Since 1795, St. Patrick’s College Maynooth has been the National Seminary of Ireland. It has a proud and unique tradition of service to the Church in Ireland and throughout the world. That tradition of service and formation for ministry continues today. The Seminary prepares seminarians for priesthood in the Dioceses of Ireland.
There is a lovely road that road from Ixopo onto the hills.
This is the opening line of Cry, The Beloved Country the novel by Alan Paton which was written in 1948, the year the Nationalist Government came to power in South Africa advocating a policy of apartheid. It is on such a road that the remains of Nelson Mandela will be brought on Sunday, the last leg of his long walk to freedom. Apartheid, the separation of peoples solely on the basis of colour, the ideology he struggled against with every fibre of freedom he could find was founded on fear.
Mandela never saw or spoke of himself as a saint – he acknowledged his mistakes, humbly mentioning his vices alongside virtues. There has been much talked and written about him in terms of freedom and reconciliation and rightly so. But more needs to be said, especially about his prophetic honesty. You love truth in the heart, David declared and Mandela learned to live from the heart of truth. For him there could be no freedom without truth, no reconciliation without freedom, no justice without reconciliation.
Like Joseph, Nelson Mandela was a dreamer. Like Jeremiah, he was fearless. Like John the Baptist, he was not afraid of those who abused power. Like Jesus, he knew that the truth would set people free. If the peacemakers will be called children of God he is truly a father figure for the global human family.
My favourite image for Mandela is another biblical one, though in the transposed form I first heard it in the College Chapel more than 30 years ago - He was a lion in a nest of Daniels. He didn’t achieve the end of apartheid and the advent of non-racialism and reconciliation on his own. However, without his leadership and the ‘lonely decisions’ of his long life we would be looking at a very different and despondent reality, not only in South Africa but all over the world.
May God the Father of freedom gather you into the home of your ancestors.
May Jesus who is the way, the truth and life, come to meet you.
May the Spirit of eternal reconciliation grant you peace.
As the funeral cortege carries him through the rolling hills of the Transkei, the hills hailed by Paton as ‘lovely beyond any singing of it’, we recall the words of Isaiah about those who run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire. After a lifetime of carrying the yokes of suffering and sacrifice, of bearing the burdens of service and solidarity may he hear the voice of the gentle and humble Christ calling him to find rest for his soul.
Hamba kahle, Madiba, go well.
The great organ of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth has been completely restored. The original organ of the College Chapel was built by the Stahlhuth firm of Aix-la-Chapelle, Belgium around 1890. After 120 years of great service, it needed a total rebuild, as many of the 3,000 pipes were no longer playable. The organ has had two major rebuilds in its life, in the 1920's and again in the 1970's. In addition, it has been regularly maintained, with several modifications. The firm of Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, Italy was selected to do the work which took two years. The organ was dismantled in September 2011 and transported to Italy. The rebuilt instrument returned in September2013 and after extensive ‘voicing’ and ‘fine tuning’ is now fully ready for service.
The organ’s magnificent music features at all the great liturgical events during the college year including the Easter ceremonies, ordination to the diaconate, opening of the academic year mass, Pontifical graduation ceremonies and annual carol services and choral concerts. The organ is also used by some of the seminarians and students of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth and their colleagues in National University of Ireland, Maynooth who are pursuing studies in Music. The considerable restoration costs were, for the most part, independently fundraised by Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. The project was capably supervised by Professor Emeritus Gerard Gillen and Dr John O’Keefe, Director of Sacred Music.
At a special Sunday Evening Vespers at which the new instrument was blessed and dedicated the President of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth Msgr. Hugh Connolly said:
‘Above all this organ will be a servant of the liturgy, the Eucharist that gives our Campus Community the weekly rhythm for our lives here upon our pilgrim path. Its music will help us to bring the whole spectrum of human experience to our daily prayer. Its pure notes and perfect pitch will soar heavenward as students, staff and passersby pause to reflect here on their daily lives bringing their prayers of loss and fulfilment, doubt and trust, confusion and conviction, happiness and grief, gratitude and praise to God’
The President also thanked the extraordinary generosity of those whose donations helped make this extraordinary dream become a reality.
This week RTÉ's Morning Edition reporter Aisling Riordan meet with some of the seminarians of St Patrick's College Maynooth as part of RTE's Doors Open series. Follow the link to see what the students had to say about discerning a vocation to the Priesthood.
