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Sunday, September 25, 2016
Ireland: 36 new seminarians begin studies
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Thirty six new seminarians are to commence priesthood studies for Irish dioceses. 26 will be based in the national seminary of St Patrick's College, Maynooth; seven will study at St Malachy's College, Belfast; two will study in the Beda College in Rome, whilst one candidate is entering the pre-seminary discernment year (propaedeutic year) in Valladolid, Spain.

The new seminarians range in age from 18 to mid-forties and come from a wide variety of education and employment backgrounds.  Welcoming the new candidates for the priesthood, their families and friends to Maynooth, the President of the College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, said:

"You have responded in your hearts to the Lord's call.  Our thoughts and prayers accompany you as you take the first step along the road to ordained ministry and to placing your lives at the service of Christ and of His people.  It is truly wonderful to witness the generosity of spirit of our new seminarians as, at this time, the Church in Ireland has completed a 'Year of Vocation' and we begin, together with all the faithful throughout the world, the 'Year for Priests'.
 
"You are about to begin a new and exciting journey, one that we share with you.  This will be a time of tremendous personal growth as you enter formation; a new learning phase that will help you to fully realise your potential spiritually, pastorally and academically.  It will also be a time of transition as you adjust to a new environment and to a new way of life.
 
"In addition to our new seminarians I wish also to warmly welcome our seven Scottish seminarians.  This is at once a moment of sadness, as we mark the end of a venerable tradition of priestly training at Scotus College, Glasgow, but also one of joy as we further strengthen the many ties of faith and culture that unite our two countries.  May this 'Year for Priests' which has begun so encouragingly be a time of grace and renewal for our seminary community and for all the people of God.
 
"At St Patrick's College Maynooth we work in partnership with you.  We believe in your ability to progress and to achieve your ambitions.  We see our role as facilitators of that development; guiding you on the journey and providing the support and encouragement to help you succeed. Throughout your journey however you will above all be responding to the call of Christ Himself who by the Sea of Galilee invited His first disciples with the words: 'Come follow me'."
 
Monsignor Connolly concluded: "Let us recall Pope Benedict's words to seminarians attending last year's World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, when he said 'You are a sign of hope and renewal for God's people; and yours will be the task of building up the Lord's house in the coming generation.'"
 
Bishop Donal McKeown, chairperson of the Vocations Commission of the Irish Episcopal Conference, also welcomed the news saying that it was an encouragement to all those in parish communities and other organisations associated with the promotion of vocations, who continue to pray for and promote vocations in many ways. "Priests come from families and parish communities across the country; they are sons, brothers and uncles; work colleagues and friends; part of a Christian community," he said.
 
Fr Paddy Rushe, National Coordinator of Diocesan Vocation Directors, said:  "I want to acknowledge the hard work of vocation directors around the country who have spent time, in many cases well over a year, guiding and directing these men and preparing them for this step in their lives. Despite ongoing challenges to the gospel values in the modern world it is encouraging to see evidence that God continues to inspire people to answer His call of service in the priesthood."


At the end of September the number of seminarians in Maynooth will be 77.

In April of this year the Bishops of Scotland announced the closure of Scotus College in Glasgow.  Seven seminarians have transferred to Maynooth from Scotland to complete their studies and as they were students of Scotus College they are not included in the figure of 39 above.  This is a one-off transfer as all new seminarians for Scottish dioceses, for this year and in subsequent years, will train at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. 

St Patrick's College Maynooth is the National Seminary for Ireland and has been forming men for the priesthood since 1795, see www.maynoothcollege.ie for more information.

*        An electronic map of the 26 dioceses of Ireland is available on  www.catholicbishops.ie

36 new seminarians will begin studies immediately, with another two expected to join during the first term.  A breakdown, by diocese, of the 38 first year seminarians for 2009 is as follows:
 
Ardagh & Clonmacnois       2
Armagh                               3
Cashel & Emly                    1
Clogher                               1
Cloyne                                 2
Cork & Ross                        1
Down & Connor                   5
Dublin                                  5
Galway                                2
Kildare & Leighlin                2
Killaloe                                 2
Kilmore                                3
Meath                                  4
Ossory                                 1
Raphoe                                2
Tuam                                   1
Waterford & Lismore           1

Source: Irish Catholic Media Office

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Tags: Beda College, Belfast, Irish dioceses, Malachy's College, Maynooth, new seminarians, Rome, St Patrick's College, Valladolid


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