Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

Dublin Ordinations

Posted on 14. Nov, 2017 by in Banner, Carousel

“The Church can never be the closed community of the like-minded. It can never be simply a comfort zone. The Church must be a dynamic community that can live in any specific culture, but is always marked by a Gospel freedom that allows us as believers to discern values that endure, even if they are not fashionable or popular.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Homily for the Dublin Diocesan Ordinations on the Feast of St Laurence O’Toole


On the 14th November, Feast of St Laurence O’Toole, the Archbishop of Dublin ordained Rev. Bill O’Shaughnessy and Rev. James Daly to the priesthood at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral. Fr Bill and Fr James completed their initial formation for the priesthood here at the Pontifical Irish College. It gives us great joy to see them begin a new stage of their lives as persons, as disciples, and as priests of Jesus Christ.

Fr Bill O’Shaughnessy, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Fr James Daly

Fr James Daly, Msgr Ciarán O’Carroll, Rector, Fr Bill O’Shaughnessy

Solemnity of All Saints

Posted on 01. Nov, 2017 by in Banner, Carousel

Members of the College Community in the Campo Verano Cemetery at the Irish College Plot

As is customary on the public holiday and Solemnity of All the Saints, the College Community gathered in the Cimitero Verano to remember and pray for the dead. In a particular way, we remembered those students and staff of the College who died here in Rome and whose remains are interred in the Irish College plot.

Visitation of Bishops

Posted on 01. Nov, 2017 by in Carousel

Bishop John Fleming, Killala, and Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Waterford & Lismore, with members of the Irish College community.

Bishop John Fleming and Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan visited the Irish College, on behalf of the Irish Bishop’s Conference, from 23rd to 25th October 2017. They met with all members of the College Community; seminarians, post-graduate priests, and formation staff.

Video on the life of Fr Ragheed Ganni

Posted on 19. Jun, 2017 by in Carousel

A tenth anniversary Mass for the late Fr Ragheed Ganni was celebrated at the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, on Sunday, 11th June 2017 at 10.00. The celebrant was Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll, Rector, and the homily was preached by Fr Rebwar Audish Basa, a friend of Fr Ragheed and author of a new book on Fr Ragheed’s life.

Ragheed Ganni came to the Pontifical Irish College in Rome in 1996 as a seminarian and was ordained priest in 2001. He stayed on in this college as a postgraduate priest until 2003 when he returned to Iraq. In Iraq, he exercised his priestly ministry with great courage. He was well aware of the risks to his safety, but he was committed to shepherd the flock of Christ entrusted to him. On Trinity Sunday, 3rd June 2007, the day the Irish were celebrating the canonisation of St Charles of Mount Argus, Fr Ragheed celebrated Sunday Mass in the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul where he was the Parish Priest. After Mass, Fr Ragheed and three subdeacons got into their car, but gunmen surrounded the car, and asked Fr Ragheed why he hadn’t closed the Church. He replied, ‘How can I close the house of God?’ The gunmen demanded that the four of them convert to Islam, and when they refused, they were shot down and killed.

Sunday Mass at the Irish College

Posted on 04. Jun, 2017 by in Carousel

Sunday Mass in the Chapel of All Saints of Ireland, Pontifical Irish College, Rome.

Sunday Mass in the Chapel of All Saints of Ireland, Pontifical Irish College, Rome.

The weekly 10am Sunday Mass at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome is open to the public. Pilgrims to Rome are very welcome to join the College community and those who come regularly to the College for Mass as we offer thanks and praise to God in the celebration of the Eucharist. Afterwards, all those in attendance are invited to partake of refreshments and fraternity on the loggia.

Chatting over refreshments on the loggia after Mass.

Chatting over refreshments on the loggia after Mass.

To see the location of the Irish College on the map of Rome, click here.

Presentation to Mary’s Meals, Lenten charity 2017

Posted on 23. May, 2017 by in Carousel

After Mass on Sunday, 21st May 2017, the proceeds of the Pontifical Irish College Lenten charity appeal, €4,280, were presented to Mary’s Meals, the charity chosen by the seminarians for Lent this year.
The photo shows Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll, Rector, making the presentation to Mr Francesco Stefanini of Mary’s Meals, along with the seminary charity officers and Fr Paul Finnerty, Vice Rector and Fr Hugh Clifford, Director of Formation.

Thank you to all who contributed to the collection during Lent.

The Pontifical Irish College, Rome seminarians chose Mary’s Meals as this year’s College Lenten charity. Mary’s Meals provides meals to some of the world’s poorest children every day they attend school. They also work on the solution to getting them fed in the long term.

