Irish College in Rome set to replace three of its four priests


THREE OF the four priest staff members at the Irish College in Rome who deal with the formation of seminarians are to return to their dioceses in Ireland.

In a statement last night, the Catholic Communication Office said that the rector of the Irish College, Dublin priest Fr Ciaran O’Carroll, had announced that vice rector Fr Albert McDonnell, director of formation Fr Billy Swan, and college spiritual director Fr Chris Hayden were to return to their respective dioceses at the conclusion of this academic year.

Fr McDonnell returns to Killaloe diocese, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden to Ferns diocese. The four Irish archbishops, who are trustees of the Irish College, are expected to announce new appointments to each post after they meet later this month.

Rector Fr O’Carroll, who himself was only appointed last September said he wished “to acknowledge the contribution that Fr McDonnell, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden have made to the life of the college during their time of service here. I wish them every blessing and success in their new appointments and for the future.”

It is widely believed that the changes have been precipitated following the apostolic visitation to the Irish College by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, last year.

He also visited St Patrick’s College Maynooth, the Milltown Institute and All Hallows College in Dublin as part of his visitation to Irish seminaries.

In a summary of all seven visitation reports published on March 20th last it called for “a more systematic preparation” for priestly life in the seminaries and “to ensure that seminary buildings be exclusively used for seminarians of the local church and those preparing them for the priesthood, to ensure a well-founded priestly identity”. This latter has already happened at Maynooth.