Bronx County AOH Irish Language Mass

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, joined by Gaelic Societies, Irish community groups and parishioners in the strongly Irish Woodlawn-McLean area will host their annual Irish language Mass on Saturday, September 12th, at 2 pm. This year’s Irish Mass, celebrated by Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald, will be available live across the country and Ireland on the St. Barnabas Parish Facebook page. Dedicated to those who kept Irish language and culture alive, the Irish Mass takes on added meaning this year for an Irish community overcoming COVID in the spirit our ancestors overcame being denied Catholic Church and Mass by British Penal Laws.

NATIONAL

 The Bronx AOH began hosting an Irish language Mass, as part of a New York State AOH initiative, proposed by past New York State President Vic Vogel. This year under AOH National President Danny O’Connell, Hibernians across the country are being encouraged to view the service on the St. Barnabas Facebook page www.facebook.com/stbarnabascatholicchurch. Irish-English translations of the liturgy were prepared, so that anyone can follow the prayers in English as they hear the Mass said in Irish – download the Mass Booklet here. A special Irish musical program will feature the Dawn Doherty School of Irish Music, and include Sean Ruane.

The AOH sponsored event flyer uses the symbol of a Mass Rock, celebrating the spirit of ancestors who overcame British Penal Laws to hear Mass said in Irish, as an example to those who are keeping Irish language and tradition alive today despite COVID.

Bronx County AOH President, and National Freedom for all Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted:

“The Irish language is an important and indestructible part of our Irish heritage. Measures to wipe out the Irish language began even before penal laws to wipe out the Catholic religion in Ireland. Ireland’s cherished landmarks include Mass Rocks, where Gaelic speakers risked death or imprisonment simply to worship. COVID has given these Mass Rocks an added symbolism, for those prevented from attending Church by the health crisis.

” As an organization formed to promote Irish ideals, culture, history and national freedom, we can think of no more fitting way for AOH members to honor Irish heritage than an Irish Mass embodying all of these themes.”

“There has been a great response from AOH leaders nationally, Gaelic clubs, Woodlawn Irish community groups, musicians and individuals who would just like to hear the Mass said in the language of our ancestors. We are grateful to St. Barnabas and Fr. Fitzgerald for hosting the Mass and making it available nationally via the parish Facebook page.”

The Mass will be held in the St. Barnabas Main Church,409 East 241st Street near the Bronx River Parkway, Deegan Expressway or Metro-North Railroad, on Saturday September 12th at pm. It will go out live on the St. Barnabas Facebook Page. Safe seating restrictions and face masks will be required from those attending in person.

Submitted by Martin Galvin, Bronx County AOH President

County Observes Gaelic Mass Day

(r-l) AOH National Director Dan Dennehy, Bronx County President Bob Nolan, AOH State President Vic Vogel, County Legislator David Tubiolo, and National and State FFAI Chair and Division 5 President Martin Galvin

It was officially “Gaelic Mass Day” on Saturday, September 8th, as Hibernians led by New York State President Vic Vogel, and joined by local Irish community groups and parishioners, gathered for an Irish language Mass at St. Barnabas Parish. The day began with County Legislator David Tubiolo, announcing Westchester’s proclamation and presenting copies to New York State AOH, host Bronx AOH Division 5 and St. Barnabas Parish. The Gaelic Mass which was said by St. Barnabas Pastor Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald, and brought together fluent Irish speakers with many who never before heard the Mass said in the language of their ancestors, may now become an annual event.

View the event photo album

MARCH

Among the AOH officers leading the march into the Church were State President Vogel, National Director Dan Dennehy, District Director Aiden O’Kelly Lynch, Bronx County President Bob Nolan and Division 5 President Martin Galvin. They followed Piper Dermot Moore, a son of the late Mary Holt Moore, who had been a key figure in the Bronx Gaelic League.AOH and Ladies AOH sashes and medallions made a colorful display.Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald welcomed everyone in English to the Mass offered in Irish for “all those persecuted for their Catholic faith and Gaelic language”. Woodlawn residents and Irish speakers, Division 5 Vice-President Ray Leyden, Aoife Farrell of Aisling and Mairead Greenan of Emerald Isle Immigration did the readings. Musician and Irish singer Dawn Doherty played and sang beautifully, while Daithi McLaughlin of the Brooklyn Gaelic Club assisted with the Irish hymns. 

SURVIVING

In his sermon Fr. Fitzgerald said “the Catholic faith in Ireland, like the Irish language had survived centuries of persecution and penal laws intended to wipe it out. Our ancestors had defied everything, attending outlawed Masses said by outlawed priests to keep their language and faith alive. We will survive the problems of today and come through stronger than ever.”  

Following the Gaelic Mass, Martin Galvin President of host Division 5 said:

“We were overwhelmed by the help and encouragement we immediately got for “Gaelic Mass Day”. The parish, AOH statewide, local Irish community groups, Irish language clubs, and musicians contacted us offering help. We have already been asked to have an Irish language Mass said annually and other AOH Divisions, want to follow through on the idea originally suggested By Vic Vogel.

The Irish language is an important and indestructible part of our Irish heritage. We did not anticipate the deep appreciation which even those like me who regrettably do not understand Irish would feel.”

Article provided by:

Martin Galvin
NAOH National and State FFAI Chair
President, Bronx Division 5 AOH