Honoring Fr. Dan Finn for a lifetime of service

By Richard Archer

Cork native, Fr. Dan Finn, is the honored guest at an event hosted by the Knights and Ladies of St. Finbar on Sunday afternoon at the Irish Social Club of Boston in West Roxbury. All are invited to celebrate the tireless work and dedication of Fr. Dan as he transitions to a new role as Chaplin of the Irish Pastoral Centre.

Having arrived from Kanturk at the age of 18, Fr. Dan and his family settled in North Billerica. With five brothers and two sisters, the family were warmly welcomed by their Aunt. He remembers an apprehensive transition from secondary school in Cork to Senior year in high school. With guidance and support from a high school counselor Fr. Dan settled in well and this was when he answered the call to the Priesthood. He studied Latin while attending Cardinal O’Connell Seminary and was ordained from St John’s Seminary in 1972. Throughout this time he played GAA as much as he could and many will remember Fr. Dan the footballer, togged out at Dillboy field.

St Catherine’s Parish in Norwood welcomed the new Priest and after six months, Fr. Dan was assigned to Sacred Heart in Roslindale. After seven years, he led the flock at Saint Peter’s in Dorchester, later becoming Pastor of Saint Mark’s and Saint Ambrose Parishes. After 35 years in Dorchester, he retired this past June. He could not have known when he arrived in America that he would become one of Boston’s most beloved and respected priests, serving many cultures and loved by all. His own journey of Emigration certainly resonated with many and perhaps his personal experience helped him to meet the needs of those arriving from home in the 1980’s. A founding member of the Irish Pastoral center, Fr. Dan created a parish without boundaries in 1987 for those in need of welcome. The center became a stellar example of community building and it is fitting today that the Archdiocese has returned Fr. Dan to the Pastoral Center as its Chaplain.

With a place in his heart for everyone, many can share stories of Dan’s kindness and compassion for the poor. A group of parishioners were not surprised when they saw a homeless man wearing brand new shoes that they had bought for Fr. Dan. People visiting St. Mark’s were cautioned about hanging up their winter coats because Fr. Dan was known to give them to some poor person Fr. Dan organized many outreach programs. Students in St Mark’s school had parents who spoke poor English so he started English classes to help those people and then Citizenship classes for the many who desired to become citizens of the United States. There were Summer programs for the young, parish seniors loved their sing songs in the Rectory and students in the school loved when Fr. Dan brought them to the Shattuck hospital with gifts of socks and toiletries. Although retired, he remains a true Pastor and is forever humble.

Recently Fr. Dan Finn was presented with the "Outstanding American by Choice Award" at a ceremony at Faneuil Hall. He would never tell you that himself. He seeks no reward for serving. Cork is in his heart and it is fitting that he is the Chaplain for the Knights and Ladies of St. Finbarr-Cork club.

Share your Fr. Dan stories and join in an afternoon of appreciation honoring Fr. Finn at the Irish Social club, 119 Park Street in West Roxbury on Sunday October 4th, 2015 from 1.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Music will be provided by Erin's Melody and Denis Curtin's band. And the special guest is known to sing a few bars also! Tables of ten may be reserved by calling Mary Tannian, President of the Cork club at (978) 664-4652 or Richard Archer (781) 326-0388 richarda10@hotmail.com. A donation of $10.00 per person is requested. Tickets by mail can be purchased at Post Office Box4132, Dedham, MA 02027. Please make checks payable to the Knights and Ladies of St. Finbarr.

Pat Shortt to perform at The Burren

By Tony Swift

The irrepressible Pat Shortt will perform in Boston for the first time when he brings his "SELFIE" show to The Burren from Wednesday, Sep 30th to Sunday October 4th. His unique, comedic but somewhat universal look at everyday Irish life has cemented his place in the public hearts, along with that his work on stage and screen over the last decade have proved him to be an enduring, versatile and award winning talent. His most recent theatre role of Johnnypateenmike in the West End production of 'The Cripple of Inishmaan' alongside Daniel Radcliffe was a renowned success that subsequently transferred to Broadway in New York. Last week he was nominated for best actor at New York's Festival of Irish Theatre.

Pat's new show "SELFIE" is an entertaining throwback similar to that to the days of D'Unbelievables. Pat describes his show as "physical humor" that's more theatrical based than stand-up comedy. In a quirky and humorous way Pat brings the audience on a journey with his new character Mossey Burke, a singing undertaker and the chaos that can happen around an Irish funeral, that any and all can relate to. "I find Mossy to be a great character to express a lot of things, including how Irish people react to death and the confusion surrounding it," said Pat. There is also a cast of other characters performed by Pat in the show. For the first time on stage he will be playing a Garda character, which he first developed with the D'Unbelievables.

Earlier this year Pat was part of the cast of Irish independent feature film "Twice Shy", a modern coming of age drama that centers around a young couple who set off on a road trip from Ireland to London as the result of an unplanned pregnancy. The film, which has yet to be released, has already garnered a lot of media interest in Ireland due to its subject matter. Pat is also currently working on a new sitcom for the BBC that he describes as a "fantastic Irish script", which he hopes will begin filming next year, and recently shot a sitcom with Channel 4 TV in London with Matthew Perry.

