By Frank Cull
Rev. Father Donal F. Forrester, chaplain for the Father Francis P. Duffy Post of the Catholic War Veterans, worries about his good friend for whom the post was named. Rumors abound that statues of Father Francis P. Duffy and George M. Cohan that now sit majestically in Times Square will be moved to Central Park.
Fighting Father Duffy gained fame as the military chaplain for the Fighting 69th, an Irish American regiment that ruled the trenches of Europe during World War One. Father Forrester has a two-fold problem. He’s looking for the Emerald Societies to jump into the fray to save the statues from being moved and also for new members to save his beloved Post. He’s particularly interested in Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War vets to enlist in the Catholic War Vets.
Father Forrester, no stranger to the Irish-American community, is chaplain emeritus for the County Mayo Association and is an honorary chaplain for the NYC police, fire and correction Emerald Societies.
The Gaelic speaking Paulist hit the beaches during World War II as a chaplain and was cited on more than one occasion for valor. He speaks glowingly of the Irish-American Catholic tradition.
"The tradition of Catholic War Vets goes back to George Washington’s time and let’s not forget the contributions of the Irish Brigade during the Civil War," he said. "Who could forget Pat O’Brien playing Father Duffy in the movies ‘The Fighting 69th’?"
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Shifting into high gear, he continued rattling off numbers like, "Half the Marines in World War II were Catholic as were over 40 percent of the elite 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions that spearheaded the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944."
Members in the Post (you must be a War veteran) would be required to attend only six to 10 meetings a year. He’s also looking for a chaplain and the Post Padre does not have to be a War Veteran. Each emerald societies should send a delegate from their organization to help Fr. Forrester and if each local American Legion Posts did the same thing, all Chaplain Forrester’s problems would be solved.
For more information, call Fr. Forrester at (212) 265-3209.
The newest emerald society is the San Francisco Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society. Only six months old, its membership rolls are already over the 250 mark.
As part of the St. Patrick’s season, Mayor Willie Brown issued an official proclamation designating March 5 as "National Law Enforcement Emerald Society Day" in San Francisco.
The Bay Area Police Emeralds are led by President Val Kirwan, Vice President Kevin Wiley, Treasurer Marty Halloran and Secretary Joseph McFadden.
The NYPD and FDNY emerald Gaelic football clubs are in spring training. After a score of games ending in a tie, the Coppers broke the string the last time around with a one point win over the Blazebeaters.
Police Coach Dan Kiely has recruited Jerry Linehan, John Riordan, John Walsh and Michael Higgins for his club. Over in the firehouse, a trio of recruiters have put out a "mayday" call for new players. Coaches Bill Nolan ( 889-4645), Brian Murphy ( 431-5799), and Jim Hartnett ( 994-3471) have put out a borough call for new players, even "ruggers."
Trip to Ireland
President John Fitzgerald of the NYC Police Department Emerald Society has announced that Patty Lyons has been appointed chairperson for its annual trip to Ireland. The trip will kick off on July 13 through July 23 via Aer Lingus. During the 10-day period, the police Emeralds will be staying in first-class hotels in Killarney, Dublin and Galway City. Daily bus trips to a variety of destinations have also been scheduled. For more information, call Lyons at (718) 548-6487.
Tom Smart, Tom Mullowney and Mike Haggerty of the Emerald Society of the Federal Law Enforcement Agencies got their Irish up with the American Greeting Card Company, which published a St. Patrick’s Day greeting card making light of The Famine with a card entitled "The Couch Potato Famine." The Emerald complaint resulted in a public apology by the company for its insensitivity. It also announced it would pull the card from circulation.
Emerald congratulations to NYC Police Emerald Tom Fennel, who was elected president of the Rockland County Gaelic Athletic Association.
The Police Emerald Society of Westchester Bagpipe Band made the Dara Records catalog in the Pipe Band section. For more information, call 1 (800) 714-3272.
When not maintaining law and order in the halls of Sing Sing Prison, Chris Holdes is forming an Emerald Society within the ranks of the New York State Department of Correction.
West Point Tattoo
The West Point Tattoo is scheduled for Sunday, April 25, starting at noon at Trophy Point on the grounds of West Point. A number of Emerald Society bagpipe bands will be participating.
President Al Gleason and the Police Emerald Society of Westchester were saddened by the passing of one of their chaplains, Rev. Msgr. James McDermott. May he rest in everlasting peace.
Rockland County Police Emerald Society honored a quartet of supporters at their Pearl River St. Patrick’s Day Post-Parade Party.
President Tom Gaynor saluted State Senator Joe Holland, Orangetown Legislator Pat Moroney, Assemblyman Sam Colman and their accountant and advisor, Jack Reilly.