ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
History of the Padraic Pearse
Pinellas County Division 2
ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS IN AMERICA
The AOH Pinellas Division 2 was the brainchild of Edmund T. Pauly whom after several
years was an officer of the AOH James Comerford Pinellas Division 1. Those who lived south
of Ulmerton Road in Pinellas County found it challenging to get to meetings in Clearwater and
Palm Harbor. On the 10th of December 1995, Florida State President Patrick Gilligan installed
the Division at Transfiguration Catholic Church in St. Petersburg.
The Division moved to St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in the Fall of 2011
in an attempt to recruit new members. The first meeting at the new home occurred on October
15, 2011. We maintained a website www.aohpinellas2.org under member Jim Brett.
The current meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30PM except
for July and August. The Mission of the Division is to recruit new members of Irish-Catholic
Heritage and the Clergy, support the Church and local events.
Sean Denny has served as Division President since December 1999. Several members
have served on the Florida State Board. Sean Denny was elected State Secretary 1999-2003,
then Vice President 2003-2007, then State President 2007-2011.
AOH PINELLAS 2 MEMBERS_____________
The Shamrock Degree ceremony was held in January starting in 2012. Members who
took the Shamrock Degree since then were: Thomas Conley, Frank Dillon, Robert Miller, John
Wood, Michael McDermott, and Timothy Moroney. Key transfers included Charlie Rooney
(SC), John Dyer (MA), and William O’Hanlon (NY), and Fr. Conrad Harkins (PA). Other
Members were: Michael Brennan and Joseph “Ned” Flynn.
St. Mary’s Parishioner Gary Pedone, Hibernian from Danbury, Connecticut started
visiting our meetings since April 2012. Charles Rooney from South Carolina became Division
Treasurer in the summer of 2012. On November 24th, 2013, we assembled at the Cathedral of
St. Jude. Bishop Robert Lynch awarded Jim Prior and Frank Dillon with the Medal of St. Jude.
Jim Gillis became a Secular Franciscan on February 16, 2014 at St. Anthony’s Hospital.
_________ Contributions to the Church___________
We dedicated a brick at St. Mary’s in honor of our founding Chaplain Msgr. John Bolger.
In 2011, we contributed 1468 Service Hours for the Church. The Division established donations
to local charities starting March 2012 at the choice of the host Pastor of St. Mary’s. On March
17th, 2012, our Chaplain Fr. Michael Perry concelebrated with St. Mary’s Pastor Fr. Cletus
Watson. We gave donations to Pinellas Hope’s Sheila Lopez, Daystar’s Jane Walker, and St.
Mary’s. By the end of 2012, we contributed 100+ Service Hours for the Church. Fr. Tony
Fortunato, Mercedarian Priest recruited in 2005 came back to St. Petersburg from Cleveland,
On March 16th, 2013, we participated in our second St. Patrick’s Mass at St. Mary’s. We
donated $160 to St. Mary’s Faith Formation in care of Sam Marable. In the Fall of 2013, Most
Rev. Robert Lynch, Bishop of St. Petersburg wrote “I know the organization well and am
grateful for its presence in the diocese and this local Church.” We welcomed St. Mary’s
incoming Pastor Fr. Damian Amantia from March 2011 and officially installed in November
In 2104, we helped with St. Mary’s Fat Friday Fundraiser at the St. Petersburg Museum
of History on February 28th. We donated $300.00 to St. Mary’s Faith Formation on March 15th.
We also donated $50.00 to pay for 25 books of REDISCOVER CATHOLICISM to distribute
over Easter Weekend. We organized the Easter Monday Mass on April 21st. The mass began at
St. Mary’s at 12:10pm and actively participated in the ceremony. The reception convened at
Finley’s Irish Pub in Largo following the Mass. State President Greg Canning entertained us
with Easter Monday History. Jim Gillis, Robert Miller, and Sean Denny attended the Ordination
of Fr. Brian Fabiszewski on May 17th.
Fr. Tony Fortunato invited us to the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mercy at the Chapel of St.
Jude’s on September 24th. Fr. Tony was the main celebrant with six other priests, many of them
Mercedarians. Jim Gillis, Charlie Rooney, Jim Whelan, Jim Prior, Margaret Pauly, and Sean
Denny were the other Hibernians present. After the mass, we attended a Vocation Holy Hour in
the Cathedral. Then we attended a reception at the Mercedarian House across the street.
_________ Contributions to the Community___________
We have participated in Pro-Life activities especially the annual 40 Days For Life
Campaign every fall since 2008. Jim Gillis and Jim Prior actively participated in a weekly
communion to the Pinellas County Correctional Facility and help Pinellas Hope. Frank Dillon
asked us to participate in Mobile Meals for Families through the Knights of Columbus and St.
Vincent DePauls. We delivered hot meals to at risk families for several weeks that summer.
Michael Brennan organized Stand Up For Freedom Prayer Rallys throughout 2012 in St.
We actively participated in Membership Drives at the Florida State Fair since 2012 and
the Bay Area Renaissance Fair at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry since 2013. We
donated $110 to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Fall of 2012.
IRISH AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Since 2010, the AOH National Board asked for all AOH State and Divisions to ask the
State Governors to declare March as Irish American Heritage Month. On the local level, we
have acquired Proclamations from local Mayors and city commissioners. In 2012, we received
IAHM Proclamations from the Pinellas County Commissioners and the St. Petersburg City
Council. In 2013, we received Proclamations from Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Pinellas Park, St.
Petersburg, Pasadena, and Clearwater. In 2014, we received Proclamations from Safety Harbor,
Indian Shores, Clearwater, Gulfport, Treasure Island, Dunedin, Pasadena, and St. Petersburg.
Sean Denny attended the National Conventions in Turning Stone (July 2012) and St.
Louis (July 2014). Charlie Rooney and Sean Denny drove to the South Carolina State
Convention on September 28th, 2013 in Rock Hill, SC. Our Division was awarded a Charities
and Missions Award at the National Convention in St. Louis on August 1, 2014 for contributions
The following are brothers who have gone to their eternal rest and our Division is
indebted to their service:
Martin Geary-December 2012
Thomas O’Brien-January 2013
Michael Brennan-April 2013
Documented by Sean Denny, Past Florida State President on September 24, 2014