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Monthly First Friday Club meeting

On Thursday afternoon we went to the monthly First Friday Club meeting which was held at the City Club of Cleveland.

During the introductions, Mr. Greg Spielman, the club president, said that the program that we were attending on this day was the third annual Father Nelson Callahan Memorial Luncheon. He went on to say that "Father Callahan was our club's Spiritual Moderator for around 45 years beginning in 1968 until his death in 2013...A noted scholar and historian, it is appropriate today that as part of honoring Father Callahan's memory, we have another historian with us today who will, like Father Manning last year, cover a dimension of the history of the local church in Cleveland."

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He then introduced the guest speaker who was our friend Dr. Margaret Lynch, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Irish American Archives Society, and the title of her presentation was "A Parish-Eye View of Early Irish Immigration to Cleveland." Dr. Lynch's speech covered very much the same territory as the one she gave on the Irish in Cleveland at the Western Reserve Historical Society on February 4th but it was good to hear it again to firmly implant the information in our minds. Once again, we learned about the different waves of immigration in the 19th century and where the Irish settled in Cleveland and the parishes/churches that were formed and created.

We did learn some things though, that we didn't know before now, such as the accomplishments and controversies surrounding Cleveland's first bishops who were Bishop Amadeus Rappe, who was French-born and served from 1847 to 1870, and Bishop Richard Gilmour, who was Scottish-born and served from 1872-1891, as well as other priests who were quite prominent in their times.

We have known Dr. Lynch for a long time now and always appreciate her passion for the subject matter that shines through in her lectures and the great detail that she goes into describing historical happenings.

We were also very fortunate on this day to encounter at the meeting Ms. Patricia Lavelle and Ms. Donna Leary (who greeted us last week at the "Walks of Life" dinner) so we got to make our reservation for the wonderful banquet that the Ancient Order of the Hibernians puts on every St. Patrick's Day.

In addition, it was a joy to meet Mr. Peter Covich who is 92 years old and looks not a day over 80. He swims three times a week at the YMCA, is active in several organizations and says his secret to doing so well is to "keep moving." Along these lines, he told us how he was inspired by a 114 year-old woman who recently took part in a 15 kilometer bicycle marathon. With a twinkle in his eye, Mr. Covich surmised, "I say I'm young; she's old."


Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC