Limerick monks bid farewell to Ireland’s oldest priest

The late Fr Placid Murray.

THE monks of Glenstal Abbey have marked the passing of their longest serving confrere, Fr Placid Murray, who died earlier this week at the age of 104.

Fr Murray was the longest professed monk in the country and believed to be one of the longest-serving priests in the country, perhaps even the world.

With 87 years of service as a professed monk and 81 years as a priest, Fr Placid was born Michael Murray in Lismore before moving with his mother and siblings to Dublin after the death of his father.

He attended Blackrock College and entered Glenstal Abbey in 1935, progressing to his long-served profession.

Fr Placid spent time in Belgium just before the Second World War studying philosophy and theology before his studies were interrupted and he had to flee to the South of France. He later completed his theological studies in Rome.

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The cleric was ordained into the priesthood early in 1941 for health reasons, beginning his practice in Italy before it was decided he should return to Ireland, where he became assistant novice master at Glenstal and later second Conventual Prior. He taught German and religion in the priory school until 1957.

Fr Placid achieved a doctorate in theology and became very involved in translating religious texts into English. He chaired a committee which translated texts for church use.

Fr Placid worked as a teacher in the Novitiate in Glenstal well into his later years and was also a cherished confessor.

He was cared for over the last 14 years in Millbrae Nursing Home in Newport, where he continued an active ministry almost until the last.

His birthday was an annual cause for celebration at Glenstal, where he visited regularly to attend Mass and eat with the priests and brothers.

Having reposed in his beloved Glenstal overnight, Fr Placid’s remains were buried in the monastery following funeral Mass in the Abbey Church.