Biking For Charity

By Larry Squires

Beginning on May 20th, 2011, my good friend, Paul Lockard, and I, both members of Allegheny County, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Div. 17 in Monroeville, PA, embarked upon a great 10 day adventure beginning with a short bicycle ride of ten miles to the Megabus stop in downtown Pittsburgh.  Just before the 11:00 p.m. departure, we met another brother from Division 17, Bill O’Neill, as well as LAOH State President, Colleen Bower, and past President, Sarah Mains, for an eight hour bus trip to New York City.  For the record, the Megabus staff in Pittsburgh was very accommodating with respect to loading our bicycles into the bus’s cargo bay.  Take note that this isn’t always the case.

On Saturday morning, we left the bus and made way to the AOH 175th Anniversary Mass at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in the heart of New York City, situated between Mulberry and Mott Streets at the intersection of Prince Street.  The Mass began at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning May, 21st, and was incredibly beautiful with Hibernians from across the United States in attendance, with heavenly music ministry provided by the New York State Hibernian Festival Singers.  A stirring homily was delivered by co-celebrant, our National AOH Chaplain, Fr. Thomas O’Donnell.  After Mass, we were treated to a fabulous reception in the Basilica’s beautiful enclosed courtyard, complete with food, refreshments, a live band, and vendor kiosks offering beautiful memorabilia of the event.

On Saturday evening, Paul and I, along with Pennsylvania State AOH President, Denny Donnelly, took the subway to St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 5th Avenue and 51st Street.  We toured this magnificent church for ninety minutes and barely scratched the surface of this magnificent church structure.

On Sunday morning, Fr. O’Donnell celebrated Mass at our hotel, for a small group of Hibernians with early travel plans.  While the remaining Hibernians traveled to ground zero for a Mass commemorating the Great Hunger, Paul and I got on our bicycles and made way for Pier 11, at the foot of Wall Street on the East River.  There we boarded the Seastreak Ferry to Atlantic Highlands, NJ, where we began our three day shoreline ride to Ocean City, MD.  Sunday’s weather was a little chilly, being dark overcast, fifty-seven degrees and drizzly in a few spots, along with a strong headwind from the South that made pedaling a little difficult, but not enough to keep us from our sixty-nine mile destination of Manahawkin, NJ.  However, after leaving the shoreline at Toms River, NJ, we were traveling New Jersey Route 9, a marked bicycle route, but were unaware that Route 9 ran along the same bridge as the Garden State parkway, as it actually crossed Toms River.

Consequently, we found ourselves merging into the right lane of the New Jersey Garden State Parkway, with absolutely no shoulder to ride, as it had obviously been sacrificed for the third lane.  For two miles, Paul and I pedaled as fast as we could, hoping the next exit was near, before we were discovered by the New Jersey State Police, or succumbed to an encounter with traffic whizzing by, which was only inches away from our left side.  Thanks to our veteran riding skills, but mostly the prayers of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, who were praying for us, we safely made it across the bridge and back onto the safety of the Route 9 bicycle route into Manahawkin, NJ.  Paul and I were also impressed with the courteous fashion the New Jersey drivers handled the situation.  At one point, a driver in a white Subaru actually blocked the exit ramp for us, so we could safely exit the interstate.  Combined with the nine miles from Friday, and a few on Saturday, we recorded a total of 81.64 miles at our terminus in Manahawkin on Sunday night, just before 8:00 p.m.

On Monday, we decided to re-check Route 9 to Atlantic City, NJ, and did indeed find another segment shared with the Garden State Parkway and decided to exercise the option of taking a New Jersey Transit bus from Manahawkin to Atlantic City.  The $6.00 bus trip cut about 30 miles out of the ride; however, we would have been riding through harsh thunderstorms, and the next bridge we were avoiding turned out to be under construction, with only one narrow lane in each direction, sandwiched between New Jersey barriers, making it virtually impossible, as well as illegal, to travel by bicycle.  For the record, the New Jersey Transit buses are very bicycle friendly, with many being fitted with bike racks on the front bumper, and plenty of cargo bay if not.  Once underway by bicycle in Atlantic City, we had a beautiful change in weather, as the skies cleared and temperatures made it to the low eighties.  At our terminus on Monday, the Aloha Motel in North Wildwood, NJ, we recorded 38.34 miles, at about 7:00 p.m.  We then took in some legendary hospitality at the Angelsea Tavern, Flip Flopz, and Westy’s Irish Pub.

