ARCO regrets to inform its members of the death, on Saturday, 21st January 2023, of Father Mícheál Mac Gréil SJ of Loughloon, Westport and Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin, peacefully in his 92nd year at Mayo University Hospital. Predeceased by his parents Austin & Molly, brother Lieutanant-Colonel Jack (23 Cadet Class) and sister Mary. Deeply regretted by his loving brothers Austin, Fr. Owen, Commandant Pat (36 Cadet Class), sister-in-law Margie, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, relatives, Saint Francis Xavier Jesuit Community and The Irish Jesuit Province, former students and colleagues of Maynooth University, neighbours, Defence Forces colleagues and his many friends.
Ar dheis Dé dá anam
Mícheál Mac Gréil was born in Clonaslee, County Laois in 1931 and grew up in Westport. He enlisted in the Defence Forces as a member of 25 Cadet Class, was commissioned on 24 November 1952 into the Infantry Corps, and was posted to A Company, 3 Infantry Battalion in the Curragh. Fr Mícheál retired from the Defence Forces in 1959 with the rank of Lieutenant and joined the Jesuits but maintained his connection with the Army by spending time as a chaplain in the Curragh after he was ordained. He was an active member of the 3 Battalion Retired Officers Association for many years and regularly celebrated the annual Mass for deceased members. He studied in Ireland, in Leuven in Belgium, and then in Kent State University, Ohio and was ordained in 1969. He lectured in sociology in NUI Maynooth from 1971 to 1996 where he completed three surveys on prejudice and tolerance in Ireland. His initial study won the Ewart-Biggs prize jointly with ATQ Stewart. In 1992 he wrote a biography of Monsignor James Horan, the colourful parish priest of Knock who founded Knock International Airport. On retirement from academic life in 1996, Fr Mícheál was based at Saint Mary’s Parish in Wesport where he took particular interest in campaigning for the opening of the Western Rail Corridor as well as the Irish language. He published The Irish Language and the Irish People, a report on attitudes towards the Irish language in Ireland from 2007 to 2008. A passionate supporter of minorities, he gave particular attention to the treatment of Travellers in Ireland publishing The Emancipation of the Travelling People in 2010. Reverting to earlier studies, in 2012 Fr Mícheál published Pluralism and Diversity in Ireland: Prejudice and Related Issues in Early 21st century Ireland. Fr Micheál was the recipient of the papal honour, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and the Mayo Hall of Fame: ‘for services to his native county and his country, first as a soldier, and later in his work for the underprivileged’.
Father Mícheál’s remains will repose in The Cuslough Community Centre (F28 HY30) on Wednesday (January 25th) from 5:00pm with removal at 8:00pm to The Church of the Sacred Heart, Cushlough. Removal on Thursday morning (January 26th) at 9:30am to St. Mary’s Church, Westport via Loughloon. Father Mícheál will repose in Saint Mary’s Church from 11:00am until 12:30pm. Requiem Mass will take place at 1:00pm with the funeral proceeding to Aughavale Cemetery. Funeral Mass will be live streamed on www.churchtv.ie/westport
Members may wish to leave personal messages in the ‘Condolences’ section of Father Mícheál’s death notice on rip.ie – https://rip.ie/death-notice/fr.-m%C3%ADche%C3%A1l-mac-gr%C3%A9il-sj-westport-mayo/523564