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Bishops hail ‘hugely significant’ Irish-language Missal

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Primate of Ireland, celebrates Mass (PA)

The Irish bishops have urged priests to make use of a new Irish-language missal, in a statement released at the end of their spring conference.

An altar edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach (The Roman Missal) will be published later in 2016. In a statement released at the end of their spring conference, the bishops said: “This is a unique publication, and is hugely significant not only for the Church in Ireland, but for all who cherish our culture and heritage, particularly the Irish language.”

According to the statement: “Bishops encouraged priests to purchase a copy for use in their parishes.”

The new translation has been worked on over several years by the Sapienti Committee, which includes bishops, priests, and Irish-language academics.

It follows the new Irish translation of the Mass, first used in Irish churches in 2011.

The first vernacular Masses in Irish were celebrated on March 7, 1965. Later that year a Senator described the vernacular Mass as “a great step forward in aid of the Irish language”.

The Irish government has made efforts to increase the number of people who speak Irish. It is a compulsory subject in schools, but only around 80,000 people speak it outside school, according to the 2011 Census.

The bishops’ announcement marks Seachtain na Gaeilge, a festival of the Irish language which runs from March 1-17 this year.