Carrigan Division News
Below are some news articles that describe our organization’s mission, values, and the work we do to promote those things.
The Carrigan Division Delivers 400 Meals During Spring COVID-19 Surge
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVIII No. 1 January – February – March 2021
The Colorado Carrigan Division helped families in need during the springtime COVID-19 outbreak. Beginning on April 11, and continuing until June 7, The Carrigans provided more than 400 meals to families. The Carrigan Division paid for the meals prepared by Brother Noel Hickey, the owner of The Celtic on Market. His establishment is the headquarters for the Carrigan Division and he is the longtime host of the Carrigan’s New Years’ Eve Charity Celebration.
Father Charles Polifka OFM, Cap., the division chaplain, oversaw the distribution of the meals. Volunteers picked up the meals from Brother Hickey Sundays at about 10 a.m. and delivered them to Annunciation Parish, where Polifka is pastor.
The Joseph P. Carrigan division of Colorado hosts a New Year’s Eve fundraiser each year to support charitable causes, and COVID-19 won’t stop the cause — even though the fundraiser may look different this year.
About 500 people attend the fundraiser in normal years where they are treated to live Irish music, bagpipers, presentation by speakers and step dancers. The event is typically hosted at the Celtic on Market (1400 Market St.), the group’s
headquarters, and Denver‘s favorite Irish pub. The event begins each year on New Years’ Eve at 2 p.m. and then they toast the New Year at 5 p.m. MST — midnight in Dublin Ireland. The group is planning and hoping for an in-person celebration this year with everything being back to normal after COVID-19, but members understand most likely it won’t be that way. Because of that reality, the group is making special provisions to have the event live-streamed so that Hibernians throughout the world can attend the event virtually.
The Carrigan Division has also made the live auction from the event which generates about half of the total proceeds online. The city is assisting the group in closing the street adjacent to the event where they will erect an enclosed tent that normally would hold 1,000 people. In Colorado capacity for venues is restricted to 25 percent. If they can put 250 people in that tent they will make up the number of people that they lost from within the Celtic.
If the event has to be completely shut down because of a resurgence of COVID-19, the group will still be able to allow everyone to attend virtually. The group plans for there to be virtual greetings offered by many of the AOH national officers and from at least one of Colorado‘s US senators and a special greeting and blessing by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap.
Carrigan Division Visits Annunciation Parish in Leadville
July 11, 2020
Prior to touring The Free Irish Cemetery (featured in the story below), the Carrigans visited the Annunciation Parish in Leadville, Colorado, which has been heavily impacted by the economic impacts of COVID-19. After their tour of the parish, the Carrigan Division donated $500 to the Annunciation Parish.
Along with many other parishes on the Western Slope, Fr. Carrigan served as the dean of the Annunciation Parish in Leadville. Prior to getting re-assigned to the Western Slope, Fr. Carrigan served at what is now the Annunciation Parish in Denver. He even was involved in the building of the Annunciation church building in Denver, as well as the Annunciation church building in Leadville (pictured to the left), which is why many believe they look similar to one another.
Leadville’s Annunciation Parish is now part of the Archdiocese of Colorado Springs.
The Joseph P. Carrigan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Colorado recently visited a rediscovered Colorado cemetery that contains the remains of up to 2,000 Irish immigrant miners. The group took a road trip up in the mountains to Leadville to the cemetery two hours west of Denver, dubbed the Free Catholic Cemetery because the graves didn’t cost when needed. Experts say that a century ago, the cemetery was neglected and grew back into the forest — only to be recently rediscovered.
Most of the graves are unmarked and are only noticeable by the swails over each grave and the piles of rocks next to each one. The city platted the cemetery and so the names of about 1,200 of the people are known. The Carrigan Division is in discussions about potentially contributing to a new memorial on the site honoring the Irish miners and their families who rest there.
While in Leadville, the Carrigan group also toured the Annunciation Catholic Parish, built in 1880. The parish boasts having “The world’s highest steeple” at more than 10,000 feet. Fr. Carrigan, for whom the division is named, served as dean over the church and ministered to many of the Irish immigrants in Leadville and the surrounding area. In the photo, the division hears a presentation from the restoration fundraising committee member Luke Finken. From the left are division brothers John Aylward, Mike Boyd, Ed Schumm, Patrick Maguire, Rick Steck and Sean Hudson.
Carrigan Division Virtually Initiates 5 Brothers
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVII No.3- June – July 2020
Colorado’s Joseph P. Carrigan division virtually initiated five people last month to keep cautious amid the spread of coronavirus.
The division met May 19 via Zoom, the video conferencing application which has been used by millions for virtual meetings during the pandemic. The Carrigan division’s new brothers are Tom Cowhick, Kevin Coates, Mike Costello, Matt Steck and Chuck Tuffeld.
