President Tim McSweeney Installed as Albany Grand Marshal

TimGMNY State President Tim McSweeney was installed as the 2016 Grand Marshal of the 66th Annual Albany St. Patrick’s Parade at a banquet held in his honor on Saturday, February 20, 2016.  The banquet was hosted by the members of Fr. Henry Tansey, Division 5 in their Albany hall and attended by members of the many organizations comprising the parade committee.  Also in attendance were numerous past grand marshals who came out to honor Grand Marshal Tim McSweeney on his day. Tim was joined by members of the McSweeney clan including his wife, Kala and daughter Isabella who performed an Irish step dance to honor her proud father.  Tim’s sisters Maura and Eileen and brother, Daniel were on hand for the festivities and reminisced with stories about “growing up with Timmy.”

*** View the event photo album here ***

Joining President McSweeney in the honors as his aides were Brother Hibernians, Ciaran Geraghty, NYAOH FFAI Chairman who attended with his wife Jennifer and his daughter and Paul Collins, Parade Committee Legal Counsel and forty-year member of Division 5 who was seated at a table surrounded by family and friends.  More than 180 Albany area Irish came out for the evening filled with music, food, dancing and merriment. Contingents from the state board, county and divisions from across the state rounded out the crowd. Acting as Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Brother Hibernian Liam McNabb, NY AOH Political Education Chair,  whose commentary was both touching, and at times, comical with comments on Tim McSweeney’s singing and dancing abilities.

The evening included performances by the Farrell School of Irish Dance and music by the Tommy Flynn Band.  Tim was further honored with a City Council of Albany proclamation proclaiming February 20, 2016 as Grand Marshal Tim “Timmy” McSweeney Day.

The Albany St. Patrick’s Parade is scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 12, 2016.

Brother James Kelly Presented with AOH National Life Membership

Brother James Kelly, Past President of Division 1, Monroe NY, Past President Orange County Board and Past State District 8 Director was presented with the AOH National Life Membership at the Orange County Board Meeting held on December 6, 2015. The honor was bestowed by New York AOH State President, Tim McSweeney surrounded by Brother Kelly’s fellow Orange County Hibernians.

Brother Kelly, who is well known in Irish circles in the Hudson Valley, is an avid historian who prides himself in his knowledge of Irish American Medal of Honor winners. In 1992, Brother Kelly was selected to be the Mid Hudson St. Patrick’s Parade Grand Marshal.  He was also the founding coordinator of the Seamus Comiskey Memorial Shamrock Degree Team which serves the Mid Hudson Valley AOH community.  Congratulations Brother Kelly on your well deserved honor!

Bother Jim Kelly Receiving Life Membership

Presenting the award are (left) George Anderson, President of Division 1 Monroe, NY State President Tim McSweeney, Brother James Kelly, Thomas Flynn, Vice President of Division 1,  and Orange County AOH Board President Tom McDonald.

The Hibernian Catechism by Father Henry Reid

Father Henry Reid

Father Henry Reid, NY AOH State Chaplain, has created an Irish-English Language Hibernian Catechism to view online and to download and print in a convenient booklet format.  Included in the publication are many of our daily prayers, the US and Irish national anthems, a primer on our Catholic Faith and a section on important dates in Irish history.

Read the Hibernian Catechism online here.

Download the Hibernian Catechism (print version) here.

Archbishop Hughes Memorial Dedication

Archbishop John HughesThe Archbishop Hughes Memorial will be unveiled on Sunday, November 22, 2015 by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo/Little Italy downtown Manhattan in the area formerly known as the Five Points. It is fitting that there will finally be a lasting tribute to the legendary Archbishop John Hughes also known as “Dagger John”, a native of Tyrone, Ireland.   It is hard to believe, the unveiling of the Archbishop Hughes Memorial and the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is almost upon us. The monument was erected this past Saturday and is amazing. The contributions from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and The Knights of Columbus have been strong and made this possible. We want to make sure you have the opportunity to celebrate this event. There are many events planned over the entire weekend, starting with a reception Thursday night (11/19) at the Fighting 69th Armory, all the way up to the Sunday Vespers and memorial unveiling by Cardinal Dolan (11/22).  Click  here for a promotional piece on the unveiling of the monument and the final event in the 6 year celebration of the 200th Anniversary of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.  Click here for the Sunday 11/22 agenda and click here for a list of events throughout the weekend celebration. There are no tickets and cost for the Sunday Vespers event. It will be general seating on a first come basis. There will be overflow seating in the Youth Center.

Please contact Thomas Beirne, District 4 Director, NY State Board AOH with any questions and to RSVP for any of the weekend events.

Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral

Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral

Father John Murphy of Boolavogue Division 9 Runs Successful Food Drive

Division 9 Donation to Food Kitchen

Father John Murphy of Boolavogue, Division 9 of Suffolk County completed a very successful food drive, collecting 3 truckloads of all types of food such as rice, oatmeal, peanut butter, jelly, tuna fish, apple juice, boxed milk, pasta, sauce and sundries including shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby wipes and baby shampoo which they donated to the Open Cupboard Food Pantry at Infant Jesus Church in Port Jefferson, NY.

President Walter Butler reports that his division was the 2015 recipient of the NYS AOH Membership Award which recognizes the NYS division with the greatest increase in membership.  Division 9 has won the award four times.

Division Officers and Trophy

Keep St. Patrick in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Add your voice and be heard…
Sign the petition by clicking hereSt Patrick

 Keep the Spirit of St. Patrick and Democracy in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

For over two centuries, the Irish American community of New York has proudly celebrated their Patron Saint Patrick, their ancestral Homeland of Ireland, their faith and American patriotism by marching annually on the Feast of St. Patrick. Since 1992, the Parade has been operated .by St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Inc., a corporation whose sole purpose is to conduct in cooperation with the broader Irish American community a parade in honor of St. Patrick, the principles of the Roman Catholic Church and the culture and tradition of the Irish and Irish American people. Many of us had believed that the inclusion of an LGBT group in last year’s parade led by his Eminence Cardinal Dolan as Grand Marshal signaled an end to past. controversies and would allow the parade to once again focus on all that is right and important about St. Patrick’s Day and the parade.

Alas, it seems the Board has forgotten that the Affiliated Organizations are the backbone of the parade; some of them have been marching in the parade. For over a century and many of their members for generations. The Board of Directors continually marginalized the Affiliated Organizations, which pay annual dues, support fundraising events and who, per the bylaws, and are supposed to have a democratic voice in the parade.

We are deeply concerned with an agenda published by St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc. Chairman Dr. John Lahey for a meeting to be held on 10/29 concerning revisions to the corporation’s bylaws. Among the agenda items are:

  • Removal of the section which states “The Parade will be held in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and the Patron Saint of Ireland.”
  • The elimination of the election, by democratic process, of the officers of the parade committee by the affiliated organizations; depriving the affiliated organizations of any voice in the parade.
  • The creation of a new executive committee, replacing the elected Parade Committee, answerable only to Dr. Lahey and the Board to administer the parade.
  • The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee be of Irish descent
  • The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee be Roman Catholic.

In proposing these changes, Dr. Lahey highlights the fact that recent appointments to the Board were made contrary to the current bylaws and are thus null and void as well as any board decisions made since, specifically the appointment of persons who are employees, of Quinnipiac. University and report to Dr. Lahey as subordinates in his role as president of that University.

Dr. Lahey and the Board cite the need for inclusion in the parade yet the creation of special “executive committees” and the disenfranchisement of organizations that have marched and supported the parade for decades contradict those sentiments. They wish to remove the only purpose and meaning of the parade and to place it totally under the control of a small ruling body.

We request that the proposed executive board meeting and all changes to the bylaws of the parade be suspended and that a meeting of the between the Board, Committee, and Affiliated Organizations be convened as soon as possible. Our ancestors came to this country to escape the rule by elites and this meeting is more than appropriate and long overdue.

Add your voice before October 29th and be heard…

Click Here to Sign the Petition

The 2015 Freedom For All Ireland Night


The Albany LAOH & AOH cordially invite members and guests to attend the 2015 Freedom For All Ireland Night on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 6:30pm, Hibernian Hall, 375 Ontario St., Albany, NY 12208.

Sean PenderGuest of Honor and Recipient of the 2015 Fr. Murphy Award will be Sean Pender, Past National Director FFAI and AOH National Board Director , NJ-DE-MD.

Music by Kilrush.  Ticket price is $25.00 per person.  Table reservations are required.  The evening festivities will include raffles, food and prizes.

For reservations and information, contact: Dolores Desch at or Ray McDermott at 518-421-9945 or


President’s Message – June 2013

The clean up and rebuilding from Sandy are still under-way. There are still a number of Sister and Brother Hibernians affected by this. Any way you can help will still be greatly appreciated. Brother John Manning has raffle tickets as a fundraiser for this cause.

Now that the parade season is behind us we start to focus on our State Convention. I ask all delegates to send in their con-vention registrations and package information as soon as possible. The two main ho-tels are sold out and the com-mittee is expecting dinner re-quests to start arriving. A re-minder, seating will be limited at some functions, so please
get your paper work in early. The committee is doing a great job and we are looking forward to an outstanding convention.

With a number of events still on the calendar I look forward to visiting many more Divi-sions over the next couple of months.

