A special Mass was held on Monday 6 June, in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, to celebrate 100 years since the foundation of Cumann na Sagart. Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, celebrated the Mass with Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe, preaching the homily. Music at the Mass was performed by the parish choir from Ráth Cairn, Co Meath.
Speaking with Tuairisc.ie ahead of the centenary Mass, President of Cuman na Sagart, An tAth Séamus Ó hÉanaigh, said that it is vital that priests are available to serve the Irish speaking communities:
‘Ainneoin na n-athruithe ar fad i saol na hÉireann agus na dúshláin ollmhóra atá againn sa lá atá inniu ann, tá sé riachtanach freastal ar phobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta trí chéile. Tá sé ríthábhachtach dúinn ár n-oidhreacht spioradálta a chaomhnú agus a scaipeadh. Agus tá sé tábhachtach chomh maith go mbeidh sagairt traenáilte ar fáil le freastal ar phobal na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta agus go mbeidh na háiseanna agus na téacsanna cuí ar fáil le tacú leis na sagairt agus leis an bpobal’.
[Translated from Irish:] ‘Despite all the changes in Irish society and the enormous challenges we face today, it is necessary to serve the Irish community in general, as well as the Gaelteacht. It is vital that we preserve and promote our spiritual heritage. It is also important that trained priests are available to serve the Irish community and the Gaelteacht and that facilities and texts are there for to support the priests and the public’.
Cumann na Sagart provides support for priests and religious who serve Gaeltacht communities and Irish speakers around the country. The group was formally established at the Maynooth Union in June 1916, initially known as Cumann na Sagart nGealach.