The unique contribution and lasting legacy of Bishop Liam MacDaid to St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, – as a student and prefect, as a teacher and counsellor, as a principal and administrator and, finally, as patron – was honoured at a special dinner and presentation at the college on Friday night last, 10 February 2017. It was an opportunity for all those present to remember, to honour and to give thanks. All of the speakers lauded Bishop MacDaid’s personal contribution, his dedication to the college, its students and teachers, as well as his great personal qualities – his pastoral care and gentle wisdom. He was presented with a specially crafted piece of coloured glass which reflects the life of the college, its continuing traditions and its place in the life of the diocese of Clogher. A new perpetual Bishop MacDaid annual award at the college was also announced.
The large attendance included Bishop MacDaid’s former teaching colleagues – including Paraic Duffy, the Ard-Stiurthoir of the GAA, surviving members of his class group -including All-Ireland winning manager Brian McEniff, members of the current teaching staff of the college led by principal Raymond McHugh and Deputy Principal Marion McDonald, past and present members of the board of management as well as family members, including his brother Christopher, and friends from parish and diocesan life. The attendance also included the Diocesan Administrator of Clogher Diocese Mgr Joseph McGuinness, the Bishop-Emeritus of Clogher, Bishop Joseph Duffy and Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor.
Bishop MacDaid, whose retirement as Bishop of Clogher was accepted by Pope Francis on 1 October last, is a native of Bundoran on the Atlantic coast of the diocese. Following his secondary education at St Macartan’s College he entered St Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. Following completion of the Higher Diploma in Education, he joined the teaching staff of St Macartan’s in 1970. He subsequently qualified as a guidance counsellor before becoming principal and President of the college in 1981. During his term as principal he oversaw an unprecedented growth of the college in terms of student and teacher numbers and the development of the range of subjects offered. All of this was accompanied by the necessary addition of a new school building during the 1980s. His term as principal and president ended in 1989 but he was to maintain his close links with the college over the years ahead when as Diocesan Secretary he was secretary of the college trustee board and also a member of the board of management. Then in 2010 as the new Bishop of Clogher he became the patron of St Macartan’s. In addition, Bishop MacDaid has a distinguished GAA record at club and inter-county level and he brought this to the outstanding gaelic games tradition of St Macartan’s over the years.
Bishop MacDaid was presented with a beautiful piece of artwork – a coloured glass designed jointly by Grace Brennan of King’s Forge, Mullyash and St Macartan’s principal, Raymond McHugh. It is centred around the school colours of black and amber and it bears a reflection of the Clogher Cross, a late thirteenth of early fourteenth century reliquary which was presented to the college in the late nineteenth century and which is now on display in Monaghan County Museum. It also forms the centre-piece of the episcopal crest of Bishop MacDaid, alongside his motto of ‘Per Christum Dominum Nostrum’.
Bishop MacDaid Annual Award
Alongside the presentation, it was also announced that the school has commissioned a similar piece of art to be presented annually within the college as the Bishop MacDaid Award. This will be a perpetual award and the area of school activity to which it will be designated has yet to be decided.