Tuesday morning, we saddled up and took off for the Cape May Lewes Delaware Ferry and loaded our bikes into the vehicle bay, before embarking on the ninety minute trip across the Delaware Bay.  With sunny skies and temperatures in the low nineties in Lewes, Delaware, this was really starting to feel like a vacation.  As we arrived in Ocean City, MD, around 7:00 p.m., we recorded 45.35 miles.

We took Wednesday off, as a buffer day, just in case we needed to shuffle our schedule, due to inclement weather, or other unforeseen circumstances.  However, we were right on schedule, so we just enjoyed a day off at the beach.

Seaford, Delaware was the terminus for Thursday’s ride inland, as we began our three day ride to Washington, DC.  This was a relatively uneventful ride, but we were treated to beautiful landscapes, as we rode through the Delmarva Peninsula’s farm country.  At the end of the day, we recorded 43.60 miles, at about 3:00 p.m..

Friday morning, we rode 50.63 miles to Kent Narrows, MD, which is just on the East end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Kent Narrows is a favorite spot for boaters and fishermen and boasts several great waterside pubs and restaurants offering fresh caught seafood.

We began Saturday morning with a call to Kent Narrows Taxi Company, as bicycles are not permitted on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  The driver, an avid Raven’s fan, was very informative and transported many cyclists across the bridge, and after chiding us for being Steeler’s fans, he dropped us right on the marked bicycle route that goes to Annapolis, MD and on to Washington, DC.  Before parting ways, we rhetorically asked the driver how many Super Bowls the Ravens had won, and he drove away grumbling something under his breath.  With respect to bicycle riding, this was easily the most scenic and challenging part of the trip.  However, even with 30+ pounds of cargo, we easily navigated the rolling hills of the Eastern Maryland countryside for the brief 37.46 miles, before connecting with the DC Metro in New Carrolton, MD.  As it turned out, the DC Metro was out of service for track maintenance, one stop past New Carrolton, so we were transferred to a bike rack equipped DC Metro shuttle bus that took us within blocks of the U.S. Capital Building, which was very close to our hotel.  As we checked into the hotel, around 3:30 p.m., we drew a few double takes, as the Washington Court Hotel clientele were obviously not used to guests checking in with their bikes.  As always, the hospitality and food at Dubliners, conveniently around the corner, was excellent on Saturday night.

On Sunday, we took the DC Metro to Catholic University of America, for 9:00 a.m. Mass at the Nation Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, before returning to the Washington Court Hotel and checking out.  Upon checkout, we rode our bikes to the nearby pickup spot for Megabus, as it had been relocated, since our last Megabus trip to DC in December, when we spent the weekend before Christmas touring DC with our wives.  Having almost three hours to kill, before departure time, we decided to ride back to the mall in DC and see what was going on.  As we arrived at Constitution Avenue and Fourth Street, we were stopped by a police blockade, as the “Thunder in DC” motorcycle ride had just gotten underway at 12:00 Noon.  We soon found out that there were about 250,000 motorcycle riding participants who would circle the Mall until 4:00 p.m. raising awareness for POW’s, mainly from the Vietnam War.  After watching the spectacle till about 1:30 p.m., we made our way back to the Megabus stop, to get a place in line.  This is where we found out not all Megabus staff are the same.  The supervisor came over and snapped off Megabus regulations prohibiting bicycles on Megabus, unless disassembled and packaged for shipping.  We asked if he had packing materials, and replied no.  So we related our positive experience in Pittsburgh, and that we were raising money for the Veterans Wheelchair Games and the Sisters of Charity, and he started rubbing his chin.  Here’s where all your prayers come in.  After a brief reconsideration, he said ok, and told us we could have the whole center cargo bay for our bikes, and we didn’t even have to remove the wheels.  So once on our way back to Pittsburgh, we made arrangements with my wife Kathy to pick us up in downtown Pittsburgh, so that we could save time to prepare for work on Monday.

Paul and I thank you for your prayers and support, and especially for your very generous donations to the VA Wheelchair Games and the retired Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.  May God richly bless you and your families.