The founder of Mary’s Meals, Mr Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow met a lady called Emma while he was involved in Scottish International Relief (SIR), providing famine relief in Malawi. She was dying of AIDS and lay on the floor of her hut surrounded by her six young children. Emma said all that was left for her was to pray that someone might care for them after her death. Magnus asked her eldest, Edward, what he hoped for in life. He replied simply: “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.” Edward’s words helped inspire the founding of Mary’s Meals, which aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal every school day.

Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow serving meals to school children in Haiti.

With school feeding having become the sole focus of its work, SIR officially changed its registered charity name to Mary’s Meals. The number of children receiving Mary’s Meals continues to grow and it is moving closer to feeding one million children every school day. Its simple but effective approach has gathered momentum and today we serve children across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Mary’s Meals also supports a home for young people with HIV who were abandoned as children in Romania.

To see the Mary’s Meals website, click here.

Ordination to Diaconate 2017

Posted on 18. Apr, 2017 by in Carousel

Photo taken after the ordination shows (left to right): Fr Hugh Clifford (Director of Formation), Fr Thomas Norris (Spiritual Director), Mons. Joseph McGuinness (Administrator, Diocese of Clogher), Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll (Rector), Rev. Seán Mulligan (new Deacon), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (Archbishop of Dublin), Rev. Robert Smyth (new Deacon), Rev. James Daly (new Deacon), Fr Paul Finnerty (Vice Rector), Fr John Bauer (Director of Formation, St John Vianney Seminary, Minnesota).

Three seminarians of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, were ordained deacons on Easter Tuesday by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, at the Church of Saint Alphonsus on the Via Merulana in Rome. Rev. James Daly (57), originally from Midleton, Co. Cork, a former parish pastoral worker and teacher, and Rev. Robert Smyth (32), from Knocklyon in Dublin, a former management consultant, were ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin, while Rev. Seán Mulligan (46), from Knockatallon, Co. Monaghan, a former intellectual disabilities nurse, was ordained for the Diocese of Clogher. All three are transitional deacons, meaning that they are due to be ordained to the priesthood later. In recent years in Ireland, permanent deacons have also been ordained, so that Deacons have become a more familiar presence exercising a unique ministry in the Church.

Deacons are ordained to a ministry of service, with a special concern for the poor and those in need. They also carry out various sacramental and liturgical roles in the name of the Church, such as baptising, assisting at the altar and reading the Gospel at Mass, preaching, presiding at certain occasions of prayer and at parts of wedding and funeral liturgies.

Family members and friends of the new Deacons travelled from Ireland to be present at the ceremony. The Church of St Alphonsus is in the care of the Redemptorist order and it houses the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In his homily, Archbishop Martin spoke of how God has called each of the new Deacons by name, to be loved, and to live in service to God’s people, collaborating with the rich variety of other ministries in the Church.

Commenting on the ordination, the Rector of the Irish College, Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll said, “It is with great joy that we celebrate the ordination to the diaconate today of three seminarians from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. On behalf of everyone at the Pontifical Irish College I congratulate James, Robert and Seán on their ordination. I wish them every happiness and blessing as they commence their diaconal ministries of service, of charity and of leadership in prayer and liturgy. May they experience God’s grace anew in their lives so that they may courageously proclaim the Gospel in word and deed, generously serving the people of God in their various dioceses with care and compassion.”

To view photographs of the occasion, click here.

Performance of ‘Twelve Angry Men’ at Pontifical Irish College

Posted on 03. Mar, 2017 by in Carousel

Members of the community of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, performed Reginald Rose’s play, Twelve Angry Men, directed by Joseph Keegan, at the College on St Patrick’s Day, Friday 17th March and Saturday 18th March 2017.

The play is a courtroom drama about a jury that must reach a consensus on the basis of reasonable doubt, and the dynamics that unfold among the members as their deliberations proceed.

For photographs from the performance, click here.

Here is a reflection, written by Fr Colin Rothery:

Twelve Angry Men, St. Patrick and welcoming the Other as Gift
            Reginald Rose’s play seems more relevant than ever, 60+ years after its publication. It has a lot to say to our world, full (as it always has been) of emmigrants and immigrants moving in search of a decent life free of danger, immigrants who may meet prejudice or openness. The Gospel brings a message of hope for the outsider, the accused, the prisoner (guilty or innocent), the one who is different, the outcast, the one on the other side of the wall. As Pope Francis put it in his Lenten message of 2014, ”Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances.”
         Christ brings hope of reconciliation when the distance between us seems unbridgeable, because he understands us from the inside, beyond our accents, our customs and our national blindspots. When a violent crime is committed, we know the hurt that’s caused, but do we ask what series of events lead to it, what sense of hopelessness or anger helped to push him or her to do what we ourselves might do were it not for God’s grace?  As the 12 jurors talk, argue and shout, they (and we with them) come to understand that ‘everyone has a breaking point’.  ”How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope! And how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care.” (Pope Francis, Message for Lent, 2014). In Rose’s play, a young man from such a background is in danger of a death sentence. But is he guilty or innocent? Does he (or anyone) deserve a death sentence?
         Christ knows what it means to have your life hang in the balance of other mens’ judgement. In a way, He is the immigrant personified, leaving the bosom of the Father in the incarnation, and putting himself in the position that the immigrant will always have: the end of the queue, the weakest, the one who is sometimes  feared and sometimes driven out. He challenged his people to try to see the Samaritan and the pagan no longer as ”one of them”, but as a child of God. And He challenges us to go do the same.
                St. Patrick lived among the Irish as a foreigner. No doubt he saw the good and the not so good side of the Irish, and who knows whether as a missionary bishop travelling around the country with a strange religion from another country, he heard someone shout from time to time, ”Go back to your own country! We have our own Gods! ” ? In our world, the temptation to look after ourselves first and others after, whether at an individual, local, national or even a faith level, continues and is even being encouraged in some quarters. But Christ has a different way. In his message for Lent 2017, Pope Francis speaks of the importance for Christians of seeing the other as gift, not as a threat.
               One of jurors in 12 Angry Men expresses his fear of the other in these terms, ”they are different. They think different. They act different”, and while in a way that can be true, Rose’s play invites us to look below the surface, to do what Christ did: ”come and walk a mile in my shoes”. To try to understand where are differences come from, and more importantly what binds us together in the one humanity taken by Christ. ”12 Angry Men” makes a passionate (and very entertaining) plea to work for what Pope Francis calls ”the culture of encounter in our one human family.” (Lenten Message 2017).

Fr. Colin Rothery

Admission to Candidacy 2017

Posted on 22. Feb, 2017 by in Carousel

Left to right: Front: Mr James Daly (Candidate), Mr Seán Mulligan (Candidate), Cardinal James Harvey, Mr Robert Smyth (Candidate).
Rear: Fr Paul Finnerty (Vice Rector), Fr Hugh Clifford (Director of Formation), Fr John Bauer (Director of Formation, St John Vianney Seminary, Minnesota), Fr Thomas Norris (Spiritual Director), Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll (Rector).

Three seminarians of the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, were admitted to Candidacy for ordination to Diaconate and Priesthood by Cardinal James Harvey, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, at a Mass in the College Chapel on 22nd February 2017. The new Candidates are Mr James Daly and Mr Robert Smyth of the Archdiocese of Dublin and Mr Seán Mulligan of the Diocese of Clogher. The three Candidates will be ordained to the Diaconate by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin on Easter Tuesday, 18th April 2017.

Ministry of Reader 2017

Posted on 11. Jan, 2017 by in Carousel

Left to right: Fr Paul Finnerty (Vice Rector), Fr Hugh Clifford (Director of Formation), Fr Thomas Norris (Spiritual Director), Cardinal Kevin Farrell (Prefect, Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life), Mr Colm Hagan (new Reader), Fr John Bauer (St John Vianney Seminary, Minnesota Director of Formation), Mons. Ciarán O’Carroll (Rector).

Mr Colm Hagan, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Armagh, was conferred with the Ministry of Reader at a Mass in the College Chapel by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, on 11th January 2017.

The Ministry of Reader is a Church ministry in itself, but it is also one of the steps along the way in formation for the Priesthood.

Here is the description of the Ministry of Reader from the Apostolic Letter, ‘Ministeria quaedam’ of Blessed Pope Paul VI (August 15, 1972):

‘The reader is appointed for a function proper to him, that of reading the word of God in the liturgical assembly. Accordingly, he is to read the lessons from sacred Scripture, except for the Gospel, in the Mass and other celebrations; he is to recite the psalm between the readings when there is no psalmist; he is to present the intentions for the general intercessions in the absence of a deacon or cantor; he is to direct the singing and the participation of the faithful; he is to instruct the faithful for the worthy reception of the sacraments. He may also, insofar as necessary, take care of preparing other faithful who by a temporary appointment are to read the Scriptures in liturgical celebrations. That he may more fittingly and perfectly fulfill these functions, let him meditate assiduously on sacred Scripture.
Let the reader be aware of the office he has undertaken and make every effort and employ suitable means to acquire that increasingly warm and living love and knowledge of Scripture that will make him a more perfect disciple of the Lord.’