On Thursday 26 January 2023, Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop Emeritus of Tuam, delivered a Homily for the Funeral Mass of Father Micheál MacGréil SJ in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, Co Mayo, Archdiocese of Tuam.
In his homily, Archbishop Neary said, “Micheál was primarily a priest and while he initiated and espoused various causes he always did so as a priest whether it was prison reform, the Irish language or the Western Rail Corridor. Although he retired from his position as lecturer the word retirement was not in his vocabulary. There was always a ruthless honesty about Micheál. When Pope Francis was elected Pope, Micheál acknowledged that Pope Francis had studied in Milltown Park while Micheál was there but he said that he couldn’t remember him. It has been established since however that the Pope remembers Micheál!”
Archbishop Neary continued, “To his eternal credit I have to say that he was always one who focused on the issue. He never allowed personalities to distract from the central issue. His integrity and openness did so much to influence people of different faiths and no faith. As a former colleague in Maynooth I knew how much an tAthair Micheál enjoyed the cut and thrust of robust debate. You could disagree with him but he never became disagreeable – a hugely attractive trait in any person.
He concluded “One could go on and on but today is a day of thanksgiving, thanksgiving to God for the priesthood and thanksgiving to God in a special way for Micheál MacGréil for the way in which he so courageously, faithfully and energetically lived his priestly ministry. We thank God for the hope, the courage and the joy that he brought to so many people.”
Read the full statement here.