Maynooth seminary is facing the future


Sir, – In an article in The Irish Times, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin posed a question for St Patrick’s College, Maynooth: “What role does it play in the overall intellectual ethos of the country?” (Patsy McGarry, “Maynooth seminary ‘trapped in an old vision’, says Archbishop of Dublin”, News, August 27th).

We are happy to have this opportunity to respond.

Drawing on its Catholic tradition, Maynooth College is committed to the highest level in teaching and learning, research, and publication. Our aim is to educate graduates who are fluent in this theological tradition, who are open, integrated and socially engaged.

Because our graduates find employment in settings such as teaching; chaplaincy – in schools, hospitals and prisons; journalism; the publishing industry; non-governmental agencies; politics; media research and broadcasting, we know we are fulfilling our aims.

The theology faculty at Maynooth, one of the largest in these islands, comprises 16 full-time faculty members – men and women, lay and cleric. We teach 150 full-time undergraduate students, have 537 part-time students, and the largest Catholic international postgraduate research community in Ireland and the UK.

There are over 25 doctoral students researching in areas from ecology to the social theology of Pope Francis.

St Patrick’s College, in collaboration with Maynooth University, has a close working relationship with the aid agency Trócaire on projects relating to human rights issues such as gender and HIV and climate justice.

The faculty plays an important role in religious thought leadership, publishing the Irish Theological Quarterly, one of the leading international English-language journals of theology. Earlier this month, the proceedings of a conference of international experts, who gathered in Maynooth to explore how best to train the priests of the future, was published by one of America’s largest religious publishers, Liturgical Press.

Archbishop Martin is right in one sense. As a college, we have tended to hide our light under a bushel.

This October, we will launch a programme of activities to celebrate the 225th anniversary of our foundation.

These events will provide us with an opportunity to not only recall the legacy and heritage of St Patrick’s College, but also to promote our ongoing commitment to preparing the next generation of Christian leaders nationally and internationally. – Yours, etc,



Dean of Theology,

St Patrick’s College,


Co Kildare.