175th Anniversary Mass Homily

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words from the sonnet “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus are uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty and are inscribed on a plaque at the base of the statue.  Since 1886 the lamp of Lady Liberty has been greeting thousands of immigrants who have come to the United States to seek freedom as part of their American Dream.

However, here in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Basilica, the Sanctuary Lamp representing  the Eucharistic presence of Christ among us, has been welcoming pilgrims and immigrants yearning to be free for some two hundred years and this magnificent church has been the refuge for the tired and the poor of every language, nation  and culture. St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is a church of the people. This church nurtured the Irish, Germans, French, and Italian communities as they arrived in this new world.  This magnificent church was the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York until 1879 when the new Cathedral on 50th St. and Fifth Avenue was dedicated.  This Basilica was the first church in America named for our patron, St. Patrick.

On December 5th 2010 Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral officially became a basilica of the Catholic Church by order of Pope Benedict. The basilica designation means that the Pope recognize it as a church of special spiritual, historical and architectural significance, and as his own parish church in New York.

Churches are built to remind us who we truly are. They stand across our landscape as pointers to the truth that life is best lived in the conscious presence of a loving God. They help us, in the business of our lives, to retain our focus on God and to learn that God never takes his loving focus away from us. We gather in church to be reminded and strengthened in our most profound identity. As St Paul tells us in 1 Cor. ‘You belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God’.   This is the saving truth of who we really are and where our well-being is to be found. But we come to church not simply to pray, and to be heard, but also to be built into something new. Here we are in the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians ‘being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit’.   We are never visitors in a church. We are not even its owners. But we are part of what it is, what it stands for: its bricks and mortar in our flesh, its beauty and form in our virtue, its praise and liturgy in our lives.

We gather here today, after two hundred years of worship on this site to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and we are here not just to give thanks for what we know God has done for us in the past, but also and especially to give thanks for the new life God gives us now in the present, and which we know God offers us from this moment, throughout our lives and in generations to come. The God we worship through Jesus Christ is the timeless and eternal God whose one unchanging gift is the gift of constantly changing and growing new life as we move ever closer to God in lives of love and service to God and one another.

In his First Letter St. Peter tells us: “Come and let yourselves be built, as living stones, into a spiritual temple; become a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”  All of us gathered here today are that new temple, the community of believers, and the house of prayer for all people. We are built up by faith, as living stones, into the new temple. We are the temple in which God dwells, and where God and humankind are to be reconciled. We are the living stones of the new temple and in the Eucharist we share in Christ’s offering of himself to God on our behalf and through our lives in the world we are to share what we have received from him by living sacrificially among our neighbors.

The 175 year history of the Ancient Order of Hibernians is intimately connected to the history of Old St. Patrick’s Basilica. If it were not for the Irish and the Ancient Order of Hibernians the other historical events of this church may not have been possible. In the 1830’s there was a great deal of anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant sentiment. The need to defend the Cathedral against mob violence was not uncommon. The “Know Nothing Party” organized Protestants to march against the Cathedral. Mobs and vigilante groups shouting anti-Catholic epitaphs threatened the Cathedral and vowed to burn the Cathedral to the ground. At this point Archbishop Hughes enlisted the Irish and in particular the Ancient Order of Hibernians to surround the walls of the Cathedral and safeguard the church. At this time Archbishop Hughes wrote to the New York Mayor and told him: “Should one Catholic come to harm, or should one business be molested, we shall turn this city into a second Moscow.”   Although the AOH was able to save the Cathedral, they were not able to prevent the anti-papist mob who stoned the beautiful stained glass windows of both the church and the Bishop’s residence.  For 175 years the Ancient Order of Hibernians has continued to defend the church and its priests during times of both turbulence and peace.

Just as all of us who make up the Body of Christ give life to the bricks, stone, wood and steel of a church, likewise, the Order of Hibernians is more than just the AOH logo on a division building or the AOH emblem on the top of stationery. Just as we are the living and breathing members of the Church so we must give life to our Hibernian virtues of Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity. As members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians when we perform the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in our everyday lives, we are Christ to others.

