Ancient Order of Hibernians
Padraig Pearse-Division 2
Pinellas County, Florida
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish American Fraternal Organization founded in New York City in 1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a parent organization of the same name, which has existed in Ireland for over 300 years. However, while the organizations share a common thread, the North American A.O.H. is a separate and much larger organization.
The Order evolved from a need in the early sixteen hundreds to protect the churches and the lives of priests who were keeping the Catholic Faith alive at risk of certain death in occupied Ireland during the reign of England’s King Henry VIII. When England Implemented its dreaded Penal Laws in Ireland, various secret social societies were formed across the country. These groups worked to aid and comfort the people by whatever means available. Similarly, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America was founded May 4th, 1836 at New York’s St. James Church, to protect the clergy, and church Property from the “Know Nothings” and their followers. At the same time the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing famine issues in Ireland in the late 1840′s, prompted a growth of various social societies in the USA – the largest of which was, and continues to be, the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Active throughout the United States, The Order still seeks to aid newly arrived Irish socially and politically, but is also very active in numerous community programs and charities.
The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with Ireland for those who are generations removed from the country. The AOH sponsors many of the programs associated with promoting our Irish Heritage such as the IRISH WAY PROGRAM. You may further seek admittance to the FINEST Irish Catholic Organization in the World — all we would ask is for you to live our motto of:
“Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity”.