Rise in number of men training to be Catholic priests

The total number of men training to be priests at Allen Hall, the seminary for the Diocese of Westminster has risen for a third year running.

Published 18 September 2009
The intake of 12 this September brings the total number of seminarians studying at Allen Hall to 45.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated Mass at Allen Hall on Tuesday and met with all seminarians to mark the start of the new academic year.

Archbishop Nichols said: "It is most encouraging to see the growing number of men preparing for the priesthood at Allen hall.

"They are from all walks of life with considerable experience behind them. But now they are pursuing a call from God. Please pray for them everyday.

"God willing, these men will be our future priests and lead the catholic community in years to come. I am really impressed by their commitment and generosity."

Monsignor Mark O'Toole, Rector of Allen Hall said, "It is with great joy and a continued sense of God's mercy and faithfulness that we begin this new seminary year.

"We are mindful that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has instructed us in this Year for Priests that it is only in an honest 'heart to heart' encounter with Christ that we grow in the real 'knowledge of love'. Only this personal experience with Christ can fully sustain our life in the seminary."

Of the 12 starting at Allen Hall this year, six are training to become priests for the Diocese of Westminster.

Jeffery Downie, 39, previously worked as a retail manager said: "It's wonderful to be here. It's a very relaxed and a happy place. There's a strong sense of care and love in the place coming from the formation team."

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