Source: Irish Catholic Bishops Conference
Fifteen seminarians have begun their formation and academic programme for 2019 - 2020. The new students are currently in formation in Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth and the Pontifical Beda College, Rome; with a number beginning their propaedeutic programme in other locations in Ireland and abroad. This brings to 68 the total number studying for the priesthood for Irish dioceses. See below for the full list of seminaries and houses of study where seminarians are currently undertaking their formation.
Commenting on the 2019 - 2020 intake of seminarians, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, chair of the Bishops' Council for Vocations, said: "While we are all aware of the great challenges facing the Church and society at this time, we know also that God the all-powerful is always with us. These formation figures released today offer us a sign of hope.
"I was particularly taken by something Pope Francis said, in his message for Vocations Sunday (12 May) this year, to encourage men to consider a vocation to the priesthood: "Every vocation is a summons not to stand on the shore, nets in hand, but to follow Jesus on the path he has marked out for us, for our own happiness and for the good of those around us."
Bishop Cullinan concluded: "I pray that many will hear God's call and be courageous in following whatever path God puts before them."
Father Willie Purcell, Coordinator of the Bishops' National Vocations Office, said: "The role we have as Vocations Directors is to help young people realise that each one of them has a unique calling from Christ, and we aim to support them in answering that call, particularly in the case of those who are discerning vocations to the priesthood or religious life. I take this opportunity to thank all the vocations directors across the country for their work in accompanying those who are discerning a vocation to priesthood."
The following seminaries and houses of study are where seminarians are undertaking their formation for Irish dioceses:
· Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare
· Pontifical Irish College, Rome
· Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Dundalk, Co Louth
· Royal Scots College, Salamanca, Spain
· Royal English College, Valladolid, Spain
· Pontifical Beda College, Rome
· Sophia Institute, Florence, Italy
In 2018, the Congregation for Clergy, in Rome - which has overall responsibility for seminary formation - issued a new document (Ratio), The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, which is the revised programme for seminary formation. The Ratio strongly recommends to bishops around the world the introduction of a pre-seminary (propaedeutic) programme for new candidates who wish to discern their priestly vocation.
The National Vocations Office of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference opened on 1 July 2017.
For information on priesthood in Ireland and contact details for local diocesan vocations directors, see: www.vocations.ie.
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