Fr Raymond Brady (77) (pictured right) from Baltrasna, Oldcastle, Co Meath, was described as acting "like a predator" by Judge Michael O'Shea.
Brady admitted indecently assaulting 10 boys at different locations including the parochial houses in Drumconrath and Kilbeg.
He also admitted attempted indecent assault on another boy.
Most of them were altar boys, aged between 11 and 17. The abuse involved fondling, masturbation and oral sex.
Two of the now middle-aged men read their victim impact statements to the court.
One said he still went to Mass and "it maddens me the way we are asked to pray for the Church but nobody is ever asked to pray for the abused".
The court heard that Brady stopped abusing in the 1970s after an encounter' with a teenage girl who was the victim of abuse, "who opened his eyes to the impact of sexual abuse on a child for the first time".