MENTION singing priests and many immediately think of Dermot Morgan of Fr Ted fame and his song â€œMy Lovely Horse.â€
But here in Limerick we have our own talented clergy, who once drew huge crowds not just to local masses, but to concerts in the UK, Europe and the US.
And now members of the original Sagart clergy group are back with a bang, headlining a new group of seven priests of the Diocese of Limerick who are about to serve up a special celebration, through word and song, in an upcoming concert and CD they are selling for charity.
The priests - including diocesan administrator Fr Tony Mullins - have joined up with five young lay musicians and narrator Fr Frank Oâ€™Connor on both the CD project and the special performance that will bring it to life at St Johnâ€™s Cathedral on Friday, December 16.
â€œChristmas is the ultimate season of hope. Itâ€™s a time when we really can believe that all things are possible. Hope is the essential message of the birth of Christ and we need that sense of hope now more than ever,â€ said Fr Loughran.
â€œThe idea for this celebration of hope was borne out of our own challenges as a clergy and our resultant need of hope. We have been affected here in the Limerick Diocese as much as any other over recent years by various revelations and fall-outs from them but there is no where we need to look to for hope in the darkest hours other than in the birth of Christ, â€œ he added.
Among the songs on the CD, which will also be performed at the concert, include favourites such as Silent Night, When a Child is Born, Adeste Fideles as well as some new material. Proceeds from both the CD sales and the concert will go towards the Limerick Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. The CD, complete with 17 tracks and some narration, will be released on Monday next and be available to purchase for â‚¬15 at Abbey Book Store or St Johnâ€™s Cathedral. Tickets for the concert are now sale at the Limerick Pastoral Centre Denmark Street and St Johnâ€™s Cathedral.