Fr. Peter Daly
February 18, 2010
Fr. Peter Daly talks about his friends, Fr. Eugene O’Hagan and Fr. Martin O’Hagan, two members of the Irish singing groups “The Priests.” .
I flipped on the TV and stopped in my tracks.
There on screen was a good friend from seminary days, Fr. Eugene O’Hagan.
He was singing Panis Angelicus. Next to him was his brother Martin, also a priest. There was a third priest singing with them whom I did not know, Fr. David Delargy.
at the bottom of the screen said they were singing in the Cathedral at Armagh
magical. Then PBS interrupted to ask for money. I sent them some money so I
could get the CD. Their CD, entitled simply “The Priests” went platinum last
year in northern
To me it was a magical moment. To see someone I know singing on television in such a setting.
I have known Fr. Eugene for more than 25 years. Eight years ago he sang at the dedication of our parish church. Five years ago he and his brother Martin sang at the dedication of our parish family life center and theater.
But now they had hit the big time, recording contract and all.
Over the years I have heard Fr. Eugene sing many times.
the deacon at the ordination mass when I was ordained to the deaconate. He
frequently entertained the
most significant thing about Fr. Eugene and his singing was his use of music in
his ministry. He used music to try to heal the wounds and divisions of
Back in the
1990s I visited Fr. Eugene in
But in the
evenings he had a ministry, with a Presbyterian minister, hosting sing-a longs.
The idea of Protestants and Catholics getting together to sing popular music
does not seem so radical in the American context, but in
and his companion would travel to community centers and parish halls in little
towns around the north of
I am delighted with Fr. Eugene recent fame and success. He and Fr. Martin and Fr. David have marvelous voices, as we might expect from Irish priests.
But the greatest achievement of his musical career is not getting on BBC or PBS. I think it is the work he did over the years with his “practical ecumenism.”
exactly what Jesus would want of his followers. The Lord would be delighted
that two of his “servants” were using the gifts given to them to bring people
together in peace. This is not an idle concern in