New seminarians welcomed to national seminary at Maynooth

Numbers ‘not enough’ to fill gaps

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare: twenty new seminarians are to begin studying there for the Catholic priesthood. Photograph Brenda Fitzsimons

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare: twenty new seminarians are to begin studying there for the Catholic priesthood. Photograph Brenda Fitzsimons

Tue, Aug 27, 2013, 01:00



Twenty new seminarians are to begin studying for the Catholic priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, this year.

At the end of September three of the new seminarians will continue their studies at St Malachy’s seminary in Belfast, leaving the number of resident seminarians in Maynooth at about 70. A further 20 non-resident students will pursue their academic studies there.

Last year 12 seminarians began studies for the priesthood at Maynooth with 64 seminarians resident there at the end of September 2012.

In 2011, 22 new seminarians began studying for the priesthood at Maynooth, with 72 men resident there at the end of September that year. A year earlier, in August 2010, 16 men began studying for the priesthood at Maynooth.

President of St Patrick’s College Msgr Hugh Connolly told The Irish Times yesterday that the students were “by and large in their mid 20s”.

He noted there had been a certain consistency in numbers entering training for the priesthood in recent years but said there were “nowhere near enough for the gaps appearing now.” He felt there had also been a “masking” of the shortage of priests in Ireland due to the work of men returning from the missions.