Cardinal welcomes 15 deacons to bolster priesthood
FIFTEEN new seminarians have been ordained in the Catholic Church in a bid to ease the declining numbers of clergy in Ireland.
The 15 deacons – which means they are in their last stage of training for the priesthood – were ordained by Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
Their family members turned out from all over Ireland to celebrate the ordination which took place yesterday in the Chapel in St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
It currently has 70 residential seminarians and 20 additional day students pursuing studies for the priesthood.
The newly-appointed transitional deacons can preach the homily and assist the priest at mass as they continue with their studies for the next 12 months at which time they will be ordained as priests.
All 15 students are from different parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland and range in age from mid 20s up to mid 50s.
Cardinal Brady remarked on his happiness at seeing a growing international community within the Catholic Church.
He told the congregation he had attended two confirmations and one ordination of a Polish priest during the weekend and remarked on the joy it gave him to see so many nationalities present at both events, "dressed so elegantly in native costumes".
He told the new deacons to hear the words "go make disciples of all nations."
The Association of Catholic Priests estimates that in 1984 there were 171 ordinations or religious professions in Ireland, a figure that has dwindled in the years since then.
Last year, 20 new seminarians began their studies for the priesthood, which was up from 12 people in 2012.
Some 22 men began training in 2011 and 16 in 2010.