36 Irish Enter Diocesan Seminaries

Vocation Director Affirms God’s Continual Call

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MAYNOOTH, Ireland, AUG. 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Irish bishops’ conference reported that 36 men, some as young as 18, are beginning studies for the diocesan priesthood this year.

A press release from the conference today noted that this group ranges from age 18 to the mid-40s, and that they come from a variety of education and career backgrounds.

Monsignor Hugh Connolly, the president of St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, where the majority of the men will study, welcomed the new seminarians from 17 of Ireland’s 26 dioceses.

«You are about to begin a new and exciting journey, one that we share with you,» he stated. «This will be a time of tremendous personal growth as you enter formation; a new learning phase that will help you to fully realize your potential spiritually, pastorally and academically.»

Ultimately, the president affirmed, the seminarians are «responding to the call of Christ himself who by the Sea of Galilee invited his first disciples with the words: ‘Come follow me.'»

He recalled Benedict XVI’s words to seminarians at last year’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia: «You are a sign of hope and renewal for God’s people; and yours will be the task of building up the Lord’s house in the coming generation.»

Father Paddy Rushe, national coordinator of diocesan vocation directors, affirmed, «Despite ongoing challenges to the Gospel values in the modern world it is encouraging to see evidence that God continues to inspire people to answer his call of service in the priesthood.»

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