27 September 2022, The Tablet

Catholic Church records increase in seminarians in Ireland

There are nine new students this autumn, with a further ten men undertaking a preparatory year before beginning their studies next year.

Catholic Church records increase in seminarians in Ireland

Archbishop Dermot Farrell said last year: “When we pray for vocations, does it not also make sense to include the vocation of teaching?”
John McElroy

The number of men entering the national seminary in Maynooth to train for diocesan priesthood in the Irish Church’s 26 dioceses is up slightly on last year.

Nine new students are beginning their studies this autumn, up from six last year, The Irish Catholic reported. Another ten men will undertake a propaedeutic or preparatory year ahead of beginning their studies in Maynooth next year.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Cork and Ross ordained Fr Ronan Sheehan last week. It is the first ordination for the diocese since 2017.

Speaking after the ceremony, 27-year-old Fr Sheehan told the Irish Examiner newspaper that he dreamt of “a Church that is welcoming and that is inclusive, and that gets better at communicating that message”.

Separately, four Dominicans took perpetual vows in a ceremony in Dublin earlier this month. The former lawyer, two doctors and a physicist are all preparing for priestly ordination.

Ahead of the solemn profession, Bishop Tom Deenihan of Meath ordained Dominican friars, Anthony Kavanagh and Kellan Scott as priests. Fr Scott will complete his studies at San Clemente in Rome, while Fr Kavanagh has been appointed chaplain at the Dominican secondary school, Newbridge College.

The order also welcomed three new novices last week.

Speaking about vocations at a Mass for the opening of the Academic Year at Dublin City University last week, Archbishop Dermot Farrell asked: “When we pray for vocations, does it not also make sense to include the vocation of teaching?”

He said that since the Catholic school is rooted in the wider community, comprised both of believers and of people who do not designate themselves in this way, as well as parents, families, and extended families, teachers could not be expected to live out their vocation on their own.

Archbishop Farrell said networks of community involvement must be fostered and ways developed that encourage those called to be teachers to enter deeply into the life and mystery of “this vital service of all God’s people”. This was what Pope Francis meant by synodality, he said.

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