Three of the 38 seminarians who will begin priesthood studies for Irish diocese this year are from County Galway. Two of the men are from Galway while one is from Tuam.
Twenty-six of the group will be based at the national seminary of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, seven will study at St Malachy’s College, Belfast, two will go to the Beda College in Rome while one candidate is entering the pre-seminary discernment year in Valladolid, Spain.
The new seminarians range in age from 18 to mid-forties and come from a wide variety of education and employment backgrounds.
Welcoming the new candidates for the priesthood, their families and friends to Maynooth, the president of the college, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, said they had responded in their hearts to the Lord’s 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.
“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.”
He stated St Patrick’s College works in partnership with the seminarians. “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’.”
Bishop Donal McKeown, chairperson of the Vocations Commission of the Irish Episcopal Conference, said the new seminarians were an encouragement to those in parish communities and other organisations associated with the promotion of vocations.
“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.”
Fr Paddy Rushe, national co-ordinator of Diocesan Vocation Directors, acknowledged the hard work of vocation directors throughout the country.
“They 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.”