Statement issued on behalf of the Trustees of St Patrick’s College, Thurles
1. Suspension of Seminary
During recent years the number of students for the priesthood has been declining in St Patrick’s College, Thurles. As a result a situation has now been reached where it is no longer feasible to sustain the appropriate seminary experience to meet the demands of priestly formation today. Hence, the Trustees of the College have, with regret, decided to suspend the seminary side of the College’s work while present circumstances persist.
2. Salute Past Achievement
St. Patrick’s College has made a significant contribution to Church and society in Ireland and throughout the English-speaking world since its foundation in 1837. We salute and give thanks for the generous and dedicated service of our many priest alumni who have ministered in dioceses throughout Ireland and further afield during the past century and a half. We rejoice in their achievement.
3. The College Continues
While the seminary side of the work of St. Patrick’s College is being suspended we wish to emphasize that the College will continue to operate as a third level institute of theological and philosophical studies. For much of its history St. Patrick’s College has welcomed lay students to its courses. Since 1988 lay students have again enrolled in degree, diploma and national certificate courses in the College. This lay department will continue and be expanded. The College is in ongoing discussion with Tipperary Institute regarding a planned new degree programme aimed at young people considering a career in teaching. Recently St. Patrick’s College entered the Central Applications Office (C.A.O.) system so that its courses can now be more easily accessed by prospective students.
4. Centre of Renewal
For many years St. Patrick’s College has functioned as a centre for theological, pastoral and spiritual renewal in the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly and neighbouring dioceses. This work will also continue and be expanded in the future. Plans are now at an advanced stage to upgrade College facilities to enhance this work.
The Trustees of St. Patrick’s College wish to acknowledge with sincere gratitude the generous service of staff, both clerical and lay, to the work of the College over so many years. They also thank the many dioceses at home and abroad which patronised the College and supported its work. Above all, they wish to express their appreciation to the many benefactors, both near and far, through whose generosity it has been possible for the College to continue its work. Grateful for past favours, the Trustees appeal to the many friends of St Patrick’s College to continue to support the work of the College
in the future.
6. Present Students
Our existing small cohort of clerical students are now transferring to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth where they will continue their formation for the priesthood. We wish those students every blessing and success in their lives and ministry.
7. Past Students and Friends
The decision to suspend seminary work in St Patrick’s College will, understandably, cause disappointment to past students and friends of the College. However, circumstances rendered unavoidable the present painful decision.
8. The Future
The Trustees of St Patrick’s College regret the present suspension of the seminary. But, mindful of the Lord’s promise to provide his Church with “pastors after his own heart” (Jer 3,15), we pray for the day when increasing numbers of vocations to the priesthood may render it possible again for St. Patrick’s College to resume its ministry of priestly formation. Meanwhile, the College is determined to respond courageously to the needs and challenges facing Church and society in the decades ahead. We pray that a future worthy of its proud past awaits St Patrick’s College as it begins another chapter in its long history.
Signed of behalf of the Trustees:
Rev. Christy O’Dwyer,
29 August 2002
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