Sunday 25 February 2018

Priests urged to reconnect at college get-together

Conor Kane

"RECONNECTING" was the theme of a special Mass held yesterday for priests who gathered this week at their alma mater for a nostalgic reunion.

St Patrick's College in Thurles, Co Tipperary, has been playing host to up to 100 of its former students from the days when the college was a seminary, and the highlight of the reunion was the Mass in the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption, celebrated by Archbishop Dermot Clifford among others.

Archbishop Clifford was one of the guests at a celebratory banquet in the college last night, along with former president of St Patrick's, Bishop William Lee from Waterford and Lismore, and current college president, Fr Tom Fogarty.

The homily at yesterday's Mass was delivered by Fr Eugene Baker, another past student now based in the diocese of Cloyne.

Fr Baker spoke on the subject of "reconnecting" -- both reconnecting with each other and with Christ -- in a sermon described as "inspiring" by Fr Fogarty.

This was the ninth reunion of its kind and the event is held every five years.

Once a busy seminary when Ireland was ordaining hundreds of priests every year, St Patrick's no longer trains clerics but is instead used as an education college, with up to 230 students expected for its second-level teacher training next month.

However, this week has seen more than 100 priests now working throughout the world gathering at the college for a chance to meet old friends, share old memories and reflect on their work and church.

The reunion finishes today, although many of the priests who travelled from abroad will be staying in the country for some time to take holidays and visit family and friends.

Former students of St Patrick's arrived in Thurles from numerous countries, including the UK, the US, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand as well as Irish dioceses.

Irish Independent

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