The division gave brother Patrick Maguire — the Carrigan division’s treasurer and former state president from both Michigan and New Jersey — the honor of conducting the initiation in what may have been the first zoom initiation in Ancient Order of Hibernians history.
Colorado’s Carrigan Division Meets Via Zoom Meeting
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVII No.2- April- May 2020
Members featured in photos (from top right to bottom left, going clockwise): Brother Rick Steck at home during the zoom call; Father Charles Polifka OFM, Cap , Division chaplain giving the blessing; Brother Will Chappell in his kitchen on the Zoom call; Zoom screen during the meeting featuring various members.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak across the U.S., Colorado’s Joseph P. Carrigan division met on Zoom for a video meeting on April 7. About 16 people met for the video conference, including three new potential recruits. Father Charles Polifka, O.F.M.Cap. the division chaplain was also a part of the meeting and led the division in prayer. While the Carrigan Division didn’t discuss any formal matters, there was no shortage of entertainment or things to catch up on.
Members discussed their whereabouts and how they were dealing with social distancing and isolation. One member, Naval Petty Officer Second Class Joseph Chappell, called in from a sailboat in South Florida. Michael Grady, a potential recruit, played the banjo and sang for the group. Michael O’Hara, a member currently living in New Orleans, introduced the division to his daughter who is just a few months old.
The video platform, Zoom, has been on the rise in recent years but has boomed through the spread of COVID-19. Everything from classes to work meetings to Ancient Order of Hibernian meetings has been held over the app. “There is a lot to think about, including how many things we can do over the internet. When we come out on the other side of this, we may rethink how we conduct meetings. Long-distance members can now attend.” Division President Jim Chappell said.
Colorado Carrigans Serve 150 Transitional Housing Women at the Samaritan House
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVII No.1- February- March 2020
On the fourth Thursday of each month, brothers of the Fr. Joseph P. Carrigan Division/ Colorado serve the evening meal to 150 of the transitional women’s homeless population in downtown Denver at Samaritan House. Scooping up the grub for the women are, from left, Brothers John Queen, Jim Chappell, Mike Sheridan, Dr. Mike Boyd, and longtime Hibernian friend and diaconate candidate George Lenihan.
Carrigan Colorado Hibernians Spread “Service” by Coaching Inner-City Basketball in Denver
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVII No.1- February- March 2020
Carrigan Division Rededicates its Charter
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXVII No.1- February- March 2020
The Fr. Joseph P. Carrigan Division/ Colorado rededicated its charter on December 17, 2019. The charter, which had been stored away for many years was installed in the room where the division conducts its monthly meeting at The Celtic on Market in downtown Denver. The charter was originally dated February 24, 2001. Celebrating the rededication and administering the blessing was Carrigan Chaplain Fr. Charles Polifka, OFM, Cap, left.
Unveiling the charter were, from left, Patrick Maguire, presently a Colorado/ Carrigan member and currently serving as the division’s treasurer and his wife Angela, longtime LAOH member. The Maguires, who recently relocated to Denver, are known for their service to the AOH and LAOH across the nation-mostly in Michigan and New Jersey, with both of them holding numerous titles in both states. Assisting them is John Aylward, former Colorado/ Carrigan division president and a refounding member of the Carrigan Division. John is also an iconic Colorado paramedic and responder/firefighter.
Today’s Homework: Submarine Sandwiches, Basketball, and Lightsabers for All
Denver Hibernian changing lives for the better
By Audrey Scott
The National Hibernian Digest Vol. LXXXV No. 3 USPS 373340 June-July 2018
Hibernian Digest Editor’s Note:
Liam Driscoll, the hero of this story, is a Hibernian in Denver. The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) sustains and strengthens under-resourced Catholic schools
through leadership formation, research and professional service to ensure that all children, especially those from low-income families, have the opportunity to experience the gift of an excellent Catholic education. Reprinted with permission.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Liam’s eyes fix on the clock above the blackboard.
Still no sign of one of his students.
“He showed up late if he showed up at all. Not just a few minutes, like right after the bell, but I mean 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. every day,” Liam Driscoll (Alliance for Catholic Education, Denver) remembers.
Some of the students in Liam’s class face challenges many of us can’t imagine – homelessness, incarcerated parents and instability each way they turn.
“One child would come into school and fall asleep because he would be up all night taking care of his little brother, just one-and-a-half years old,” says Liam.
Dr. Brian Collier (Faculty, ACE Teaching Fellows) remembered visiting Liam’s classroom. “Mr. Driscoll really had his hands full with the rest of the class. I saw one child amp up his antics, but Mr. Driscoll calmly and quietly kept re-directing him, showing tremendous patience and love. If you ask me, a saintly amount of both of those things.”
“Yes, he was disruptive, but I have several other kids that have traumatic home lives that lead them to act out in class, too.”
