US seminarians to transfer to the Pontifical Irish College
A group of 15 seminarians from the US are to pursue their academic formation at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
From September, the group will transfer their residency to the Pontifical Irish College in an arrangement that will initially run during the 2016/17 academic year.
The seminarians are from the Saint John Vianney College Seminary (SJV) in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
Founded in 1628, the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, is home to 50 students, with 14 coming from Ireland and the others representing many different nations.
It is the last of the many Irish colleges that were once scattered over Europe when it was not possible to educate priests in Ireland.
After almost four hundred years, it continues to fulfil the purpose for which it was founded, the education of students for the priesthood in Ireland.
It also accommodates Irish priests who are undertaking postgraduate studies in Rome, as well as postgraduate priests from other parts of the world.
In recent years, students from the Orthodox Churches have studied at the college under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.
Four Irish diocesan priests make up the college staff, led by the rector Monsignor Ciaran O'Carroll.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who is chairman of the board of trustees for the Pontifical Irish College, approved the new US partnership.
"The presence of these United States' seminarians will enrich and consolidate the seminary community in the Pontifical Irish College, under the overall leadership of its rector, Monsignor Ciaran O'Carroll. Together with Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul Minneapolis, I wish the project every blessing and success," he said.
Fr John Bauer, SJV formator and spiritual director, will also take up residence next month in the Pontifical Irish College.
"It is hoped that this formative experience will connect SJV seminarians with both Irish seminarians and the international community of post-graduate priests who live at the college," he said.
"It will also provide SJV seminarians, as they continue their studies in the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with an opportunity to experience the vitality of the universal Catholic Church, and form intercultural friendships, while pursuing their studies."