We are Christ when we protect the dignity of human life from the first moment of conception until the time when our heavenly Father summons us to the Eternal Kingdom. We are Christ to the world when we provide clothing for the homeless, provide meals for the hungry, and work at food banks so that poor families may have some nourishing meals. We are Christ when we support the various Hibernian Charities not only by our material donations but the gift of ourselves.  We are Christ when we fight for fair immigration laws not only for the Irish immigrants but for every immigrant who legally wishes to pursue freedom and the American dream. We are Christ when we support seminarians and novices through project St. Patrick and enable these men and women to pursue their vocations. We are Christ when we provide scholarship funds for deserving students who wish to pursue their academic dreams. We are Christ when we continue to fight for a free and independent Ireland so that perhaps by the centennial of the Easter Rising in 2016 we will have a united free and independent Ireland.

So let us remember that what we come here today to celebrate is not some nostalgic snap shot of the past “good old days,” but to give thanks to God for the new life that Christ gives to us now here in the present.

As Hibernians we are alive, we are grateful for the glorious years of our past, but we must continue to be active in the present and be dynamically committed to the future because years from now we need future Hibernians to look back on us with the same awe with which we have looked back at 175 years of faithful and committed people. Thanks be to God for our parents, grandparents and great grandparents for preserving and bringing our Catholic faith from the Emerald Isle. Thanks be to God for the United States for making possible to practice our Catholic faith in freedom, and thanks be to all of you my Hibernian Brothers and Sisters for being part of this history.

During the next five years may all of us work and pray especially for the unification of Ireland by 2016. In the year 2036 the Ancient Order of Hibernians will gather once again to celebrate the 200 years of its founding, with God’s help may that bicentennial celebration also include the 20th Anniversary of a United Ireland where there is One Island, One Nation with Freedom and Justice for all.



Hibernians To Celebrate 175th Anniversary at Basilica of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral

At a February 23rd meeting at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, chaired by General Chairman Past National President Ed Wallace with co-chair Tom Beirne, NY County President, Msgr. Sakano, National President Seamus Boyle and many 175th committee members, final plans were made for the parade, Mass and reception on May 21st, 2011 commemorating the 175th anniversary of the AOH.

This site and date in May 2011 were chosen to recognize the founding of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America at nearby St. James Church (now closed) 175 years ago on May 4, 1836 by a ‘handful of Irishmen.” A letter dated 5/4/1836 “From the Brethren in Ireland and Great Britain to the Brethren in New York.” read:

“Brothers, greeting: Be it known to you and to all it may concern that we send to our few brothers in New York full instructions with our authority to establish branches of our society in America.” The letter goes on to explain qualifications for membership, use of the motto Friendship, Unity and true Christian Charity, and what is expected of the new branches and its members.

It was at Old St. Patrick’s that the call went out to the Hibernian brotherhood by Archbishop John “Dagger” Hughes to save the church from the Know Nothings in the mid 1800’s when those bigots were burning catholic churches. The AOH surrounded and saved the Cathedral and later built the wall around it.

To note the founding of our Order, Hibernian members wearing sashes, and guests are asked to assemble on Mulberry Street near Precious Blood Church just north of Canal St. at at 9:00 am on May 21, 2011. The parade will step off at 9:30 am and go north on Mulberry St. to Prince St., right on Prince St., left on Mott St. to the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. This route retraces a similar route, depicted in the famous lithograph, of the 69th Regiment in April 1861 on their way to the Civil War parading to St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral and past the then AOH headquarters at 41 Prince Street. The 175th parade will be led by AOH color guard, clergy, AOH National Bd, first two divisions organized in 1800’s, LAOH Nat’l Bd, pipe bands and state, county and division officers and members with their flags and banners. Representatives of the Fighting 69th will also be part of the march to the Cathedral.

An anniversary Mass to be celebrated by the AOH National Chaplain Father Thomas O’Donnell of Pittsburgh and con-celebrated by the pastor Msgr. Sakano, AOH State, County and Division Chaplains bishops and priests will take place at 11:00 am in the Old Cathedral. The Mass will be sung by the Hibernian Festival Choir under the direction of Maura Allen.

This choir has sung at the White House and at many venues in Ireland, N. Ireland, Canada and the U.S. and have always added to the solemnity of the liturgy. AOH members will act as ushers and altar servers under guidance of a committee headed by Past National Director Martin Kelly of Brooklyn.

Following the Mass, a reception will be held in the Youth Center across from the Cathedral. Catered food and refreshments and entertainment will be offered starting at approximately 12:30 pm. A short program and introduction of visiting dignitaries will take place during the reception.

