This is the most challenging message to date that I have made an effort to write. In a typical year, I would have numerous events, stories and anecdotes to share, not the least of which would be recent memories of another successful and enjoyable Irish Festival full of laughter, music and Brotherhood. Instead I look back on the last few weeks since our first “virtual” Dooley Division meeting and have to wonder where those weeks gone and with no significant events planned or held, how did I fill my time?
I expect others are asking similar questions whether that is related to family life, work or our Division. Without offering too much cliché, I would suggest that as an individual I need to and as a Division, we need to focus on what we can control. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most unusual and disruptive experience likely for any of us causing exceptional uncertainty and lack of clarity to every routine we are familiar with. Understanding that, as a Division we have set out to maintain as much normalcy as possible with our monthly business meeting as the cornerstone. We will hold the 2nd of our virtual Business meetings on May 12, 2020 at 7 pm. We will hold the Division Officers Meeting from 6:15-6:45 on the 12th just prior to the regular Business meeting. I’ve asked Pat Shea to set up the Zoom session starting at 6:15. The Officers will take a break for a few minutes to allow Brothers to “Zoom” into the regular Business Meeting at 7 pm. Maintaining that interaction, even if it is in a small rectangle on a screen, allows us at least to hear each other’s voices, share a laugh and a prayer together. Those are after all at the core of what we do as Hibernians.
There are a few updates I wanted to share that we can discuss further at our meeting:
- I was informed on Friday that Saint Michael’s will remain closed, with all events cancelled though July 1st, at which time scheduling and events will be reassessed. I don’t know if that duration applies to Masses but as far as how that affects the Dooley Division, our June meeting has been cancelled.
- As of this weekend, we have no further update on rescheduling or canceling of the Irish Festival, in turn relating to our discussion of setting a date for the raffle drawing. We need to hope for the best that the Festival can be rescheduled at a time suitable to closing out our raffle sales but plan for the worst, which is the Festival is cancelled outright for 2020.
- Raffle Chair Jim Woods and Financial Secretary John Costello have received several more dues payments or tickets and $100 in lieu of dues. However, more than one-quarter of the Brothers have not yet paid dues. If you can pay your dues of $35 or $10 (>75 years) or sell 10 raffle tickets to waive the dues requirement and turn in the tickets and money to Jim or John, that will be much appreciated. If there are any challenges or hardships affecting businesses large to small which in turn have reduced or eliminated a Brothers work, hours or income, please let someone know so that can be accounted for.
- The National AOH convention is still scheduled for July in Orlando, Fla. National AOH President Jim McKay is assessing the viability of holding the Convention based on a poll of those registered to attend as well as local, State and Federal guidance including related to travel. A decision will be made by June 15 regarding the Convention. What we can control related to that is choosing delegates for the Convention, in the hopeful event it goes as planned in Orlando, or some alternative virtual plan is developed. We will discuss and vote on that Tuesday evening.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to our 2nd virtual meeting and our effort to maintain some normalcy despite nearly every point of discussion being something out of the ordinary. It may be slightly melodramatic but as Irish-Americans, everyone of us has one or more Irish descendants who at some point in their lives faced the uncertainty of leaving behind the land the knew to face the uncertainty of a starting a new life in America. In comparison to that, the uncertainty we may be working through presently as Hibernians, pales in comparison.
Stay safe and healthy. See you virtually Tuesday evening.
In Friendship, Unity, and Christian Charity,
President Major James Dooley Division
Ancient Order of Hibernians