Articles never highlight good aspects to formation in Maynooth

Dear Editor, I’ve read with interest David Quinn’s article on concerns expressed about the national seminary needing to be aired (IC 09/07/2015). On reflection, I welcome what appears to be a relatively balanced article. However, I was not entirely satisfied.

I myself am a former seminarian and I’ve seen articles from another source that were hard hitting, yet lacking in the overall context.

In my seminary experience, there were some good aspects to formation in Maynooth, which for some reason good or bad, did not make the papers. I remember the staff there did deal sufficiently with a difficult scenario involving one seminarian who behaved inappropriately towards another during my time in formation. The action taken would give any discerning young man confidence to take that next step towards the vocational calling. A negative media focus on the other hand deters young men from answering God’s call.

David Quinn mentioned that over the years he has been approached with a certain amount of regularity by past and present students of Maynooth seminary. It would be good if he could give readers a figure or estimate.

It would be equally helpful if Mr Quinn could offer readers insights, such as how many former seminarians went on to religious orders pursuing the priestly call or abandoned the Faith altogether after their experience in Maynooth.

I can say as a former seminarian that kneeling at the consecration was not in vogue at the national seminary. I knelt maybe twice during my two-year stint at Maynooth, and when I did, another seminarian (now ordained) would get nervous, giving anecdotal warnings.

The popular title of ‘Mass’ was also not in vogue, instead we would participate at ‘Eucharist’.

When journalists write up stories on Maynooth, or raise issues on the national seminary, I would hope in future, that they also would offer alternatives for the discerning man. For example, are there any quality alternative religious orders one could consider joining.

Yours etc.,

Gearóid Spainach,

Ashtown, Dublin 15.