The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America is becoming younger every day. Young Irish-American adults are discovering the AOH, the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in the U.S. These new members are quickly emerging as the next generation of Irish American leaders.
The Hibernians recently formed a volunteer Marketing, Promotion and Advertising committee that may be the youngest AOH committee in history. These talented young men come from divisions all across the country, refreshing the AOH look by rebranding the organization, creating electronic advertising, and embracing social media. The Hibernians are in the initial phase of their first national advertising campaign in history.
AOH New Brand
The Patrick Pearse Division, located in Columbus, Ohio, is an example of one of the many divisions embracing younger members. The Division has seen a surge in new membership, bringing dozens of young professionals and college students into the fold. The younger members of the Division describe the AOH as being a “home away from home” for those who have moved to Columbus for work or school; a place to grow their Catholic faith, network for professional development, expand their community and build friendships and bonds with those who share their Irish-American heritage.
For young veterans and active military it is a place to reconnect and develop the bonds of fellowship. The Division has been aided by a thriving Irish music scene in Columbus, where attending shows has been an excellent venue for growing Division comradery and recruiting new members with an appreciation for Irish culture.
As always, AOH members continue the tradition of initiating younger family members into the Irish Catholic tradition. This was the case for the 2016 NY AOH Scholarship winner Sean Cummings, an active member of Division 2, in Orange County. Sean joined the Order in November 2014 just after his 16th birthday. The now 19-year-old recently discussed his scholarship award:
“It gave me a sense of high academic achievement, but more importantly it bolstered my pride in my heritage and left me with a sense of celebration in being an Irish-American. In terms of monetary assistance, the funds helped me purchase the many textbooks I need to complete my studies each semester. At every opportunity, I spout the praises of the Order and the many opportunities membership has to offer to those my age at the beginning of their college years and careers.
In addition to the camaraderie and the many social events, I enjoy our division’s community service initiatives such as assisting local food kitchens, delivering dinners to the less fortunate and raising funds for veterans’ causes. This sense of service is in me now and I continue to participate in similar activities while away at school. Service to others is a fulfilling and rewarding experience and something I will continue into my adult life and future career.”
Irish America, the Ancient Order is on the move. If you are Irish, Catholic and residing in the U.S., now is the time to investigate your membership in the AOH by visiting www.AOH.com and signing up for more information here. Now is the perfect time to embrace your Irish heritage by joining the AOH Irish American community. Be the voice of Irish America!