London: new rector for Allen Hall

 Mgr Mark O'Toole has been appointed as the new Rector of Allen Hall, the seminary of the Diocese of Westminster. He will succeed Canon Paul McGinn, who has been Rector since 2001 Mgr Mark O'Toole, who is currently Private Secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, will join Allen Hall in September 2008, the start of the seminary's next academic year. Fr Martin Hayes, at present Parish Priest at Parsons Green, will become Private Secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Commenting on the appointment of Mgr. Mark O'Toole, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said: " I am extremely grateful to Canon Paul McGinn who has ensured that Allen Hall remains a flourishing spiritual and academic community for seminarians from the Diocese of Westminster and from other dioceses and religious orders in this country and abroad. He has given outstanding service to the diocese over these past seven years." "At a time when the number of seminarians in our diocese and men interested in becoming priests continues to increase, I am very confident that Mgr. Mark O'Toole will continue the good and faithful leadership of the seminary which is at the heart of our diocese. I would also like to express my own grateful thanks to Mgr Mark for his devoted service to me personally, and to the priests and people of the diocese." Mgr Mark O'Toole said: "I am deeply honoured to have been asked by Cardinal Cormac to become Rector of Allen Hall. I look forward to building on the excellent service given by Canon Paul over these past years and to working closely with staff and students in this vital work. God's call in each of our lives is such a great privilege and I am grateful to Him for this opportunity to serve the Church in her discernment of this joyous vocation." Today there are 39 students at Allen Hall, following a course which usually lasts at least six years. They come from many different backgrounds and represent twelve nationalities. Their ages range from 20 to 52. Cardinal William Allen founded a seminary in Douai, France, in 1568 to provide for the English mission in time of persecution. Allen Hall, together with Ushaw College in the North, is heir to that Douai tradition, and is inspired by its history and above all by its martyrs. In 1975 Allen Hall moved to its current home in Chelsea, to the grounds of the Great House of Saint Thomas More, uniting the tradition of the Martyrs of Douai with the history of that great scholar, statesman and martyr. Source: Archbishops House

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