On Sunday 10th of November the Seminary and College Communities remembered the deceased benefactors, staff, students and friends of the College. Fr. Michael Mullaney the Vice President of the College is pictured blessing the graves assisted by Rev. Brian Fitzpatrick a Deacon from Dromore Diocese.
Fr. Des Hillery is a priest of the Diocese of Killaloe who is currently ministering as Parish Priest of Nenagh Parish. His previous experience as a Director of Formation here at St Patrick's College Maynooth and his subsequent work on the missions in Peru were all used to explore the different call we all have to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
On Thursday the 8th of October the Opening of the Academic Year Mass was celebrated by Arch Bishop Diarmuid Martin. The following is a link to his homily.
The Opening of the Year Retreat was directed by Bishop Colm O’Reilly the retired bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.
“ … have the courage to go against the tide of the culture of pragmatism and efficiency.” Pope Francis
Today, Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth welcomed twenty new seminarians, who will commence their formation for the priesthood at the National Seminary. At the conclusion of the Introductory Programme at the end of September, three of the new seminarians from Northern dioceses will continue their studies at Saint Malachy’s Seminary in Belfast.
Welcoming the new candidates, their families and friends to Maynooth, the President of the College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, recalled the recent words of Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July: “Dear seminarians who are preparing for ministry: have the courage to go against the tide of the culture of pragmatism and efficiency. Be courageous! Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter.”
Monsignor Connolly continued:
“As the Church continues to celebrate this Year of Faith may the year ahead be an opportunity for all of us to appreciate the gift of our faith, deepen our relationship with God and strengthen our commitment to sharing our faith with others.”
This year the Seminary Community was very fortunate to have Timothy Radcliffe OP as the Holy Week retreat director. Timothy was born in London in 1945. He joined the English Province of the Dominican Order in 1965, and was ordained a priest in 1971. He studied at Blackfriars and at St John’s College, Oxford, and in Paris. From 1974-1976 he was a chaplain to the University of London before returning to Oxford, where he taught scripture and doctrine for twelve years. He was Prior of Oxford from 1982 – 88, when he was elected Provincial of the English Province. He was President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors. In 1992 he was elected Master of the Order, finishing his term in 2001. He was Chancellor of the Angelicum University in Rome, S.Tomas in Manila, the École Biblique in Jerusalem and the Theology Faculty at Freiburg, Germany. With humor, insight, faith and love he guided the community through some of the more profound mysteries of our faith.
On Thursday 28th of February Bishop John Fleming of Killala admitted the following students to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacon and Priest.
Seamus Mc Entee - Dublin
Stephen Gorman - Raphoe
Ben Hodnett - Cork & Ross
Sean Mcguigan - Armagh
Sean Flynn - Tuam
Thomas Doherty - Killala
On Tuesday 26th February at 19.00 in
Saint Mary's Oratory
Rev Dr George Zavershinsky, representative of the Moscow Patriarchate and member of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland joined the seminary community in an ecumenical evening prayer. The music and prayers were drawn from the rich heritage we have received from the Orthodox tradition.
On Saturday, 23rd February 2013 Brendan Kealy was ordained by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in the University Church, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. He celebrated his first Mass in St Brigid’s Church, Cabinteely, Dublin on the 24th of February.
As a seminary community we congratulate Brendan on this special occasion and wish him every blessing.
This Day of Recollection was a period of special preparation for those students who were preparing for Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacon & Priest.
These days of reflection were led by Fr. Eamon Devlin CM who is currently Provincial of the Vincentian Order.
On Thursday 14th of February 2013 Bishop Raymond Field conferred the Ministry of Acolyte on the following students:
Christopher Mc Dermott - Derry
Conor McGee - Meath
Patrick Nugent - Cork & Ross
James O Reilly - Down & Connor
Damien Quigley - Armagh
"In performing your ministry bear in mind that, as you share the one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one body with them. Show a sincere love for Christ’s Mystical Body, God’s holy people, and especially for the weak and the sick. Be obedient to the commandment which the Lord gave to his apostles at the Last Supper: “Love one another as I also have loved you.”
(Taken from the Rite of Institution of Acolyte)
Speaking at a gathering of Cardinals in Rome he made the following statement;
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
On Thursday 7th of February 2013 Bishop Eamon Walsh conferred the Ministry of Reader on the following students:
Michael Byrne - Dublin
Niall Carroll - Galway
Billy Caulfield - Ferns
Stephen Giblin - Achonry
Barry Matthews - Armagh
Evin O'Brien - Cork&Ross
Bill O'Shaughnessy - Dublin
Brother Joseph- Divine Word Missionary
"In proclaiming God's word to others, accept it yourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it constantly, so that each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures, and in all you say and do show forth to the world our Savior, Jesus Christ."
