AOH Delivers Raffle Proceeds

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Last Friday night, the lads of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21 of Rockaway Beach and Breezy Point once again lived true to their motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity as they personally delivered donations from their successful St. Patrick’s Day Raffle to four local parishes.

Each pastor of the parishes: Father James Rodriguez of St. Rose of Lima, Father Bill Sweeney of St. Francis de Sales, Monsignor Richard Ahlemeyer of St. Camillus/St. Virgilius and Father Michael Gelfant of Blessed Trinity were personally handed a $5,000 check to spend as they see fit within their parishes. To say the men of the cloth were happy is an understatement. Father Gelfant of Blessed Trinity said that the money was coming “at a perfect time” as they are preparing for much needed structural repair work to be started on the roof of St. Thomas More Church, one of the three churches that makes up the parish of Blessed Trinity in Breezy Point. Father Gelfant informed the check deliverers that the donation will be used to purchase bells for the bell tower of the 70+ year old church.

The raffle, a brainchild of AOH Div. 21 Christian Charity Committee Chairman John Fahy Sr., was originally set to coincide with Division’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Dance in February but was moved back to St. Patrick’s Day itself due to the cancellation of this year’s dance for pandemic-related reasons. The current COVID pandemic created many challenges for the men of the order to sell their tickets, but with the help of two outstanding ladies in Rockaway, Lynda Collins and Elizabeth Hanna, and the determination of the lads, it was ultimately successful.

Christian Charity is nothing new for the group of Irish lads from all over the Rockaways and Breezy Point, as they have used their annual Rockaway Irish Festival each year to raise much-needed monies for local parishes and Christian causes. Since the inception of the Irish Fest after Superstorm Sandy in 2013, the Division has donated $265,000 to local parishes and organizations.

AOH Division 21 President Mark Edwards had the following to say about the raffle donations: “It is always a great day when we can give much needed monetary help to our local churches. I am especially proud of the boys who, despite an ongoing pandemic, were able to make this raffle a rousing success. Though we couldn’t have our annual Irish Festival, Golf Outing for Special Olympics and Night at the Races fundraisers, we found a way to give back to our community who always supports our endeavors. Thank you to everyone that helped make our raffle a success and for helping us fulfill our motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.”

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