Westminster: 46 men now studying for priesthood

Eleven men have started studying for the Catholic priesthood at the start of the 2010 - 2011 academic year at Allen Hall, the Diocese of Westminster's seminary in London. The new intake of eleven new seminarians brings the number of men preparing for the priesthood at Allen Hall to 46. This number includes men who are preparing to become priests in Westminster diocese and other English and overseas diocese including Lancaster, Nottingham and Helsinki as well as religious orders including the Salvatorians, Passionists and Norbertines.

There are currently 33 men preparing for the priesthood for the Diocese of Westminster. Eight men started this September with three studying at Allen Hall, three at Vallodolid, Spain, one at the Beda College in Rome and one at the Venerable English College in Rome.

Mgr Mark O'Toole, Rector of Allen Hall said:  "It is great to have this number of men preparing for the Catholic priesthood at our seminary.  The eleven  new seminarians, both Religious and Diocesan, who join us this year embark on a long period of formation, a time not just spent 'studying' or 'training' for the priesthood but also growing to become more like Christ the Good Shepherd, men of faith and integrity."

"Over the next year, five men are due to be ordained as priests for the Diocese of Westminster.  They are already engaged as deacons in a life of service dedicated to God's people.  With their ordination to priesthood they will be sent to serve particular communities to build up the spiritual and pastoral well-being of the parish.  Their witness is a sign of God's faithfulness and I am sure they will be a great encouragement to other men who may be considering a vocation to the priesthood."

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster said: "I am delighted to see this number of men coming forward.  The life of a priest is one of generous service, willingly given. God willing, these men will become future priests here in our diocese and in other dioceses in England and Wales and abroad.  Please pray for them everyday."

"During his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that there are many ways of serving Christ. These include the beauty of family life and the noble task of education. However, as the Holy Father said, Jesus Christ also need priests, "good and holy men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep"   In the Diocese of Westminster. through new initiatives such as a monthly Vocations Mass at Westminster Cathedral and a new Vocations Discernment Group for Young Adults,  I believe that more men will be prepared to consider the priesthood as their vocation. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, I hope that they will ask Christ  "for the generosity to say "yes"! "

Number of men studying at Allen Hall seminary at the start of academic years  since 2002:

2009 - 45
2008 - 43
2007 - 40
2006 - 37
2005 - 31
2003 - 32
2004 - 34
2002 - 33

Two recent vocations initiatives started in the Diocese of Westminster are:

*   Monthly Vocations Mass - next one: Saturday 2 October, 12:30pm (Westminster Cathedral) Same time on the first Saturday of every month.

*   The Vocations Discernment Group for Young Adults is held on the evening of the fourth Friday of every month in the Hinsley Room of Westminster Cathedral, a discernment group for young adults (18-30's) to help those who seek to know what is that "definite service" which God intends for their lives.

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