Front row LtoR:
Fr Tomás Surlis, Rector; Tim Collins (Limerick); Stuart McGovern (Waterford & Lismore); Stephen Baxter (Derry)
Back row LtoR:
Ricardo German (Reykjavík); Matêj Jirsa (Prague); Jackie Lucey (Cloyne); Matthew Newell (Clogher)
Looking back, looking within and looking forward – hopefully
Fr Tomás Surlis, Rector
On 13 September, the eve of the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, I was delighted to welcome new seminarians as well as the second year group for the Introductory Programme 2020.
The remainder of the seminary community followed a week later for a formation Workshop and opening retreat, kindly directed by the Bishop of Meath. Since returning to St. Patrick’s College, our focus as a community has been on re-establishing the bonds of fraternity and on establishing a stable household. We have also reflected together on living with the reality of COVID-19.
The workshop and retreat days enabled all our seminarians to look back, to look within but also to look forward on what has already turned out to be an extraordinary year. Social distancing, the wearing of masks, hygiene protocols and blended online and face to face teaching and learning, have become an integral part of who and how we are.
While the oratories and the dining hall look different, as do all the lecture theatres – one thing remains constant and this is where we find our hope and strength. At the heart of the many challenges and opportunities which the ‘unwelcome Coronavirus guest’ has brought to our lives, there is the still, small voice of our God, reassuring us of His presence and encouraging us to look out for and to look after one another. As a seminary community, we have pledged to sacrifice some comforts and embrace some restrictions so that all of us can live together in a way that is healthy, peaceful and full of faith so that, in the words of Julian of Norwich, ‘all will be well and all manner of things will be well.’
For now, we give thanks that we are back and we hope that we can remain, as we ask God to protect our people and our world.
Fr Tomás Surlis
Rector of the National Seminary
Article on Vocations by Fr Surlis in the Irish Catholic
October 8, 2020
Read a more detailed article written by Fr. Surlis for the Irish Catholic, here or on the image below.