Propaedeutic students aren’t seminarians

Propaedeutic students aren’t seminarians

Dear Editor, In attempting to shed light on Ireland’s vocation numbers (Letters, IC 3/10/2019), it seems that Canon Paul Ferrer has drawn attention to just how much fog and confusion bedevil this subject.

The term ‘pre-seminary’ never appears in the Holy See’s 2016 Ratio Fundamentalis on priestly formation, he says, highlighting how the document identifies propaedeutic formation as part of the seminary system, and saying that “pre-seminaries, if they exist at all, are our parishes, homes and families”.

Just a year ago this week, however, our bishops issued a statement about 17 men starting formation for priesthood, with eight of these doing a propaedeutic year, noting that the aforementioned Ratio “strongly recommends to bishops around the world the introduction of a pre-seminary (propaedeutic) year for new candidates who wish to discern their priestly vocation”.

In other words, according to our bishops last year, propaedeutic students should not be considered seminarians.

Yours etc.,

Cathal Rafferty,


Dublin 14.


A noticeable clash between Old and New…

Dear Editor, As some of your readers will realise, some of the earliest signs of a willingness to address the abhorrent misuse and abuse of our planet come in the Bible.

For example, in the Book of Revelation there is a reference to those who are trying to destroy our Earth: “The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who are destroying the Earth.” (Rev 11:18)

It is not surprising that this verse comes at the end of the Bible as at the beginning of the Bible, the Book of Genesis describes the basis of the imperative of those who actually try to destroy the Earth – mankind: God blessed mankind, saying: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the Earth and subdue it.” (Gen 1: 28).

The positions conflict with one another. Either God is confused about the destruction of the Earth or the God of the Old Testament is a man-made creation that is used to justify, inter alia, what mankind is doing to the Earth.

Yours etc.,

John O’Connell,

Derry City,



Unplannedis a timelyfillip

Dear Editor, The film Unplanned comes to our country like a gift at this time! It tells a true story with compassion and sometimes shocking honesty. It also encompasses repentance, forgiveness and the healing power of prayer.

Whether we voted ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in the recent referendum, I believe we owe it to ourselves to see it. As the caption says: “What she saw changed everything!”

Yours etc.,

Eamon Fitzpatrick,

Strandhill Road,  Sligo.


Acalendarthat willbemissed

Dear Editor. It is with disappointment I have learned that Down syndrome Ireland will not be bringing out their 2020 calendar.

Anyone who is familiar with this calendar will know what a spectacular, visual affirmation it is of the beauty of our Down syndrome children.

I hope this is an administrative glitch and not something more permanent?

Yours etc.,

Judith Leonard,


Dublin 4.


When time doesn’t really matter

Dear Editor, I enjoyed reading Fr Cotter’s article in Notebook (IC 10/10/19) on punctuality or otherwise of Massgoers. It reminded me of a running joke that I had with my late father.

He lived near a village in Co. Tipperary.  I visited him frequently from Dublin for weekends.

The only local Sunday 10am Mass changed times between summer and winter and I could never get it right.

On Saturday evenings I would say to my father “What time is 10 o’clock Mass tomorrow?” He always tried not to smile and answered the question without raising his head from his book or newspaper.

The fond memory still makes me smile.

Yours etc.,

Anne McGrath,


Dublin 16.


There’s capital purpose to the spelling of Mass

Dear Editor, The word ‘Mass’ is a commonly used reference for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It has been in vogue since the early 6th Century and prior to that, Christians spoke of the eucharistic act of worship as ‘the Breaking of Bread’ and ‘the Lord’s Supper’.

The word ‘Mass’ comes from the Latin word missa which means ‘to be sent’ and is regularly used to describe the celebration of the Eucharist. However, if spelt without a capital ‘M’, it can have a variety of meanings and misconceptions that could be both diminutive and irreverent. Similarly, it does little to convey the significance or sacredness of this Sacrament as the source and summit of Catholic worship.

In recent times, it is regularly spelt in the lower case by the secular media and regrettably in some instances in Catholic publications.

It is time this unfortunate practice or anomaly is corrected so that due regard is accorded to what the word Mass, with capital ‘M’ really means.

Yours etc.,

Francis Beirne,