Tuesday, August 24, 2010
16 new seminarians for Irish Catholic Church
This week, sixteen men from various dioceses around Ireland embark on a period of study and formation on the potential road to priesthood. This year, the Dublin archdiocese leads the way with 4 seminarians, followed by Down and Connor with 3 and one seminarian for each of the following dioceses: Armagh, Clogher, Cork and Ross, Derry, Galway, Kildare and Leighlin, Meath, Raphoe and Tuam.
The number of new entrants this year is a sharp drop in comparison to the previous four years. In 2006 there were 30 new entrants, 31 in 2007, 30 in 2008 and 36 in 2009. The news of these new entrants should be welcomed. There is no doubt that it takes immense courage to opt for priesthood in these difficult days for the Irish Church. It is appropriate too to acknowledge the work of the various diocesan vocation directors throughout Ireland - who often have a difficult and lonely task in promoting vocations.
On the other hand, the news of this significant decrease in numbers entering the various seminaries used by the Irish church this year will and should be thoroughly examined and reflected upon by those in positions of authority. More than anything it should raise the following questions: (1) are vocations given priority in every diocese? (2) are the vocations personnel given reasonable resources to carry out their work effectively? (3) when will Irish dioceses consider appointing vocation directors where that ministry is their primary work? (4) where is prayer for priestly and religious vocations taken seriously?