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

Father Patrick Sullivan, C.S.C., to receive JFK Award

The Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians have just announced that they will jointly present the prestigious John F. Kennedy Memorial Award to Father Patrick Sullivan at their upcoming National Convention scheduled for this July in Verona, New York. Father Pat is a nationally recognized leader in the Labor-Management field. In his teaching, administrative and consultancy roles, he has successfully sought to bring a Gospel perspective to the promotion of justice on the work-front.

“Members of the AOH and LAOH National Boards, as well as State Presidents of both organizations, selected him based on nominations received from throughout the U.S.,” said Brendan Moore, JFK Award Chairman/AOH National Vice President. “It’s a joint award given to a Roman Catholic of Irish birth or descent, outstanding in his or her field of endeavor.”

Maureen Shelton, JFK Vice Chair/LAOH National Vice President added, “The award is one of the highest honors the AOH and LAOH bestow, and only 31 have been awarded since its inception in 1966.”

Past recipients have included Colonel James McDevitt, USAF, Astronaut of Gemini IV and Apollo IX; Actor Pat O’Brien; Mayors Richard J. Daley of Chicago and Raymond L. Flynn of Boston; His Eminence John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York; and Nobel Prize winner John Hume, among other prominent Irish and Irish-American dignitaries.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Father Pat attended Catholic elementary and secondary schools before entering the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 15, 1948. Ordained a Holy Cross priest on June 8, 1956, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, Massachusetts, he has earned academic degrees from The University of Notre Dame, Fordham University and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Father Sullivan has held the rank of Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at The Research Institute, as well as Chairman of the Sociology Department while at Kings College. He has been Associate Director of The Higgins Labor Research Center, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Sociology at his alma mater, The University of Notre Dame. In addition, Father Pat has served as Director of Personnel and Planning for the Holy Cross Fathers, Executive Coordinator of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators, and Director of Urban Affairs at The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Having served as AOH National Chaplain from 2002 through 2006 and again from 2008 to 2009, Father Pat re-located to Boston to assume the role of Executive Secretary and Chaplain of the Labor Guild of the Archdiocese of Boston. The Guild is an ecumenical organization sponsored by the Archdiocese and composed of a membership of more than 1,300 labor relations arbitrators and educators, as well as corporation and union leaders who advocate healthy and productive employee relations.

A noted labor rights scholar and practitioner, Father Sullivan is also a member of the Steering Committee of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, is active locally in labor management issues, and is a former faculty member and associate director of the Higgins Labor Research Center at the University of Notre Dame.

Father Sullivan has authored several books on the Catholic Church and Labor-Management relations, including U.S. Catholic Institutions and Labor Unions, 1960-1980, Blue Collar-Roman Collar-White Collar: U.S. Catholic Involvement in Labor Management, and Catholic Social Teaching on Labor-Management Issues: Vatican & International Hierarchies. He plans to soon publish Labor Priests from 1900 to the 1960s, the first of three books on the subject of labor priests.

Ned McGinley, AOH Past National President, Kings College colleague and close personal friend, has commented: “Not surprisingly, Father Pat’s membership and ministry among his fellow Hibernians enabled him to counsel, provide direction, and serve as a moral compass throughout the Order. He truly promoted the ideals of the AOH, not only within the United States, but on the streets of Belfast and Derry as well. He has enriched us with his faith, his serenity, and his ever-present humor.”

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Barry Memorial Awaits Decision

Clay model of the Barry Memorial by the sculptor Ron Tunison.

At the past national convention in New Orleans, the AOH unanimously endorsed the effort to build a memorial to Irish-born, first Flag Officer of the United States Navy, Commodore John Barry.  In August of 2008, led by Washington DC State Historian Jack O’Brien, a proposal was submitted to erect a memorial to Commodore John Barry on the grounds of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.  A significant amount of time and effort was put into preparing the proposal: numerous meetings with the Academy staff, research on other memorials for design ideas, discussions with artists and memorial building companies, plan writes and rewrites, and countless hours behind a table at Irish events throughout the mid-Atlantic area to obtain support for the proposal. Initially, the concept conceived by Jack O’Brien and very professionally proposed by him and his team was turned down by the Naval Academy.  In a letter from the Superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Admiral J.L. Fowler (stamped Jan 9, 2009), he informed Jack that the proposal would not be appropriate for the Academy grounds.  He did so without explanation.

Not deterred in the least and not willing to take “no” for an answer, Brother O’Brien got right back in the game and requested a way to appeal the decision.  Jack has spent the last year resubmitting the proposal to the Academy and at the same time soliciting support from many sources including numerous retired Admiralty and a list of senators and congressman that is growing so fast he might just get a congressional mandate directing the Academy to build it.  He has garnered support Governor O’Mally of Maryland, from the Philadelphia Council of the Navy League of the United States, The President of Fordham University, the Board of Erin and many others. Frank Duggan, a lobbyist for more than 30 years and a long time Commodore John Barry Division member in DC recently thanked and congratulated Jack, for all the support you have garnered for this memorial. I have watched your progress with admiration.  You and your team have touched all the bases that need to be approached for support and have made an incredibly strong case after being initially refused by the Naval Academy. We still have more to do, but you have done an outstanding job and we are all grateful.

The planned memorial will be fabricated in granite and will be eight feet high and ten feet in width. On the front of the memorial will be a thirty-inch circular bronze relief of Commodore John Barry.  Below it will be a forty by twenty-six inch enlarged duplicate copy (in bronze) of Barry’s naval commission “Number One”, adorned with the signature of George Washington.  This was the first naval commission of an officer in our nation’s history under the Constitution.  On the back of the memorial will be a circular relief of thirty inches of the Navy’s first seal.  Below it will be a bronze plaque, giving the naval career highlights of Commodore John Barry.  Codori Memorials of Gettysburg Pennsylvania is the general contractor and will use Vermont marble.  The sculptor is Ron Tunison of Cairo, New York.  Both of these contractors have worked together in the past to create the Irish Brigade Monument at Bloody Lane on Antietam National Battlefield.

In a recent showing of significant support from Members of Congress a letter was sent to Vice Admiral Folwer endorsing the AOH’s efforts to build the memorial.  The co-signers of the letter included the Co-Chairs of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs Elliot Engle (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) as well as the Chair of the Friends of Ireland Richard Neal (D-MA). The letter noted that they all had co-sponsored the legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush, hailing Barry’s invaluable naval contributions and recognizing Barry as the first flag officer of the United States Navy.  The letter stated that they strongly support the efforts of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) to erect a memorial to Commodore John Barry on the public grounds of the United States Naval Academy.  We trust that their appeal will receive the favorable consideration it deserves.

One new factor in the decision process at the Academy is the fact that a new Superintendent was just appointed to replace Vice Admiral Fowler.  Rear Admiral Michael H. Miller is currently awaiting Senate confirmation before assuming the post.  Once a positive decision has been made by the Academy the process of raising significant donations will begin in earnest.  For more information please contact Jack O’Brien at 301-336-5167.

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