All change at the Irish College in RomeSunday, May 13th, 2012
A number of changes in the clerical staff involved in formation in the Irish College in Rome are due to take place in the coming weeks.
Three of the four priests who deal with the formation of seminarians are due to return to their dioceses in Ireland.
According to a statement from the Catholic Communications office, the rector of the Irish College in Rome, Fr Ciarna O'Carroll, has announced that vice Rector Albert McDonnell, director of formation Fr Billy Swan and college spiritual director Fr Chris Hayden are to return to their dioceses at the conclusion of the current academic year.
Fr McDonnell returns to the Killaloe diocese, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden return to the Ferns Diocese. The four Archbishops, who are trustees of the Irish College, are expected to announce new appointments to each post after they meet later this month.
As well as personal factors, is widely thought that the changes are been made following the apostolic visitation to the Irish College by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan (pictured).
In a report published last March, he praised Irish seminary staff for being, “dedicated formators” who were committed to their work of, “priestly training,” but called for a, “more systematic preparation,” for priestly life in the seminaries and greatly concern, “for the intellectual formation of seminarians,” to ensure that their education was in, “full conformity with the Church's Magisterium.”
The report also recommended that the pastoral training of seminarians be re-evaluated to ensure that it is, “sacramental, priestly and apostolic, and concerned with preparing candidates to celebrate the sacraments they preach.”
Speaking about the changes, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said, “In colleges there is constant changeover, maybe after the apostolic visitations it is not a bad idea to bring in new people, new ideas and move forward.”
Archbishop Martin also revealed that the spiritual director had asked to leave due to health reasons while the vice rector was serving beyond his term. The only one to remain in his position the current rector of the College Fr O'Carroll was only appointed to his position last summer.
He succeeded Monsignor Liam Bergin who had been in the position for 10 years and is now teaching at Boston College in the United States.
In a statement, Fr O'Carroll said that he wished to acknowledge, “the contribution that Fr McDonnell, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden have made to the life of the college during their time of service here. I wish them every blessing and success in their new appointments and for the future.”
The Irish College in Rome currently has around 60 students studying for the priesthood with just under half coming from Ireland and the rest coming from a number of different countries around the world.
by Sean Ryan