A full and complete Hibernian is achieved through the degree program

The Degree Ceremonies are designed to:

  1. Provide a dignified and orderly example of conducting the meetings of the Society.
  2. Impress candidates with the meaning and prepare them to practice the Motto of The Order – Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.
  3. Waken a pride in the ancient race of their forefathers, and develop an interest in the history and destiny of that race.
  4. Encourage members to live the ideals and practice the virtues which have distinguished the Irish people from the earliest ages.
  5. Strengthen them in their faith, make them practical in their duties and loyally observant of the precepts of the Catholic Church.

The AOH Degree Program comprises two separate ceremonies – The Shamrock Degree, formerly known as The Lesson of The Motto, and The Major Degrees, also known as The Tower Degree.



 First Degree: The Shamrock Degree is an instruction in the motto of our Order and is usually taken at a Division meeting given by the Division President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Chairman of the Standing Committee, or a Shamrock Degree Team appointed by the Division, or higher authority.

 The Major Degrees:

o Second Degree: The Lesson of the Tower and Friendship.

o Third Degree: The Lesson of Harmony and the danger of Factions.

o Fourth Degree: The Lesson of Patriotism and Charitable commitment to faith and nation.

o The Trial: The Final Lesson and Test of The Order.

The major degree program exemplification is conducted by a team. These teams will travel to conduct an exemplification and the cost is defrayed by fees charged. There is normally a Major Degree program offered at the AOH National Conventions as well.

The AOH National Constitution specifies the following as one of the duties of the National Vice President: “Be responsible for advancing and promoting the Degree work of the Order” (Article X, Section 2, B).


The Rituals and Degrees of the AOH are an important component of who and what we are as an organization. While it is essential for us to urge our members to take the Major Degree, it is also incumbent on us to assure that the Degree Teams themselves are available to perform this service wherever required.

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