Celtic cross. Photo credit: materod via Flickr CC NC ND 20 CNA
Denver, Colo., Mar 17, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- They’re Irish, they’re Catholic, and they’re proud. But you maybe haven’t heard of them.
They’re the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Lady’s Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organizations in the United States.
Non-Irish need not apply to the orders – membership is reserved for those who can prove that at least some Irish blood flows through their veins. The word ‘Hibernian’ is another word for Irishmen, taken from ‘Hibernia’, the classical Latin term for Ireland.
Members also must be practicing Catholics willing to stand up for and support the Catholic Church.
Today, the order functions similarly to other Catholic charitable organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, but with an Irish twist. They support many Catholic causes such as vocations and pro-life work, but they also promote Irish culture and education on Irish history, and help modern-day Irish immigrants to the U.S. and support a free and united Ireland.
“If you had a group of us in a room you’d have twice as many opinions as you’d have people,” Danny O’Connell, National Vice President for the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, told CNA.
“But the thing that pulls us all together is our culture, our music, our traditions, many of which came from the immigrants.”