Despite the fact that none of the 22 new seminarians beginning their studies for the priesthood this week hail from the Raphoe Diocese, there will be a number of ordinations to look forward to next year, according to a local vocations director.
Fr. Rory Brady, who is a vocations director within the diocese as well as chaplain at St. Eunan’s College, says that although there were no students from Raphoe entering either Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, or Saint Malachy’s College, Belfast, there are currently five student priests studying from the diocese.
“We have no one in this year but we have five in altogether and hopefully some of them are due to be ordained deacons in the next couple of years. Three of the five are in Rome and two in Maynooth, so we are not doing too bad considering we have no one going in this year,” Fr Brady said.
He added: “A few years ago it was the same, where nobody went in. We average between five to seven over the last number of years. We had someone ordained last year and hopefully we will have someone ordained deacon next year and some more the following year.”
A total of 22 men begin their studies for priesthood at Ireland’s national seminary, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, this week. The group included a chartered surveyor, a pub manager, several mature students and at least one school leaver. The average age of the new entrants is 25 and they come from 14 of the 26 dioceses of Ireland
Monsignor Hugh Connolly, the president of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, welcomed the students and their families to Maynooth this week saying: “This is always an exciting time for the seminary, when we prepare to receive the new students among us. Once again they come from a wide range of backgrounds, previous experiences, and the four corners of the country, but with one common factor – they are responding to an invitation given in and through faith, to become priests who will spread the Gospel in the years to come.”