Irish Turn Corner On Vocations:
The Irish Times’ Patsy McGarry reported November 24 that the widely acclaimed “ vocations crisis” in Ireland is now “ a myth,” as Irish seminaries now boast the largest number of future priests in years, and the average age of entrants is dropping.
The national coordinator of diocesan vocations, Fr. Paddy Rushe, told The Irish Times that he expects the number of seminarians to double and triple in coming years.
McGarry reported: “ Noting that 30 men entered seminaries to train as priests in Ireland last September, with 31 having done so in September 2007 and 30 in September 2006, [ Rushe] contrasted this with the situation at the beginning of the decade when, in 2000 for instance, 13 men entered. Of that number nine were ordained last year. Of those entering in recent years, he expected that at least 18 would be ordained in each year. ‘ The problem is that when people sign up, it takes six or seven years for them to be ready,’ Fr. Rushe said.
“ This meant that ‘ we are only starting to see people emerge who signed up in 2001, which was a bad year for the Catholic Church as scandals broke and we were at the height of the Celtic Tiger.’ “ Should the numbers of seminarians continue to rise, he expected an influx of new priests to the Irish Catholic Church by 2014. He forecast that ‘in 2014 we will see twice, if not three times, as many new priests emerging’.”
(As reported by The Wanderer Catholic newspaper.