their parishes and dioceses, working to better form individuals and families as to our Catholic Faith; trust me they do not get paid much, so anything that can help prevent unnecessary debt is appreciated. The information on where to send donations is: St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1029 Monroe St., NE, Washington, DC 20017; write “AOH JPII” in the memo line.

Finally, our own charities: Project St. Patrick, FFAI and Hibernian charities need our support, as do those charities that our divisions and counties have supported. Of course I have been thinking about Brother Arnie Nagelhout as I have been writing this column, especially how happy he was at the convention to give out such a large amount of certificates, which testify to the generosity of Hibernians. Remember brothers, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:7-8).

Fr. Henry W. Reid
State Chaplain

Chaplain’s Message

It was good to see so many of you up in East Durham, at the State Board meeting; any time I am able to get up to the Irish Alps is a good time, but the chance to spend some time with other Hibernians makes it all the more enjoyable. If any of you get the chance to spend a night or two there this season I would encourage it, since it is part of our New York Irish heritage, and has been experiencing a slow, but steady, rebound.

 

By the time this gets sent out, we will, as a Church, be entering or already in Ordinary Time. While there are those that approach this liturgical season as if it is mundane, the fact is that no liturgical time is mundane, and this time is especially important. While the Lenten, Easter, Advent and Christmas seasons all have the obvious theme, whether they are pointing to the arrival of a certain event, or are an extended observance of those events, Ordinary Time is both of these. First, let’s clear something up, “Ordinary” derives from the same base as “Orient” and “Order”; what we are doing during this time, is ordering our lives towards God. So we are focusing on our coming to God, but we recognize also that we have already come to Him. In other words, make sure you get to church during the summer months.

 

While I look forward to seeing many of you at the State convention on Long Island this July, I am also experiencing that tightness in my chest that has come from a number of these events over the past number of years. While I will not tell anyone how to vote, I will encourage everyone to behave as decent human beings and Christians, remembering our motto. I will also encourage our candidates, and whoever is elected to put the good of the Order before any personal agendas. As followers of Jesus Christ, especially as members of a Catholic organization, we are called to set an example of how to behave for those in the secular world, not to bring their example into the Order.

 

Finally, let me make yet another appeal on behalf of the housing project in D.C. that will benefit those who are studying at the John Paul II Institute. Fr. Fred Close is still attempting to set up adequate housing for graduate students, who, unlike those in other programs, will use what they learn at the JPII Institute to directly benefit their parishes, dioceses and religious communities. The checks can be made out to: St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1029 Monroe St., NE, Washington, DC 20017; write “AOH JPII” in the memo line. Yours in Christ and our motto,

Fr. Henry W. Reid

Chaplain’s Message

Let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, as well as Irish Heritage/History Month. At this time of year, when so many people come out to celebrate their Irish heritage, it is the AOH at the forefront, and therefore our responsibility to put the best of Irish culture forward. We hear it every year, that people are acting in a manner unworthy of out patron Saint’s day, either through drunkenness, engaging in stereotypical behavior or because of some poor attempt at comedy. While members of our Order are above the prejudicial t-shirts, depicting anti-Irish “humor”, and the less than dignified bing-drinking, demonstrated by adolescents and college age revelers on the sidelines of parade routes, there are times that some of us are less than we should be on the 17th. I am reminded often of the old “Man in the Glass” poem, which hung in my father’s office for so many years, instructing the reader to refrain from behavior that will make them hesitate to look at themselves in the mirror. Chances are all of us have, at some time, done things we regret, with or without the excuse of alcohol; but if your actions or demeanor look like you step out of the pages of Punch magazine or drawn by Thomas Nast, then rethink how you want people to envision Irish culture. We make a promise we “will not countenance by (our) presence… any performance that may reasonably be interpreted as caricaturing or debasing the Irish people, whether in public or in private, in song, recitation or story, on the stage or on the screen” yet there are those who behave like walking caricatures. This St. Patrick’s Day, and accompanying season, march in parades, enjoy some food and drink, listen to some decent Irish music, but don’t give our enemies ammunition to use against us, or in ways that will make our friends and possible members avoid our company.

As we are in the Season of Lent, take this opportunity to better your relationship with God. Remember, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote in his Encyclical DEUS CARITAS EST “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”, which is what we should focus on during this Holy Season. So often we are caught up on outward observations, we forget about interior change. For years Catholics gave up meat on Friday, some calling it a sacrifice, others using it as an opportunity to enjoy some good seafood, and while there are those of us who keep Fridays “meatless” throughout the year, and all of us are called to do so in Lent, many forget why. We are free to eat the flesh of cold-blooded animals on Friday; however, abstaining from warm-blooded flesh is a reminder that the Flesh of Christ was nailed to the Cross on Friday. By the way, while those under fourteen and over sixty are not obliged to fast during Lent, they are required to abstain from meats.

