36 new seminarians are commencing their priesthood studies for Irish dioceses including two candidates for Kildare & Leighlin.

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Summary

For more information- see www.maynoothcollege.ie

  • 36 new seminarians are to commence priesthood studies for Irish dioceses in 2009 with another two expected to join during the first term.
  • 26 will be based in the national seminary of St Patricks College, Maynooth; seven will study at St Malachys College, Belfast; two will study in the Beda College in Rome, whilst one candidate is entering the pre-seminary discernment year in Valladolid, Spain.
  • At the end of September the number of seminarians in Maynooth will be 77.
  • The new seminarians range in age from 18 to mid-forties and come from a wide variety of education and employment backgrounds.

Welcome

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 Lords 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.

At St Patricks 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 Benedicts words to seminarians attending last years World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, when he said You are a sign of hope and renewal for Gods people; and yours will be the task of building up the Lords 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.

Diocesan Numbers

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