IS THE ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS?
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish American
Fraternal Organization founded simultaneously in New York City and Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania in May of 1836. The Order
can trace its roots back to a parent organization, of the same name, which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. However,
while the organizations share a common thread, the North American A.O.H. is a separate and much larger organization.
The Order evolved from a need in the early sixteen hundreds to protect the lives of priests who risked immediate death to
keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland after the reign of England's King Henry VIII. When England implemented
its dreaded Penal Laws in Ireland, various secret social societies were formed across the country. These groups worked to
aid and comfort the people by whatever means available. Similarly, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was founded
May 4th, 1836 at New York’s St. James Church, to protect the clergy, and Church property from the "Know Nothings"
and their followers. At the same time the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing famine issues in Ireland in the late 1840's,
prompted a growth of various social societies in the USA - the largest of which was, and continues to be, the Ancient Order
Active across the United States, The Order seeks to aid the newly arrived Irish, both socially,
politically. The many Divisions and club facilities located throughout the U.S. traditionally have been among the first to
welcome new Irish Americans. Here, the Irish culture -- art, dance, music, and sports are fostered and preserved. The newcomers
can meet some of "their own" and are introduced to the social atmosphere of the Irish-American community. The AOH
has been at the political forefront for issues concerning the Irish, such as; Immigration Reform; economic Incentives both
here and in Ireland; the human rights issues addressed in the MacBride Legislation; Right-To-Life; and a peaceful and just
solution to the issues that divide Ireland.
The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those
Irish-Americans who are generations removed from their country of origin. Many A.O.H. Divisions bring children from the North
of Ireland under Project Children or other programs. The Order sponsors many programs associated with promoting our Irish
Heritage, such as, one year overseas study scholarships at Irish Universities and the Irish Way Program. Irish Studies programs
at American universities and scholarship at universities, like Notre Dame, are also sponsored by the Order.
may further seek admittance to the FINEST Irish Catholic Organization in the World; all we would ask is for you to live our
motto of: "Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity"
THE PIN IN MY LAPEL
Written by Brother Denis P. McGowan
22, Kings County, New York
January 1987 on the 117th Anniversary of A.O.H. Division 35
In the lapel of my
tweed jacket, there's a pin of brightest gold.
No bigger than my thumbnail, but its worth cannot be told.
'Tis the Emblem of an Order, of Irish folk proud of their land.
And their glorious religion, under the Lord's
In friendship we are gathered, we strive for Unity.
To serve our Church and brethren, in Christian Charity.
We maintain Christ's own teachings, we guard the Irish race.
We help the sick and fallen, with the aid of
God's own grace.
Proud to be called Hibernians, from Erin's ancient Latin name.
By defending Catholic
priests and nuns, we earned undying fame.
This Ancient Order of whom I speak, I proudly wear their pin.
did my loving father, and his father before him.
That Emblem of the Order, I think is simply grand.
Irish symbols, to remind us of our land.
It bears the letters "A.O.H.," its shape is like a shield.
It bears our famous Irish harp, upon a shamrock field.
The two hands clasped in friendship, in the centre of
Reminds each A.O.H. man, that brotherhood is blessed.
Rising o'er the hills of Ireland, in
the crest is the sunrise.
'Tis the dawn of Irish freedom, 'Tis the cause that never dies.
largest green shamrocks, symbols of the Trinity.
Remind us of the provinces, of Erin's antiquity.
mighty Irish kingdoms, proud and most beauteous lands.
One breaks the heart of Ireland, remains in sasanach hands.
Yes, shining bright in my lapel, of which I'll proudly tell.
'Tis the Emblem of the A.O.H., worn in my
heart as well.
THE HISTORY OF A.O.H. DIVISION 51 - FISHTOWN
A.O.H. Division 51 - Fishtown
received its charter on June 4th, 2001. Our Division Home is Holy Name of Jesus Parish, located at Gaul and Berks Streets
in Fishtown. Our meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month in the Parish Hall at 7:30 PM. New members are always
welcome; but you must be an active member of your Catholic Parish. Anyone interested in becoming a member of A.O.H. Division
51 - Fishtown should come to the next meeting, and complete the necessary application, and pay your first years dues of $30.00.