One child is different. “From the start, he was incredibly open. Of all those kids, he was the one who needed help the most, yet he was one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. In the face of all the adversity, challenges and stressful situations, he was so upbeat and confident. It was almost humorous how confident he was,” says Liam.
What would draw a 21-year-old, tough former college lacrosse player from Massachusetts to walk for even a minute in the shoes of an 8-year-old, underprivileged child?
The importance of belonging to an extended family community through lacrosse and four years at Xaverian Brothers, an all-boys Catholic high school in Massachusetts, “had a profound impact on my development as a student and as a person,” says Liam. “That’s where the ball started to really get rolling toward faith through action and God in all things.”
At the College of the Holy Cross, Liam chose to major in religious studies and Asian studies with a concentration in peace and conflict. “That allowed me to center myself around social justice,” he says. But right after taking the [Graduate Record Exam], having not done as well as he had hoped, his parents encouraged him to go the safe route and
work in New York City. Liam says they told him, “You’ve given enough of yourself, please just get a normal job.”
“I was so emotional and upset. I didn’t know what to do,” says Liam. His sister Lucy graduated from Notre Dame in 2013. She put Liam in touch with two of her closest friends, Elizabeth Jen (ACE 20, Sacramento) and Connor Geraghty (ACE 20, Los Angeles), who had graduated from the ACE program. He also spoke to Mary Pickens (ACE 21, Richmond) and Andrew Wittington (ACE 21, Chicago). “They talked me through what ACE was all about. I was totally hooked on the program.”
Hooked, yes, but now what tools did Liam have to reach out to his students?
Sandwiches. Meatball subs to be exact.
“I didn’t start with, ‘You’re not doing your homework. You’re not showing up to school. You’re gonna have to stay after!’” says Liam.
He added a touch of finesse.
Liam said to one, “I know how great of a guy you are, so between you and me, I am going to offer to keep you after every day. We’re going to do homework for an hour and then we’re going to play some sort of a sport and then I’m going to walk you home.” That’s essentially what he’s done every day since.
“It was our little deal,” Liam says. “If he gets his homework done five days in a row, we’ll eat lunch together and I’ll get him a Subway sandwich.”
“I thought this was all attention-seeking behavior,” says Dr. Collier, “but lo and behold in a few short days he had earned that lunch and Mr. Driscoll followed through.”
Following their agreed upon after-school program, Liam walks him to his grandmother’s house. “It’s about a 15-minute walk there and then about a two-minute walk back because he just goes so slow! We have these conversations, the same conversation almost every day . . . he quizzes me on who his favorite players are, who his favorite teams are . . . It’s been so funny,” says Liam.
“He is totally awesome. He’s such a great kid. It’s amazing. Why would he be happy? Why would he have this positive attitude? And yet he brings it every day and he has an incredibly strong faith.” He engages in class now, but the one subject where he thrives is religion. “He said his grandmother would take him to Mass, or maybe he just likes it. It’s the only subject where his hand is shooting up. It’s really moving,” says Liam.
“I’m so into it by now, that when I watch him every day I don’t always see it, except for those monumental days when I test him a little bit and realize, ‘Oh my gosh, that was awesome’. People who deal with him only once or twice a week see it and say there’s major shift in his ability to be present, in the way he carries himself and takes care of himself,” says Liam.
Does anyone else want in on the deal?
“I won’t let anyone ever tell me that ACE isn’t changing lives . . . it certainly is changing these students’ and it absolutely has made Mr. Driscoll a teacher.”
“A few other kids have started to stay after, too, and they’ll just chill in the classroom
and do their work.” On some of those days Liam doesn’t press the homework. “I’d just let
them play and I would play with them because I don’t know what is going on with these
kids at home.” He thinks an opportunity to play with a classmate will potentially be much
more impactful than dogmatically following the rules. “They were having a lightsaber
battle. This is the stuff that they need. That socio-emotional development: spending time
with another kid and simply having fun doing kid stuff.”
When asked about hopes for the future, Liam searches for the right words, “I hope that
I can . . . well, instill some . . . trust, stability, I mean, there are a couple of tough eggs to
crack in my class. Where these kids come from, some adults in theirlives are tough to trust,
so I don’t think they trust a lot of us. I don’t blame them, but I’d like to make some progress
with them. I hope that I can be some sort of positive influence.
“That’s easier said than done. Sometimes I can be a huge goofball and they might think
what the heck is this guy doing?” says Liam.
But maybe that’s exactly the thing that helps the kids relate to him. For now, Liam’s
willing to keep trying one meatball sub, basketball game, and light saber battle at a time.
Dr. Collier’s experience with Liam and his class has made an impression. He says, “I
won’t let anyone evertell me thatACE isn’t changing lives . . . it certainly is changing these
students’ and it absolutely has made Mr. Driscoll a teacher.”