I am addressing you from my home here in New Orleans. Home is where most of us have been isolated for the past three weeks. We know the global pandemic has weighed greatly on the minds of each and every one of us these past few weeks as our family, friends, and communities have struggled to cope with illness and the side effects of isolation, job loss, and anxiety. We were called to duty, as Catholics and civic-minded Americans, to provide needed leadership during the period of unknown. Hibernians across the country answered that call.
We stood united with our Bishops, as they made the difficult decision to close the doors of the church and move services online. We stood united with our elected officials and community organizers, as St. Patrick’s Day parades and celebrations were cancelled. We continue to stand as leaders among our family and friends as we battle through this difficult time. We absolutely must continue to follow the recommendations of our local, state, and federal officials in an effort to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
Our hearts weigh heavy every time we hear about another Brother falling victim to this awful illness; we must do everything within ourselves to help prevent any additional loss of life.
As we yearn for a greater sense of normalcy and fellowship, we look out towards the AOH & LAOH National Convention in Orlando in late July as a ray of hope. In addition to conducting the business of the Order, the convention will be a wonderful opportunity to reunite and celebrate “All Things Irish” with our brothers and sisters from across the country.
With that said, we absolutely understand the potential impact this crisis has on our future plans in Orlando and any need to make alternate arrangements. AOH Leadership and the Host Committee are continually assessing the situation and will heed the advice of the leading health experts as we move forward. If alternative arrangements are needed, we already have a team of brothers who have stepped up to ensure the business of the Order will be carried out. Be assured, the health and safety of our brothers and sisters will be at the forefront of all decisions.
Our 184-year history as an organization clearly indicates that problems do not defeat us; problems unite us. We bring a wealth of caring, hope, and resilience to all of the challenges we face. We know the brotherhood that binds us will carry us through these difficult days.
There is an expression down here on the Golf Coast that is used often in another season, but this season its certainly relevant also. Every storm eventually runs out of rain and so too, this storm shall pass. Brothers, I pray that we will see many of you in Orlando this coming July. God Bless and be safe.
In our Motto,