Three singing Catholic clerics, widely known as ‘The Priests’, have been recognised in the Queen’s New Years Honours List.
Fr Eugene O’Hagan, Fr David Delargy and Fr Martin O’Hagan have all been made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music and charity.
Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, said: “These awards, both individually and collectively, pay tribute to the well-deserved contribution of these priests to their respective fields of ministry, pastoral care and the wider community and also to the outreach and role of the Church within society.
“‘The Priests’, who have nurtured their wonderful gifts and talent for music from their early days together as students in St MacNissi’s, Garron Tower, through their period of priestly formation in seminary, and in subsequent years alongside their priestly ministry within the Diocese of Down and Connor, have become known across the world for their harmonious singing.
“Music, the Arts and Culture enable us to transcend and engage with and celebrate the mystery and beauty of life. These three priests have been given a platform to reach out to and inspire diverse audiences and communities across the globe, from all faiths and traditions, united in their common love of music. The honour that they have received pays particular tribute to their generous charity work effected and realised through the ‘Priests Charitable Trust’ as they continue to reach out in support to those in need.”
The two Fr O’Hagans, who are brothers, are from Londonderry, while Fr Delargy is from Ballymena.