Today sixteen men begin formal studies for the priesthood for Irish dioceses. Covering a wide range of ages – from the late twenties up to early sixties – and with an array of life experience, the new seminarians can look forward to a concentrated period of studies in the four principal areas of priestly formation, namely at a human, spiritual, pastoral, and intellectual level.
Ten seminarians will pursue their studies at the national seminary in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth;
four in St Malachy’s College, Belfast;
one in the Irish College in Rome and
one seminarian begins his studies in the Royal English College, Valladolid, in Spain.
Welcoming the students, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, President of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, said,
“It takes courage and great commitment to embark on a religious way of life today, and we are very firmly of the view that our very best advertisements are our wonderful students both lay and cleric as well as a high calibre staff across the four principal areas of formation namely human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral.”
In his address to the new seminarians in Maynooth, Mgr Connolly said
“Forming priests and seminarians of prayer, solid faith, pastoral sensitivity and wholesome lifestyles has always and will always be Maynooth’s mission. The people of God need good priests, holy priests, priests who are faithful to Church teaching and especially priests who, in the words of the late Pope John Paul II, are prepared to ‘mould their human personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ.’”
Welcoming the announcement Bishop Donal McKeown, chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations, said,”Today’s good news for the Irish Church calls to mind Pope Benedict’s words as he reviewed the Year for Priests in June:
‘Priesthood, then, is not simply ‘office’ but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in His stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word ‘priesthood’. That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way He calls men to His service and thus from within binds Himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew.’”
Bishop McKeown concluded,
“This profound observation is a valuable reflection for all seminarians and clergy. We need the prayerful support of the faithful at all times and so I ask for prayers for all seminarians, priests and for future vocations.”
Seminarians / Dioceses
A breakdown, by diocese, of the 16 first year seminarians for 2010 is as follows:
Cork & Ross 1
Down & Connor 3
Kildare & Leighlin 1
In the last five years the total number of new seminarians beginning their studies was:
36 in 2009,
30 in 2008,
31 in 2007
30 in 2006.
By the end of September the number of seminarians training in Maynooth will be 66.