One of the biggest problems we have had in the Church in recent times is the spread of wrong information by the media and others. In order to know what Pope Francis said, do not take the news media at face value, since they are out to make money and all have their own agendas. Instead try the Vatican’s website (www.vatican.va) which has links to its own news service, or try the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ site (www.usccb.org); also check out your own diocese’s website.

Finally, I am working on a retreat weekend, this Fall, for any Hibernian that wants to take some time to pray and reflect, to deepen their relationship with God. For those hesitating about coming on a retreat with me, arrangements for other priests as confessors and spiritual directors will be in place.

Chaplain’s Message

Fr. Henry W. Reid

Since we just had the State Board meeting, and I addressed so much in the previous newsletter, I will try to keep this short. Again, I would ask every Division and County Board consider running a fund raiser for the Hibernian Housing Project at John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C.. Unlike other Graduate programs, those at the John Paul II Institute directly benefit our local parishes and Church communities, since those who earn degrees return to instruct and direct programs on parish, diocesan or seminary levels. Any donations can be made out to: St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1029 Monroe St., NE, Washington, DC 20017; write “AOH JPII” in the memo line.

By the time this comes out, we will probably have entered into our Advent Season, which is a time of preparation for Christmas, although with the barrage of Christmas displays that started showing up in stores back in September, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking we already entered into the celebration of Christ’s Birth. Please remember that this is the reason why we celebrate this Holyday, because God, in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, chose to take on flesh and become part of His creation; known as the Incarnation, it is most contemplated subject in all Theology. Remember that the Christmas Season does not end on Christmas Day, but lasts until the Baptism of the Lord, on January 11th.

Finally, there has been a lot of reaction to the announcement of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee to the inclusion of homosexuals in the parade. In approaching this subject we need to keep in mind that while the Church’s moral teachings state that homosexual acts, like all sexual acts outside of marriage, are disordered, treating homosexuals themselves with anything except the respect they deserve, as human beings made in the image and like of God, is also wrong. For all of the years and legal battles that the Parade Committee stood opposed to the admission of homosexual groups marching in the parade, it seems ridiculous that they would suddenly fold on this issue. Some of the brothers who hold delegate positions with the Committee have stated that this action was taken by very few of the board, and is not sitting well with most others. Some brothers have already called for a complete boycott, forever walking away from the parade, while others have decided to stay involved and work for change from within. Ultimately, it is up to everybody to decide for themselves what to do. For those who decide to remain affiliated, I would encourage them, that once they have done all they can to remedy this latest situation, they work to establish a required dress code and etiquette for marchers. Even if the ridiculous attire on the sidelines is banned from the line of march, there are various participants whose appearance and behavior do not necessarily reflect the dignity of the Irish people and Catholic Faith, present in the person of St. Patrick, whose Feast day we celebrate.

In the meantime, have a Blessed Christmas and Holy New Year.

State Chaplain

Since it is so soon after the State Board meeting, I feel almost absurd writing this to all of you, knowing that everyone hung on my every word and studied my report; however for those of you who cannot get enough of my grandiloquence.

All those who attended the Board meeting should have grabbed draft copies of the Hibernian Catechism, and I await the input from members regarding corrections or omissions. As also stated in the report I am planning a pilgrimage to Ireland this October, details can be found at

www.pilgrimages.com/frhenry or 1(800) 206-8687, ask for Chris. God willing there will be a Hibernian retreat next year, I’m still working on the details. It is certain that others will have written here about the need to get to St. Louis for the National Convention, so I will not bore you with that.

One of the things which I spoke about at the Board meeting was the need for housing at the Pope St. John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C.. A priest friend whose parish encompasses Catholic University and the St. John Paul II Institute, the only two Pontifical Universities in the mainland United States, brought this to my attention. At the State Board meeting I asked for backing in raising $10 million over the next 10 years for housing, this is a project that the AOH could take great pride in and would serve the Church throughout the USA. Anybody wanting to know more about the Pope St. John Paul II Institute can go to https://www.johnpaulii.edu/. Anyone interested in making a donation can send them to: St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1029 Monroe St., NE, Washington, DC 20017; write “AOH JPII” in the memo line.

