A poet-priest who devoted his life to the poor, an Irish historian and genealogist, and a tireless worker for many Irish organizations who died last year are the three 2008 honorees who will be inducted into the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame for 2008. Kathy McGee Burns, president of the organization, made the announcement this week.
The honorees are:
Father John P. McNamee
Father MacNamee–known as Father Mac–was, until his recent retirement, the pastor of St. Malachy’s Church and School in North Philadelphia. During his long tenure, he ministered not only to the poor of his parish but the poor of his community. With help from parishioners, former parishioners, and many Irish musicians (like Mick Moloney, who holds a benefit concert each year for St. Malachy’s), Father Mac was able to make St. Malachy’s financially self-sufficient. He is also a published poet. His most recent book is Donegal Suite, the result of two summers he spent in the Gaeltacht area of Ireland. His life was portrayed on screen in the movie “Diary of a City Priest,” based on his memoir.
This amateur Irish historian and genealogist who was one of the guiding forces behind the Commodore Barry Library, housed upstairs in the Irish Center in Mt. Airy. The library is a hidden treasure, filled with books, posters, and documents that trace Irish history both here and in Ireland. In a story that appeared this year on www.irishphiladelphia, Brennan explains why he devoted so much time to the library. “Maybe it’s my calling,” he told us. “I always figured the Irish didn’t get the credit they deserve.” In fact, it’s Brennan’s conviction that the Irish need to be recognized for their contributions to the city, the state, and the nation, that keeps him at his volunteer job.
Anne McFadden Donofry
Anne Donofry, who died on Sept. 17, 2007, was the backbone of many of the Irish Center organizations, including the Commodore Barry Club, the Philadelphia Ceili Group, the Donegal Society and the Delaware Valley Hall of Fame. “Anne knew how to do everything and tirelessly shared her talents with all who asked,” says Kathy McGee Burns, who worked with Donofry in many of those groups. “She left us too early but her heart still beats in our community.”
The three will be inducted at a ceremony on November 16 at the Irish Center in Philadelphia. The evening will start with a cocktail hour at 5 PM, dinner at 6 PM, with dancing to the Vince Gallagher Band. Tickets cost $50 and are limited. To get your tickets, contact Kathy McGee Burns at 215-619-0509, Sean McMenamin, 215-663-2328, Bob Hurst, 610-832-0380, or Bill Donohue, 215-886-3669.