The reception will be chaired by Sir Patrick Allen, a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and a brother Hibernian. A fee of $20.00 per person will cover cost of reception and day’s activities. All who plan to attend the May 21st celebration is urged to respond by April 30, 2011 with number attending and check made out to: AOH 175th  Anniversary and send to: AOH 175th Anniversary % Mr. Patrick Allen 1713 Summit Avenue Union City, NJ 07087. Registration and receipt of wrist band of all pre-paid responders will take place at parade assemble area prior to start of parade and again for rest of attendees immediately following the Mass. All are urged to respond by the deadline.

For anyone coming to the 175th celebration at Old St. Patrick’s and wishing to stay over the night before should make their own hotel arrangements at several of the hotels in the immediate area such as: Holiday Inn Soho 138 LaFayette Street at 212-966-8898 Use Code AOH for $179/night Fri/Sat (contact Brendan Moore 631-363-2388 or and he will get more rooms added); Hotel East Houston 151 E. Houston St. at 212-777-0012 or The GEM Hotel –Soho 135 E. Houston St at 212-358-8844. Each of these are within a few minutes walk of the Cathedral. Other hotels can be found online.

To get idea of numbers attending on 5/21/11, everyone is asked to contact asap either 175th Chrmn. PNP Ed Wallace at 315-686-3917 or email or Nat’l Pres. Seamus Boyle at 215-820-1547 or email


Pope Benedict chooses historic St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral as New York City’s first basilica

The original St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City was then, as the new one now, the center of religious life for members of the Archdiocese of New York and the seat of the Archbishop. The oldest Roman Catholic Church building in New York City, it played vital social and political roles in the lives of young immigrants, helping them adapt to their new home

Now known as Old St Patrick’s, the cathedral on Prince and Mott streets had served the Irish immigrant population since 1809. Land for a new cathedral was purchased in 1852 and construction started in 1859. Before the new cathedral could be completed, St Patrick’s was ravaged by fire in 1866. The cathedral was restored and rededicated by John Cardinal McClosky in 1868

Mangin was designing the cathedral while his most prominent work, New York City Hall was being constructed. Though more Gothically ecclesiastical, one can see echoes of Mangin’s City Hall design in the cathedral.

On June 8, 1809 the cornerstone of the original St. Patrick’s “Old” Cathedral‚ was laid. On May 14, 1815, it was dedicated and the New York Gazette described it as “a grand and beautiful church, which may justly be considered one of the greatest ornaments of our city….”

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was New York’s first Cathedral, at the start of this Country, the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in America named for the Patron Saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s has dignity and character in its stark simplicity. The side walls are 75 feet high, the inner vault is 85 feet high. The church measures over 120 feet long and 80 feet in width. the huge marble altar near the western wall, surrounded by ornately hand-carved, gold leaf reredos, containing some of the finest religious statuary in the United States.

On the very same grounds you will find New York City’s only Russian Catholic Church – St. Michael’s – still celebrating its ancient liturgies every week. The complex includes six buildings, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places – including St. Patrick’s school, which served as a Revolutionary War hospital and was called “Dead House” Later it was transformed into an orphanage where America’s first Saint, Mother Elizabeth Seton, established her order- the Sisters of Charity. The building was gifted to the church by Cornelius Heeney, an early 19th century philanthropist who loved children. An 18th century graveyard surrounds St. Patrick’s. The Rectory is located in the Bishop’s former residence at 263 Mulberry Street, not far from the church.

At the other end of St. Pat’s is the choir loft and the historic 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ. Henry Erben was the most well known organ builder not in New York City and America, in general.

Underneath the church there is a labyrinth of mortuary vaults and the cemetery outside contains old graves and tombstones. Buried here is the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, a Black New Yorker, born a slave in Haiti, whose elevation to sainthood is now under study in Rome.
St. Patrick’s is also the original burial site of Bishop Hughes – “Dagger John” and New York’s first Bishops. Founders of the Emigrant Savings Bank have family plots in the crypt; Andrew Carrigan, Peter Hargous and others. Also interred here are Dominic Lynch, first President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and a ratifier of the Constitution. Countess Annie Leary, the first woman in America to be made a Papal Countess, also rests below the cathedral.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral has been the site of many important events in American history. In1835, Bishop John Hughes was forced to assemble the parishioners to defend the Cathedral against anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant mob violence that threatened the Cathedral. Chanting epitaphs such as “Paddies of the Pope…” these vigilantes were determined to “burn her to the ground.” The need to defend the Cathedral against mob-violence wasn’t uncommon. The “Know Nothing Party” organized Protestants to march on St. Patrick’s. Hughes wrote to New York Mayor James Harper saying “Should one Catholic come to harm, or should one Catholic business be molested, we shall turn this city into a second Moscow.”