(Taken from the Institution of Readers )
This year the retreat was directed by Bishop Donal Murray. Bishop Murray was born in Dublin in 1940, attended Blackrock College, Dublin, obtained his B.A. and Masters in Philosophy at U.C.D., his B.Div. at Maynooth and his License and Doctorate in Theology at the University of St Thomas, Rome. He was ordained a priest on 22 May 1966 and lectured extensively in theology and ethical issues. He began lecturing in Mater Dei Institute of Education in 1969, becoming Professor of Moral Theology at Clonliffe College in 1970. In addition to the above positions, from 1973 to 1982, he lectured on Cathechetics in U.C.D. and from 1978 to 1982, he lectured in Medical Ethics in U.C.D. Bishop Murray is a well-known author in the areas of theology, ethics and social issues, having written three books and numerous articles, booklets and pamphlets. In 1982, at the age of 41, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. At that time, he was the youngest member of the Irish hierarchy. His advice and opinion is highly valued. He served as advisor to the Irish representatives at the World Synod of Bishops 1977. He is a member of the Vatican’s Council for Culture and was a member of four episcopal commissions. He is the moving force in the joint Commission for Bio-Ethical Issues for the Bishops’ Conferences of Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. He attended the European Synod of Bishops in Rome in Autumn 1999 on behalf of the Irish hierarchy. Bishop Murray resigned as Bishop of Limerick in December 2009. His latest publication is Let Love Speak: Reflections on Renewal in the Irish Church (Dublin, 2011)
On Sunday the 18th of November the College Community prayed for all the deceased benefactors and friends of the College. Following Mass the Seminary Community processed to the College Graveyard where the graves were blessed while Heinrich Bewerunge's Benedictus was sung by the College Chapel Choir.
Students of Philosophy and Theology graduated on Saturday, 10th November 2012.
Congratulations to all our Graduates.
This Day of Recollection was given by Rev Professor Michael McCabe, SMA. Fr. Michael McCabe is a member of the Irish Province of the SMA and worked as a missionary in Zambia and Liberia. In 1981 he was awarded a Doctorate in Theology by the Pontifical Gregorian University for a thesis on Religion and Politics in the Thought of Reinhold Niebuhr. He taught at St Paul’s College-Seminary in Liberia from 1981-’89; Kimmage Mission Institute, Dublin from 1996-2001 where he was President from 1999 – 2000; served as a member of the SMA General Council; President of the Executive Committee of the Africa/Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN) from 2002-2004; he has written in the areas of Mission Theology, Inculturation, Inter religious-Dialogue and JPIC commitment; currently Head of the Mission Studies Department of the School of Theology at Tangaza College, Nairobi.
Bishop Denis Brennan who directed the Opening of the Year Retreat was born in the Parish of Rathnure, Enniscorthy, on 20 June 1945, he was ordained on 31 May 1970 at St Peter's College, Wexford. He was appointed to the House of Missions in 1970 and Administrator of St Senan's Parish, Enniscorthy from 1986 until his appointment as parish priest of Taghmon in 1997. He served as Vicar Forane for Wexford Deanery and as diocesan delegate charged with child protection. He was ordained Bishop of Ferns on 23 April 2006.
Today Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, the National Seminary for Ireland, welcomed twelve seminarians to commence their studies for the priesthood.
At the end of September, three of the new seminarians from northern dioceses will continue their studies at Saint Malachy’s College in Belfast.
Welcoming the new candidates with their families and friends, the President of the College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, said: “As you begin your formation journey I wish you every blessing during this privileged time for discernment, for learning, for vocation, for praying, for listening and for being especially close to Our Lord in the word of Sacred Scripture, in the faith of the Church, in your participation in the Liturgy and in your service of others.
“This has been a particularly memorable year for the Church in Ireland as we played host to the successful 50th International Eucharistic Congress which took place in June. As the Universal Church prepares to celebrate a special ‘Year of Faith’, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in October, may the year ahead be an opportunity for all of us to appreciate the gift of our faith, deepen our relationship with God and strengthen our commitment to sharing our faith with others.”
The seminary community joined by students of SPCM & NUIM walked along the canal bank from the College into Croke Park the venue of the the Statio Orbis.
