Seminarians to Live As Group Apart

By Pamela Duncan
Irish Times
January 12, 2012

TRAINEE PRIESTS at Ireland's national seminary in Maynooth are to be separated from the rest of the student body, according to an article in the current edition of the Irish Catholic.

This would see seminarians separated from the 8,000-strong student body of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The report says that doors have been installed at the college, separating the seminarians' living quarters from the rest of the campus; a new entrance to the seminary has been constructed to the rear of the building; and proposals that the trustees of the college create a separate dining room for the seminary community have been put forward.

Msgr Hugh Connolly, president of St Patrick's College, Maynooth, told the Irish Catholic that he was "trying to get the balance right between the need for the seminary to be a distinctive, prayerful community and ensure that the seminarians have all the benefits that the Maynooth campus has to offer.

"It is all about striking that balance. Seminarians are training to be diocesan priests living in the world, not members of a monastic community."

Although the newspaper reported that the separation forms part of attempts by an apostolic visitation from the Vatican to reform training structures for priests in Ireland, the Catholic Communications Office would not comment on this last night.

Last year Msgr Connolly denied media speculation the college would be closed and all Irish seminarians would be moved to the pontifical Irish College in Rome. Director of communications Martin Long said that matters relating to the Apostolic Visitation were a matter for the Holy See.

Although St Patrick's College, Maynooth, shares a campus with NUI Maynooth, the two are separate educational entities.

A spokeswoman for the university said yesterday that: "NUI Maynooth and St Patrick's College, Maynooth are two separate organisations that share a campus but are otherwise academically distinct. Any changes within the seminary are entirely within the remit of St Patrick's College, Maynooth."


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