Strong demand for his Boston shows has resulted in 4 shows already being sold out. One final show has just been added for Sunday October 4th at 2pm. The Burren in Davis Square, Somerville, will be serving their full Irish breakfast as well as other brunch favorites.

Southill Children's Fundraiser to take place this October

The annual Southill Children's Fundraiser will take place on Thursday, October 8th from 5:30-8pm at Philips Old Colony House in Dorchester. Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh will be in attendance. The event will use the funds raised to help the children of Southill, Limerick in Ireland achieve a better education and a brighter future.

The organization began in the mid 1980s following a trip by founder Billy Higgins to watch his daughter compete in an athletic event in Limerick. While there, he visited Southill and recognized many aspects of life in the area that he could relate to. Billy's childhood was spent in what were known as the D Street Projects in South Boston. Southill is one of the most distressed areas in Ireland, with unemployment four times the national average, high crime rates and low levels of completed formal education.

Billy started bringing hundreds of children from Southill to Boston to stay with local families in the 1980s. Bringing the kids to Boston gave them a chance to see that there is more to life than Southill or Limerick. Although the official trips ceased in 1990, Billy has continued fundraising for various projects in Southill and has continued to visit the area. He has developed strong ties with the leadership of the Limerick community. Recently the Mayor of Limerick visited Boston, and through the efforts of Billy elected officials from Boston have been special guests at Limerick's St. Patrick's Day events.

The Southill Children's Fund is a 501c3 tax deductible charitable organization. To RSVP by mail, please send a check to Southill Children's Fund, 47 Farragut Road, Boston, MA 02127. All checks should be made out to Southill Children's Fund. Suggested donations for the October 8th fundraiser begin at $75.

For further information call 617-201-6077, email info@southillchildrensfund.com or visit www.southillchildrensfund.com.

Fundraiser for mother of three diagnosed with brain tumor

The Lewis/Glennon fundraiser will take place on Saturday, October 3rd at the Centre Bar in Dorchester at 7pm. Liz, a wonderful mother of three has a returning brain tumor and is scheduled for surgery on October 6th. Her close friends and family have organized this fundraiser to help Liz with her medical expenses.

Thanks to many generous donators, there will be a silent auction, 50/50 draw, tickets $20 sold by Elaine Gallagher and tons of great prizes. Hair dyeing and waxing will also take place. Music on the night will be provided by DJ Slim Tim! All are welcome to attend the evening and help support Liz. There will also be a darts tournament held the following day (Sunday, October 4th) at the Centre Bar starting at 1pm sharp.

Please contact Sharon with any questions 857-318-3809.

Enda Kenny accepts honorary degree at Quinnipiac University

By Tony Swift

Ireland’s Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, accepted an honorary degree in humane letters last week at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. While there, he also visited the university’s Great Hunger museum, which contains the world's largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the Irish Famine.

Quinnipiac President John Lahey, as well as Provost and Vice President Mark Thompson and university trustee Hugh Keefe presented Kenny with the honor during ceremonies at the university before an audience that included Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Ann Anderson and Ireland’s Counsel General Maura Jones.

“I want to thank you for this honorary degree at Quinnipiac,” said Kenny. “I accept it proudly, mainly in honor of the million men, women and children who lost their lives in the great hunger. I accept it in the names of the millions of others who sought refuge and made a new home in the United States and elsewhere, and I accept it in honor of the thousands and thousands who set sail across the Atlantic in search of a new life, only to meet an early death and commitment to the ocean.”

John Lahey, Quinnipiac President, explained that the university had chosen to honor Kenny due to his dedication to his country and his leadership during a time of economic crisis. “In many ways, your story is the story of the new Ireland,” he said. “It is the story of a leader who has guided his country through its most difficult times. You have been a passionate defender of the rights of others, whether in Ireland, the United States, Africa or the European Union. As a result of your actions, Ireland today has the fastest growing economy in the European Union,” said Lahey.

Kenny also referenced the new wave of emigration that followed the country’s economic downfall causing tens of thousands of Irish citizens to move to the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. “In terms of our recent emigrants, our loss was America’s gain, but today we want our young people to come home because they and their children are our future. And we want them to have the best and be the best at home in their own country. Something that even today is denied to so many.”

The Taoiseach, who also addressed the United Nations General Assembly last week, added: “Given our history, Ireland is particularly attuned to the experiences of the men, women and children currently seeking refuge in Europe. In our generational memory, we know what it is like to flee, to be forced to leave everything and start anew with new people in a new place. We know what it is like not alone to seek refuge, but to long for a kind look, a kind word, recognition of our dignity, our shared humanity. Ireland is working with the EU to make sure we help as many of these people as possible. We cannot and we will not look away. Already our naval vessels are on rescue missions in the Mediterranean. Across our country there was been an outpouring of compassion and practical help.”