On the completion of the walk eucharistic was celebrated.
On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of May the Seminary Community prayed before the Blessed Sacrament offering prayers for the success of the upcoming congress.
In keeping with the theme of the congress the seminary community of St.Patrick's Maynooth hosted seminarians from Canada and Slovakia. It was a great opportunity to share friendships with fellow seminarians from around the world.
It was a great day of celebration for the College when
Rev Seán Crowley, Cork & Ross
Rev Anthony Gilhooly, Ardagh & Clonmacnoise
Rev Brendan Kealy, Dublin
Rev Paul Kivlehan, Achonry
Rev Stuart Reynolds, Glasgow
were all ordained to the diaconate read more
Gathering in St Joseph's Square and mass following procession in St Joseph's Oratory, 09.30
Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper in the College Chapel at 19.30
Celebration of the Lord's Passion in the College Chapel at 15.00
The way of the Cross in the College Chapel at 19.30
The Easter Vigil in the College Chapel at 21.30
Mass of the Lord's Resurrection in St Mary's Oratory at 09.30
Students, staff and friends of the College went on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land under the direction of Fr. Brendan McConvery from the Scripture Department of St. Patrick's College Maynooth. The pilgrimage visited both Gallalie and Jerusalem.
On Sunday the 11th of March 2012 RTE broadcasted the radio mass for St Patrick's College Maynooth. The celebrant was Monsignor Hugh Connolly President of the College.
If you missed the live broadcast you can listen to a podcast on the RTE Radio Religious Programmes Web page. Just click on the link below.
Saint Patrick's College Maynooth Drama Society presented Philadelphia Here I Come, by Brian Friel. The production was directed by Will Woods and it ran for three nights in the Aula Maxima.
On Thursday the 1st of March at St. Patrick's College Maynooth five students presented themselves for Admission to Candidacy for Ordination. These were Sean Crowley (Cork&Ross), Paul Kivlehan (Achonry), Brendan Kealy (Dublin), Anthony Gilhooley (Ardagh & Colnmacnoise) and Stuart Reynolds (Glasgow). The ceremony was presided over by Bishop Brendan Kelly who is bishop of Achonry.
Fr. Stephen Farragher from the Arch Diocese of Tuam will lead the Seminary Community in prayer and reflection as five students prepare to present themselves for Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacon and Priest.
On Tuesday 28th of February the Rev. Dr. Keith McCrory joined the Seminary Community in an evening of hospitality, prayer and reflection. Keith shared from his vast experience giving a view as to where the scripture may be calling us as Christians. Keith studied his Theology at Queens in Belfast and completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He also spent a year working and studying in Jamaica and is a former Youth Development Officer and University Chaplain with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Keith came to shared with the Seminary Community what the Bible has to say to all Christians on the journey of ecumenism
This week saw the Eucharistic Congress Bell visit the Seminary Community. It proved to be a real symbol of connection between the Seminarians, the University Community of NUIM and the Parish Community of Maynooth.
The ordination of Damien Lynch and Shane O'Sullivan to the Diaconate took place in the College Chapel on Sunday 29th January 2012.The ceremony was presided over by His Grace Most Reverend Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel
Thursday 2nd of February
: Ministry of Reader
Thursday 9th of February : Ministry of Acolyte
In our Recent Events page, you will see photos from the life of the College.
Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations: “evangelization is done on one’s knees”, as one of you said to me the other day. Always be men and women of prayer! Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and pressing duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord! Jesus sends his followers out with no “purse, no bag, no sandals” (Lk 10:4). The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.
Dear friends, with great confidence I entrust you to the intercession of Mary Most Holy. She is the Mother who helps us to take life decisions freely and without fear. May she help you to bear witness to the joy of God’s consolation, to conform yourselves to the logic of love of the Cross, to grow in ever deeper union with the Lord. Then your lives will be rich and fruitful! Amen.
The seminary is a community journeying towards priestly ministry. I have said something very important here: one does not become a priest on one’s own. The “community of disciples” is essential, the fellowship of those who desire to serve the greater Church. ... The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another. In community life, which can at times be difficult, you should learn generosity and tolerance, not only bearing with, but also enriching one another, so that each of you will be able to contribute his own gifts to the whole, even as all serve the same Church, the same Lord. This school of tolerance, indeed, of mutual acceptance and mutual understanding in the unity of Christ’s Body, is an important part of your years in the seminary. (18 October 2010)