The annual NJAOH Memorial Mass was held on November 12th, 2011 at the St Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark. The intention of the mass was to remember both those who died in the Great Hunger as well as the AOH brothers who died in 9-11.
The Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Neil Mahoney. St Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral was a very appropriate site for this memorial because fighting hunger is a cause taken up by Msgr. Mahoney and the parish’s soup kitchen. As the mass was being held, the parish’s soup kitchen was feeding the hungry in the very next building. This served as a very strong reminder of how the great Irish hunger has a strong influence even today. The Mass was also the site of the NJAOH’s Memorial Mass in 2001 that recognized the AOH victims of 9-11.
Most of the AOH brothers who died were members of the Port Authority Police. Bill Baroni, the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of NY & NJ, along with the PAPD Pipe Band, and officers Ray Corbo and Kim Bonsanti came out to recognize those AOH & PAPD officers who died on that tragic day. Director Baroni spoke about how the Irish were strongly involved with the WTC from its original construction in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the tragic attacks in 1993 & 2011, and are still involved in the current projects.
Noel Kilkenny, the Irish Consul General from NY, spoke about the strong influence that hunger has even today in Ireland. He had mentioned that the Irish Government provides a vast amount of hunger aid to developing countries in Africa and when the government considered to cut aid amid the current financial crunch the Irish people were the ones who spoke out against cutting support for the hungry. Consul General Kilkenny also spoke about the impact that 9-11 had on the Irish people and stated that Ireland is the only country outside of the US that recognizes 9-11 as a day of remembrance.
In recognition of the Irish people’s support for the WTC the Port Authority presented Consul General Kilkenny with a celtic cross that was cut from an I beam from the WTC.