While I am on the topic of Catholics and universities, I was disturbed to hear about another problem at Notre Dame University on April 25, 2014, where members of a Catholic student group, who had permission to have a literature table, were told by university police that they had to stop handing out pamphlets backing the Church’s defense of Traditional Marriage. The pamphlet (which can be found at: http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/homosexuality/10-reasons-why-homosexual-marriage-is-harmful-and-must-be-opposed.html) was considered by homosexual students and their supporters attending Notre Dame to be offensive, and therefore the members of TFP Student Action were told that they would have to pack up. As a Catholic priest I find it offensive that Notre Dame would continue to entertain anti-Catholic ideology, even after the outcry of those who supported Fr. Norman Weslin and the others who were arrested protesting Obama’s presence at the Commencement. As a side note, the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others were not dropped until two years after their arrests, and only after legal action and support from Catholics and supporters of the 1st Amendment. Unfortunately the 2010 AOH National Convention saw the restoration of Hibernian funding to Notre Dame, even though Fr. Weslin and the others still faced charges and jail time.

Now for one more campaign that cannot be ended before it accomplishes its goal: Boycott Guinness. While I know other brothers are writing about the campaign, I want to loan my voice to it. After the disgraceful way that Guinness withdrew their support of the N.Y.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the night of March 16th, after everything was in place for them to make a profit, I stopped drinking Guinness and the related products. It is a sacrifice, since I have a great fondness for the Black, but our defense of the Faith is more important. Please encourage all your friends and family to join the boycott of Guinness and Diageo products (you can see their other products at http://www.diageo.com) as well as Sam Adams Beers. Please write to Diageo in order to let them know you are boycotting, as this will give them an idea of why their product is not moving.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who attended and supported the Suffolk County Ball on April 27th. Being named Hibernian of the Year was a great honor, and I was definitely touched by the presence of Hibernians form all over. Thank You.

In Christ and in our motto,

Fr. Henry W. Reid

State Chaplain.

Chaplain’s Message – Fr. Henry Reid

We have finished with another State Convention and now we settle in for the continuing work of the Order. I want to thank our past State President, Mike McNabb, for having me as State Chaplain for the last two years, and also thank our new State President, Jim Burke, for asking me to remain in this position.

While we were in Saratoga for the Convention, the By-Law committee worked on and put forth for vote a proposed change, which I had put forward, which was passed without objection. While everyone will be able to read the By-Law for themselves, hopefully in this edition of the E.S. Hibernian, I should mention one of the reasons why it was put forward. Back in February, it was brought to my attention that one of the colleges on Long Island, which had been founded by a religious order and which most people believe to be a Catholic institution, hosted Planned Parenthood on campus. This is symptomatic of the erosion of the Church’s teachings that have pervaded institutions that are supposed to be Catholic, especially colleges and universities. There is a reason why the Church established educational institutions, rather than relying solely on secular institutions. When Bishop John Hughes established Fordham University, he was clear on the reasons for doing so: “What was our object, dearly beloved brethren, in this undertaking? It was that the Catholic parents of this diocese and elsewhere, who could afford it, should have an opportunity of educating their sons with safety to their faith and morals, and yet so as to qualify them to take an honorable part in the more elevated walks of public and social life.” Universities which have their foundations in the Catholic Church are among the best in the world, but those that have sacrificed Catholic teachings, those that have separated themselves from Communion with the Church, should not benefit from our support.

The Catholic Church is under attack from many directions, from our traditional detractors who warp history and logic to suit their own agenda, bigots who unleash hatred, just as their ancestors of intolerance have done for centuries; as well as from more modern sources, who disguise their hatred of the Faith as intellectualism, satire or political correctness. Why would we support any persons or organization which seeks to undermine the principles that the AOH holds sacred?

At the Convention, the Pro-Life committee met and discussed the defeat of Governor Cuomo’s Abortion Expansion Bill, which would have allowed for abortions through the third trimester. Had it passed, this would have legalized the murders of babies which Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of in Philadelphia; it is necessary to be aware of, and oppose, legislation that would expand abortions in the state. After discussing what else could be done to educate our own members and the general public on Right to Life issues, it was decided to order models of 10-12 week fetuses, which have been ordered and will be made available to all State Divisions through our new Pro-Life Chair, Brian Clancy.

At this time, I would like to ask everyone to remember our brother John Hennessy in your prayers, as our former State President and Calendar Chairman had a stroke, and has passed to his eternal reward. Please remember him and his wife Margaret in your prayers.

I hope everyone enjoys the last days of summer, wrapping up feis and festivals, and I look forward to seeing many of you in Monroe on November 2nd.

In Christ and our motto,

Fr. Henry W. Reid