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Cardinal tells GAA: Stop sports fixtures clashing with Mass

Primate of All Ireland Seán Brady has asked sports organisers to move Sunday games to fit around the Church schedule.

Cardinal Seán Brady
Cardinal Seán Brady
Image: James Horan/Photocall Ireland

Updated 16.40

CARDINAL SEÁN BRADY has asked GAA clubs to stop scheduling games at the same time as Sunday morning Mass.

The Primate of All Ireland wrote to GAA leaders in Armagh, Louth, Derry and Tyrone making the request after priests in the archdiocese raised concerns about throw-in times, the Irish News reports (print edition). It’s understood that county games are not held on Sunday mornings, but lower-level club fixtures sometimes are.

The complaint echoes concerns raised by the Church three years ago, when it warned there was an “ever-increasing frequency in the scheduling of underage training sessions and competitive games on Sunday mornings”. Calling the clashes a “conflict of interest”, the Irish Bishops Conference explained: “When practice sessions or competitions occur repeatedly on Sunday mornings then a young participant can lose the habit of going to Sunday Mass.”

The Catholic Church confirmed to TheJournal.ie that Cardinal Brady had made the request after a meeting with clergy. The four GAA County Boards replied saying they discouraged clubs from scheduling games at the same time as church services, a spokesperson added.

Cardinal Brady’s request comes as a Mayo priest has complained that Croagh Patrick was becoming “secularised” by charity and sporting events. Fr Frank Fahey told the Sunday Times (subscription) that the mountain should keep its “sacred” meaning and association with the Church. “There are plenty of other mountains where many of these events could be held,” he said.

Read Maeve Connolly’s full story in today’s Irish News (print edition) >

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