Wednesday, 24th April 2024

Address of Most Revd Sean Brady

Address Given by His Grace, Most Reverend Seán Brady D.D. D.C.L., Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland To His Holiness Pope John Paul II

Most Holy Father,

The community of the Irish College, Rome, greets you on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the granting of Pontifical status to the College by Your Predecessor of happy memory, His Holiness Pope Pius XII.

Knowing that Ireland, the Irish and young people in particular have a special place in your heart, we are delighted to be with you and immensely grateful to you for giving this Audience to us today.

In 1948, Your Predecessor, Pope Pius XII, recalled the care given to the College by the Supreme Pontiffs, Gregory XIII, Gregory XV, Paul V and Leo XII. The College rejoices in the constant care which You show to us. We recall with great joy your visit to the College on 13 January 1980. Today, we thank you for yet another sign of Your paternal solicitude for our well-being. In His decree, Pope Pius XII noted the importance of forming students for priesthood near the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, the centre of truth. Close to Peter and under the guidance of the Bishops of Ireland, the College continues this work in our time.

The motto of the College recalls the words of St. Patrick “Ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis.” From the dawn of Christianity in our land, Irish pilgrims have journeyed across Europe to visit the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Since 1628, seminarians have shared in this pilgrimage and have returned to our country enriched by their experience. Roman in their loyalty to the Successor of St. Peter and Catholic in their appreciation of the Universality of the Church, they have helped pass the light of Christ to successive generations. With God’s help, the Church in Ireland in the Third Millennium will continue to benefit from this experience of the Universal Church.

While the majority of our seminarians and postgraduate priests come from Ireland, we have priests and students from other countries, including your native Poland, and five members of the Orthodox Churches, sent to us under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. The Sisters of St. John of God, who care for the College, are a valued part of the College community.

Ireland stands at a critical moment in its history. The Peace Initiative has reached a crucial point in the negotiations. I pray, in this year devoted to the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit of Peace and Reconciliation will lead our country into a new and harmonious era in a new Millennium. I thank You for Your consistent concern for peace in Ireland. I ask the help of Your prayer particularly at this time. Through the intercession of St.Oliver Plunkett, a former student of the Irish College and tireless peacemaker, may the peacemakers of today achieve a lasting peace.

On behalf of the College and of the people of Ireland, I assure Your Holiness of our loyalty and prayers. 
(28th March 1998)