A retired Co. Mayo schoolteacher has been chosen to lead the fast-growing Catholic Grandparents Association (CGA) for 2011 – and she says she looks forward to continuing to “fan the flame” started by the Association.
Máire Printer, who hails from Scotland but has been living in Westport for many years, said she was “deeply honoured” to be elected as Association President at its recent annual general meeting.
Mrs Printer replaces Kilkenny woman Máire Hogan, who will continue on as Association Vice-President. The move will allow time for the Association’s inspirational founder Catherine Wiley to work on the strategic development of the CGA in Ireland and abroad.
Disability rights politician and former MEP Kathy Sinnott, Co. Cork, has been elected Association Secretary.
“I am deeply honoured to be elected as President of what I believe to be a crucially important organisation. This year we will hold our fifth annual Catholic Grandparents Pilgrimage in Knock Shrine,” said Mrs Printer, after her election at the AGM held in Tuam.
“Over 30,000 pilgrims have attended this Pilgrimage over the past four years. A fire has been lit by grandparents in the Church. Our time has come – grandparents play key roles in society at a time of so much difficulty in terms of economic stresses and family breakdown.
“We are also passionate about transmitting the faith to our grandchildren. Since our first Pilgrimage in 2007, we have gone from strength to strength, and I will take great pride in continuing to fan the flame we have started.
“The shrine in Knock has become our spiritual home, and there is no doubt its special place as a Marian place of worship has contributed enormously to the status our organisation enjoys after just four short years. We are deeply indebted to Msgr. Joe Quinn and Fr. Richard Gibbons from Knock Shrine for all the support and encouragement they have given to us since our first Pilgrimage in 2007. We could not have reached this point without their assistance.”
The CGA now has branches in various parts of Ireland, and more are in the pipeline for 2011. It recently spread its wings to the United States of America, and also promotes an annual Grandparents Pilgrimage in the Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham, England. This year’s Walsingham Pilgrimage will take place on July 23rd, led by Bishop Brian Noble. Another UK Grandparents Pilgrimage will take place at the Shrine of Our Lady, Aylesford, on July 16th, led by Bishop John Hine.
Máire heads a dynamic board, as follows:
Patron – Dr Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam; President – Máire Printer, Co. Mayo; Treasurer – Shay Boylan, Co. Cavan; Secretary – Kathy Sinnott, Co. Cork; Representative from EWTN, the global Catholic Network – Aidan Gallagher; Spiritual Director – Fr Fintan Monahan, Tuam Diocesan Secretary; Consultant to CGA – David Quinn; Director Stewart Wiley.
The 2011 National Grandparents Pilgrimage to Knock Shrine will take place on Sunday, September 11th, and will feature a keynote address by Kathy Sinnott. Internationally-renowned singers Dana and Liam Lawton will also perform at the Pilgrimage.
Founder Catherine Wiley said she was “delighted with the strong, committed and multi-talented board we have now put in place.” She added: “There is no doubt but that the Catholic Grandparents Association is here to stay and has a major contribution to make.
“We have had enquiries from countries as far afield as Nigeria, Argentina, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand. When I met with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa recently, he told me that the Pilgrimage was Ireland’s gift to the world.
“We aim to hold Grandparents Pilgrimages in Marian Shrines all over the world. EWTN are interested in promoting a ministry for Grandparents globally, working with the CGA in Ireland.”
Further details are available on www.CatholicGrandparentsAssociation.com.