Semi-Annual Meeting Auburn, NY

To: All National, State, County, Division Officers and Brother Hibernians

From: Timothy McSweeney AOH/NYS Secretary

Re: Semi- Annual New York State Board Meeting

Date: September 25,2012

The Semi- Annual New York State Board Meeting Mandated by Article II, Section 3 of the AOH/NYS By-Laws will Convene As Follows:

Date:  Saturday November 3, 2012

Time:  10:30am

Place: Auburn AOH Hall – 79 Van Anden St . Auburn N.Y. 13021

The Agenda for the meeting will be as follows:

Officers Reports

Committee Reports

Special Committee Reports

Old Business

New Business

Good of the Order of the order

All Officers must provide 80 copies of their report to file for expenses


Maj. Gen. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, aimed at capturing the rebel capitol at Richmond, was beaten back after the Seven Days Battles 150 years ago in June, 1862.  Union forces, including the partial Irish Brigade, made it back to relative safety, but suffered almost 16,000 casualties during a strategic retreat.  Lee’s army had taken the offensive, but lost close to 20,000.  Convinced that McClellan no longer posed a threat to Richmond, Lee moved his army into northern Virginia and headed for Washington via Maryland.

Many Irish immigrants had signed on to build America’s railroads, so it was no surprise to find names like Cunningham, Hammil, Maher, and Doyle among those who had built the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in northern Virginia which now stood right in the path of Lee’s advancing army.  These and other Irish workers had built a small town around one of the railroad’s stations and the community became known as Fairfax Station.  One of the first projects of the Fairfax Station Irish was the erection of a Catholic church.  They labored in their off-hours to put up a small frame building in Sept, 1858 and pooled their money to buy a bell.  The new St. Mary of the Sorrows Church at Fairfax Station had barely opened its doors when the Civil War began.  Many of the Fairfax Station Irish joined the totally Irish Regiments that had been formed in the Confederate Army such as the First Virginia Regiment which became The Emmet Guard and the 27th Virginia Infantry which was called The Virginia Hibernians.

The little town of Fairfax Station was strategically located between the important railroad station and a main road to Washington, DC.  The Union Army had taken the railroad depot at Alexandria in order to protect the Capitol and southern forces occupied the station at Manassas Junction on the other side of Fairfax Station making the area the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.  In July, 1862, General Lee sent his best commanders, Generals Stonewall Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart and James Longstreet up through Virginia to intercept the Union Army of General Pope who was en route to join forces with the army of General McClellan that was then moving back toward Washington after the Seven Days Battles.  Lee and his forces met the Union Army on August 30 and fought what came to be known as the Second Battle of Manassas or, as the Union referred to it – Second Bull Run.  Three days of fierce fighting left 1,744 Union dead and another 8,452 wounded.  Unlike the calamitous retreat at the First Bull Run a year earlier, the Union withdrawal was orderly and the Confederates, weary from battle and low on ammunition, broke off and did not pursue them.  Although Lee had won the battle, he had not achieved his objective of destroying the Union army and the Union forces had successfully stopped an invasion of the north.

During the battle, two gallant Union officers were lost, Major Generals Kearney and Stephens.  Major General Philip Kearney had been a hero of the Mexican War where he fought at the side of General Robert E. Lee.  When Lee heard that his former comrade had fallen, he ordered both bodies returned to the Union camp.  Under a flag of truce, amid the roar of artillery and the thunder of an approaching storm, the bodies of Kearney and Stephens were carried by Confederate Honor Guard to a tent at a makeshift field hospital which had been set up beside the little Irish church of St. Mary of the Sorrows.

Hundreds of wounded were treated on the high ground around St. Mary’s.  A terrible storm made the scene one of confusion as wounded men lay dying in the mud waiting for a doctor to reach them.  It was to this scene that a woman from Washington, DC came to offer her help.  She had spent the first year of the war tending wounded in Washington, and hearing of the heavy fighting, made her way to Fairfax Station.  With two assistants, she set up an operating room inside the little Church and assisted the surgeons in their tedious tasks.  She moved tirelessly among the wounded, cleansing wounds, writing letters, and praying with them until a doctor was available.  While serving the many wounded in these deplorable conditions, she conceived a plan for a civilian organization that could act quickly with proper medical supplies and trained staff in any emergency – in peacetime or in war.

A final Confederate raid forced the evacuation of the wounded amid terribly unsanitary conditions, and the brave little lady from Washington was among the last to leave.  The advancing Confederate troops found the station and most of the town destroyed by fire, but as if by a miracle, the little Church was barely touched.  Only a few of its pews had been used by the Union Army for firewood.  Years later, when President Grant heard of this, he ordered $765. in war damages to have them replaced, for the Church of St. Mary’s had earned a special significance in American history.  It was there that the heroic little lady from Washington, DC had conceived the idea for a noble organization.  The lady was the angel of the battlefield, Clara Barton, and the organization was the American Red Cross. . . and the little Irish Church of St. Mary’s where it all started is still in use to this day, but as a national shrine.