One of the Best Hibernian Traditions

by Ed Wallace, PNP

In the Penal Days, our ancestors stood guard to protect the Roman Catholic clergy as they celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass for the disenfranchised Irish. In the days of Nativist Bigotry, our immigrant forebears stood guard around Catholic churches to safeguard our clergy from the anti-Catholic Know Nothings. As they were needed then, we are needed now!

Today, violence has diminished, but the need to protect our clerical tradition is just as great, if not greater. This time the enemy is economic. The number of applicants to the religious life is decreasing each year due largely to the cost of educating and sustaining novitiates. We are being called again to the old tradition. It is our turn to emulate those courageous Irish men and women who kept the faith alive for us, and keep it alive for our children and grandchildren.

You can prove that the ancient spirit is still alive in you by supporting Project St. Patrick.

The goal of Project St. Patrick is to fund grants in perpetuity and increase support for these men and women of God. Project St. Patrick is a joint Catholic Action program of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians which was started in 1995 by AOH Nat’l Pres. Ed Wallace and LAOH Nat’l Pres. Kathy Linton. Since 1996 over $334,250 has been given out to needy seminarians and religious who are studying to serve our Church. Half of that from the AOH (through Hibernian Charity) and half from the LAOH.

Letters of introduction with applications have been sent out in early January to major seminaries and novitiates by LAOH Catholic Action officer Lynn Burkart. The deadline for return of applications is April 1st, with letter of recommendation. The PSP Committee will read all applications over two week period and make tentative list of awardees. A teleconference call is then set up and the whole committee decides on how much money is available, how many
can be helped and then by concensus agree on who the grant recipients will be.

We have averaged 85 to 100 applications annually and unfortunately have not been able to help every applicant.

In 2012 we received 102 applications and were only able to help 57 seminarians and 26 religious including $1000 to Little Sisters of the Poor. Many of the applicants are from foreign countries, have no family support and are not able to work due to Diocesan regulations and their assigned duties.

Funding for Project St. Patrick comes from outright donations from AOH & LAOH State, County Boards and divisions as well as from individual Hibernians to the Annual PSP Easter Appeal or throughout the year. Every jurisdiction is urged to include Project St. Patrick in their annual charitable donations. For every $500 or more donation the PSP committee will designate a Vocation Grant in memory of or In Honor of an individual’s name submitted by donor.

This could be a beloved chaplain, nun or lay person male or female. Just submit the name with the donation.

Project St. Patrick Memorial cards are also an additional source of funding for this program.

When a Hibernian member, family or friend passes away a PSP Memorial Card is filled out and presented to the family at the wake. Division members or family members can “pool their donations” and send in one card on behalf of the division, etc. or send in individually.

AOH donations should have checks made out to “Hibernian Charity” with Project St. Patrick written in the Memo Section of check, and sent to Edward Dougherty 7236 Brous Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19149. Additional PSP Memorial Cards may be secured by contacting Edward Wallace 315-686-3917 or email: ewallac2@twcny.rr.com.

LAOH donations should be sent to: LAOH Project St. Patrick and sent to Lynn Burkart 169 South Temelec Circle, Sonoma, CA 95476. Ladies can order PSP Memorial Cards or Honor Cards from Carol at lynnburkart@comcast.com.

Hibernians have remained steadfast in their mission to protect and support priests from the penal days in Ireland to the present. As an Irish-American Catholic organization, we must continue to foster and support vocations both spiritually and financially. Please support the Project St. Patrick Easter Appeal with a donation and make PSP one of your annual charities.

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