To: Division #16 Members January 10, 2006
On May 1, 2006 the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America will celebrate its 170th anniversary of service to our communities. St. Oliver Plunkett/Division 16th will enter into its fourth year. In 2005 our division continues to prosper and has taken major steps in our fund-raising efforts. Our 3rd annual “Afternoon with the Irish” was our hallmark event and was favorably received by the local community. At that time, we also took the opportunity to honor two (2) fine Irishmen, Harry Ench, Past President and John Concannon, who has served in the Order for over sixty years. Our 4th annual “Afternoon with the Irish” is scheduled for Saturday, May 21st and Andy Cooney will again be the featured performer, brought back by popular demand. However, the success of this event will be largely contingent upon the help and support of our entire membership. I am confident that each member will rise to the occasion and support this event in some small way. From a personal standpoint, I was extremely proud with last year’s turn-out and each of you should be as well. It was a tremendous success and there was no better way to pay tribute to both Harry and John for their years of service to the Order.
As we enter the New Year, the officer’s have set some lofty goals in order to grow as a division within Monmouth County as well as the Order. We would like to continue with some positive momentum of growth that was seen in 2005 and that is why Division 16’s Board has put in place a recruitment program with the hopes of bolstering our ranks. In this fashion, we hope to increase our exposure on both the local and county level as well as share the core principals of the Hibernians with future brothers of the Order.
The division has also expanded its list of charities which incorporates charities within our local community as well as those supported by the AOH on a national level. Keeping in the motto of “Christian Charity” I’m sure it is fulfilling for each member to know that a significant portion of our fund-raising efforts during the year go to those less fortunate and, in some cases, in desperate need of the assistance. For example, our donation of food gift cards during the Thanksgiving season to St Vincent DePaul has been well received and on a go-forward basis, will be a staple charity for our division. One of the goals set by our board is to increase the number of food gift cards this coming Thanksgiving and involve more of our neighboring parishes.
Jack Sullivan, State Board President is and his officers are a very pro-active group and working hard to increase the visibility and awareness of the AOH throughout New Jersey. With that being said, there are several scheduled events during 2006 that will be sponsored by the New Jersey State Board. Their initiatives will be discussed at the first few State Board meetings to take place on February 25th and April 25th (more details to follow). It is important to note that a Major Degree will be offered at the April 25th meeting. It is strongly recommended that all Hibernians make their Major Degree so to the extent that any division member has not yet done so, please take advantage of this limited opportunity. The National Convention will be held in Boston, MA from July 5th – July 9th of this year. If anyone is interested in going, we will be discussing it at our monthly meetings (more information to follow).
St. Oliver Plunkett division is only as strong as its brothers choose to make it. I enjoy being a Hibernian and it has afforded me the opportunity to learn about our Irish heritage, Catholicism and our close bond as fellow brothers that I would not have known otherwise. I firmly believe that each of us is extremely proud to be of Irish decent and furthermore, it is a comfort to know that our rich history is preserved through the AOH in its customs and practices. Among other things, the AOH exemplifies how Irish Catholics, both past and present, pull together to preserve our unique heritage and defend our Catholic faith. With this in mind I ask each of you to join me in making this division as strong and as vibrant as possible. The spirit of our motto should be the cornerstone upon which Division #16 will continue to grow and prosper. Although I fully understand and appreciate that being a Hibernian must sometimes take a “back seat” to other important issues, I do ask, however, that each member give what he can. Every voice is important and I encourage active participation at our monthly meetings.
In closing, I am confidant that 2006 will be a fantastic year for St. Oliver Plunkett/Division #16, Monmouth County as we embark upon an aggressive agenda. A reminder to all members; please make an effort to pay your 2006 dues as soon as possible. Dues will remain $25.00 and can be paid at a monthly meeting and made payable to A.O.H Division 16 or sent directly to our treasurer. There are still a few members that have not paid their dues for 2005. Please contact our Treasurer John Klapouchy. Our division will continue to meet on the third Thursday of each month at the Knights of Columbus, 70 East Main Street, Freehold; 8 PM. Please contact me with any questions or concerns. On behalf of our Board, I would like to wish you and yours a Happy & Healthy New Year. May God bless!
In Our Motto
“Friendship, Unity, & True Christian Charity”
John M. Keane Jr