Archbishop Hughes’ decision to arm the Ancient Order of Hibernians and position them on the walls surrounding the Cathedral, prevented these attempts, but the anti-papist mob did stone the beautiful stained glass windows of both the church and the Bishop’s residence. Hibernian Hall was located across the street from St. Patrick’s in the 1800s continued to defend the church and its priests during times of both turbulence and peace.

Not all of the Cathedral’s history was troubled. St. John Neuman was ordained to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s. Archbishop Hughes was the first priest elevated to the Episcopate in St. Patrick’s and on Tuesday, April 27th, 1875, Archbishop John McCloskey received the zucchetto rosso, the red-skull cap, in St. Patrick’s, Pope Pius IX having made him the very first American Cardinal. Attending the auspicious occasion were future U.S. President Chester Arthur, Mayor William H. Wickham, and other leaders of the day.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, President Lincoln invited Archbishop Hughes to represent America as his envoy to France, Spain and England, hoping to dissuade them from aiding and abetting the Southern Confederacy.

Shortly after President Lincoln called for troops, the “Fighting 69th” Regiment, lead by Colonel Michael Corcoran, Thomas Francis Meagher and former Congressman, U.S. Attorney and Abolitionist – Captain John McKeon, headed off to what would be the Battle of Bull Run – and they were the only Union regiment that did not flee. The New York Irish Brigade, mainly men of the parish, fought heroically for the Union and the abolition slavery. Many of those soldiers lie in the cemeteries surrounding St. Patrick’s.

Seventy-five-percent of the Irish Brigade died in battle. War’s end left with many widows and orphans. A few years later, with the emigration of the Italians to America the neighborhood changed from Irish to Italian, giving the neighborhood its new name – Little Italy. The Italian community soon made St. Patrick’s theirs and have contributed some of the finest stained-glass work in North America to the church, as well as many vocations.

On May 25, 1879 The Old Cathedral role as the seat of the Archdiocese of New York ended and it became a parish church. This change resulted from building of our present day Cathedral of St. Patrick on 50th Street and Fifth Avenue.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is a church of the people, generations after generations, built modern day America. This church nurtured the Irish, Germans, French, and Italian communities as they arrived in this new world. Italian-Americans and Dominicans comprise today’s parish . The Chinese community is served at the church on Broome Street – Most Holy Crucifix, established in 1925.

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is in “The Heart of Old New York”, Little Italy – on the edge of the Bowery and SoHo, just north of Chinatown. St. Pat’s parish is robust, regularly celebrating liturgies in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Serving this community for almost 200 years, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral looks forward to serving for many years to come.


Donations To Old St. Patrick’s

Members of The Francis P. Beirne AOH Division 9, NY County at the presentation of $10,000 check to St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. (L to R) Brian Andersson, NYC Commisioner of Archives; Pete Coyle, Division Treasurer; Paul Mahoney; Monsignor Donald Sakano, Pastor and NY County Chaplain; Martin Beirne, Division President; Archbishop Timothy Dolan; Brendan Lynch, Past Division President; Mary Beirne; Tom Beirne, NY County President; John Pesche, South Florida State Organizer; Sir Patrick Allen.

Members of The Francis P. Beirne AOH Division 9, NY County at the presentation of $10,000 check to St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. (L to R) Brian Andersson, NYC Commisioner of Archives; Pete Coyle, Division Treasurer; Paul Mahoney; Monsignor Donald Sakano, Pastor and NY County Chaplain; Martin Beirne, Division President; Archbishop Timothy Dolan; Brendan Lynch, Past Division President; Mary Beirne; Tom Beirne, NY County President; John Pesche, South Florida State Organizer; Sir Patrick Allen.

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.