Facade of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome

By Vatican News

June 16 2020

The Irish Catholic Bishops announce the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, will not be accepting seminarians from Ireland in the academic year 2020-2021.

The news regarding the Pontifical Irish College in Rome came in a statement recounting some of the topics discussed during the Bishops’ Summer General Meeting.

The statement reads that “the Trustees of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, reported to the Bishop’s Conference that the College does not intend to receive Irish seminarians for the academic year 2020-2021”. The Bishops added that the decision will remain under review.

They recognised that the College “continues to provide an important service to the Church in Ireland”, and confirmed that they are open to the possibility of sending seminarians to the College in the future.

The Pontifical Irish College is a seminary, established in 1628, that accepts young seminarians from all over the world to undergo priestly formation.

Ongoing formation for priests

The Acting Rector, Father Paul Finnerty, released a report in which he noted that the College “will continue to be a place of ongoing formation for priests”.

This, the Bishops explain, “includes facilitating those pursuing postgraduate studies and those wishing to undertake a longer or shorter period of sabbatical renewal in Rome.”

The College will also continue to host the semester-abroad programme for seminarians from the USA.

In line with the New Ratio for Seminary Formation, the Bishops assure that they continue to consider future ways to prepare priests with the human, spiritual, theological and pastoral aptitudes needed to address challenges of contemporary Ireland.

They also acknowledged the Trustees’ commitment to explore new ways in which the College can be of service to the Church in Ireland.

This, the statement explains, will include “both its historical ministry of priestly formation – initial and ongoing”.

Enriching Roman experience

The Irish College is also considering formation programs for various forms of ministry in Ireland, included the permanent diaconate, parish catechists, and parish pastoral workers.

Finally, the Bishops agree that the “broad, global, and universal viewpoint offered by a Roman experience has been enriching for many down through the centuries.” They add that this “remains true today, and into the future.”

New vice Rector at the Pontifical Scots College

The news comes as the Pontifical Scots College in Rome announces a new Vice-rector.

Fr Nick Welsh, aged 36, was chosen for the post by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

He is expected to begin the role at the national seminary in September.

Fr Welsh currently serves as parish priest at Our Lady and St Andrew, covering Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk, and as Vicar Episcopal for Education for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

Fr Nick attended the Scots College as a seminarian between 2007-14, and has a Licence in Theology.