Our doors open early so new members can talk to someone about joining our Division.
do not have an active Chaplain, but Brother Len Rhoads serves os our Deputy Chaplain. Monsignor Gregory J. Parlante serves
as our Chaplain Emeritus. Monsignor Greg graciously opened the doors to Holy Name to our group, and he helped to establish
one of the fastest growing A.O.H. Divisions in the U.S.A. Brother Leonard Rhoads, F.S.C., serves as our Deputy Chaplain.
Since our founding, Division 51 has been active in many Community Concerns. One of our biggest projects has been
the Anti-Drug Movement in our neighborhood. We continue to work closely with other community organizations, local politicians
and law enforcement officials to make our neighborhood a safe place for all to live.
11th, 2002 Division 51 culminated its first major undertaking as an organization with the completion and dedication of the
Shrine to Our Lady of Knock outside Holy Name School, across from Holy Name Church. The Shrine was planned, financed, built
and maintained by Division 51 members. In 2008 the Division was forced to disassemble the Shine after Holy Name School was
closed and eventually sold. During the month of December 2010 the Shrine was rebuilt outside the Rectory of Holy Name Church;
and on Sunday, January 17th, 2010 the Shrine to Our Lady of Knock was rededicated for the people of Fishtown.
Each year the members of Division 51 come together as a family to celebrate of Irish Catholic Faith, first by attending
Mass at Holy Name, and then by marching together in the Philadelphia Saint Patrick's Day Parade. In both 2003 and 2004 the
Division was awarded the Monsignor Thomas Riley Award as the Best Fraternal Marching Unit in the parade, and in 2007 and 2008
the Division was awarded the Honorable James H.J. Tate Award as the unit that best exemplified the "Spirit" of the
St. Patrick's Day Parade. In 2010 the Division was awarded the Joseph Montgomery Award as the Best AOH Division in the parade.
Division 51 continues to grow and continues to be active. Our members are actively involved in the Hibernian Hunger Project.
Since June of 2004 until the present we have collected of 120 Shopping Carts of food, and $12,537.00 to aid the Philadelphia
Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center during our semi-annual FILL THE CART - HELP A VET IN NEED collections.
In May of 2009 we held our 7th Annual FISHTOWN SUPPORTS OUR TROOPS RALLY in Penn Treaty Park, and we've also helped
to organized two Philadelphia River Wards Troop Rallies held in Campbell Square in Port Richmond.
year in January we have our annual Division Communion Mass and Breakfast. Our first Guest Speaker in 2004 was Jim Murray,
the former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles and Founder of the very first Ronald McDonald House. Other Guest Speakers
have included Captain Patrick Dugan (U.S. Army / AOH Division 40), City Councilman James Kenney, CBS 3 News Anchor Larry Mendte,
Judge James Murray Lynn, AOH National President Seamus Boyle, Paul Moore and City Councilman Bill Green. The 2012 Guest Speaker
was former Irish Political Prisoner Pearse Kerr. The proceeds from the Communion Breakfast go to our Hibernian Scholarship
Fund. Each year Division 51 presents a partial scholarship to two deserving graduating 8th graders who are attending an area
Catholic High School.
Division 51 members were active with the Philadelphia visit of the Irish
Famine Ship Jeanie Johnson, the dedication of the Irish Memorial at Penn's Landing, the John McNicholl and Pete Black immigration
cases, and many other Irish Causes in the Delaware Valley. We have also provided manpower to such worthwhile organizations
as the Philadelphia Special Olympics and the Police Athletic League. In October of 2008 Division 51 members helped organize
the first Philadelphia Supports Its Police Rally held in Sister Cities Plaza across from the Cathedral, following the murders
of a number of Philadelphia Police Officers. Division 51 members were instrumental in the formation of the AOH Saint Patrick
Retreat Group at the Malvern Retreat House. February of 2010 will mark the 5th retreat of the group. In 2005 and 2006 the
Division sponsored a charity boxing exhibition between the members of the Sacred Heart Boxing Club, from South Armagh, Northern
Ireland and a All-Star Philly Boxing Team. All proceeds from the events went to our Division's Charity Fund. Division 51 is
an active member of the Irish Anti Defamation Federation, working to end the negative stereotyping of the Irish people.
As we enter our 12th year, the members of Division 51 are proud of their Division, their Organization, their Irish
Heritage and their Fishtown roots.
To download a Membership Application, click the link below...
A.O.H. MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
A.O.H. DIVISION 51 - FISHTOWN
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