John hughes

AOH readies to mark 175 years in America

At a recent meeting at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, chaired by past national president Ed Wallace with co-chair Tom Beirne, New York County president Monsignor Donald Sakano, national president Seamus Boyle, and many 175th committee members, final plans were made for the parade, Mass and reception on Saturday, May 21, all of these being events that will commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. This site, and the date in May, were chosen to recognize the founding of the AOH 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 1800s 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 their guests, are being asked to assemble on Mulberry Street near Precious Blood Church just north of Canal St. at 9 a.m. on May 21. The parade will step off at 9:30 a.m. 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. The regiment was on its way to the Civil War and was parading to St. Patrick's Old Cathedral and past the then AOH headquarters at 41 Prince Street. The 175th parade will be led by an AOH color guard, clergy, the national board, the first two divisions organized in 1800s, the LAOH National Board, 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 concelebrated by the pastor Msgr. Sakano, AOH state, county and division chaplains, bishops and priests, will take place at 11 a.m. in the Old Cathedral. The Mass will be sung by the Hibernian Festival Choir under the direction of Maura Allen. This choir has performed at the White House and at many venues in Ireland, Canada and the U.S. and has always added to the solemnity of the liturgy. AOH members will act as ushers and altar servers under the 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 p.m. 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 per person will cover the cost of the reception and the day's activities. All who plan to attend the celebration are urged to respond by April 30, with number attending and check made out to: AOH 175th Anniversary. It should be sent to: AOH 175th Anniversary c/o Mr. Patrick Allen, 1713 Summit Avenue, Union City, NJ 07087. Registration and receipt of wrist band for all pre-paid responders will take place at the parade assembly area prior to the start of parade, and again for the 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 overnight before should make their own hotel arrangements at several of the hotels in the immediate area such as: The 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). There is also the Hotel East Houston at 151 E. Houston St. (212)777-0012 or The GEM Hotel Soho at 135 E. Houston St (212)358-8844. Each of these are within a few minutes walk from the cathedral. Other hotels can be found online. To get idea of numbers attending, everyone is asked to as soon as possible contact either Ed Wallace at (315)686-3917 or, or Seamus Boyle at (215)820-1547, or

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