Tag Archives: seminarians

Ushaw College Seminary to close in 2011

UK’s The Tablet ran a news piece today saying the seminary for the North of England dioceses, Ushaw College, is closing at the end of the school year in June 2011. Currently, 7 English dioceses are served by UC. Ushaw was first founded in Douai, France in 1568 and has been located four miles west of Durham City since 1808.

From its heyday of 400 men studying for the priesthood to 26 today, the Ushaw has a staff of 62.

The story of Ushaw is grim and it sounds like St Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) which has fewer than 25 seminarians for the secular priesthood. For the time being SJS is working alone and is slated to merge with Huntington’s seminary.

Collar & cleats: seminarians compete for the Clericus Cup title

clericus cup Italy 2010jpg.jpgThe other day the NY Times had a positive story about happenings in the Catholic Church. Yes, it’s possible that a good human interest story dealing with Catholic seminarians!

The annual soccer tournament known as the Clericus Cup is an association of seminaries and houses of formation in Rome who have a friendly competition. This is only the 4th year of competition.
The Church is a longtime fan of sport, especially a fan of soccer because it’s not only fun but sport promotes good social interrelations, brotherhood among the international students, skill, healthy mind, body & soul and good sportsmanship. So, it is true that seminarians are more than just students….
The author brings out that a number of popes have had an appreciation for soccer
Read Gaia Pianigiani’s story “Shedding the Collar to the Lace Up Cleats.”
The Pontifical North American College seminarians pulled together a handy website for the Clericus Cup.

Clericus Cup 2010: learning to work with athletes, seminarians take to the field

Today begins the 2010 Clericus Cup (soccer tournament) for Catholic seminarians and young priests studying in Rome teaching values of good sportsmanship. 16 international seminaries or religious houses participate in the Cup. The Pontifical North American College Martyrs represent the USA. 

NA Martyrs team 2010.jpg

The games are co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Council for the Laity and various other organizations. The Vatican has backed the games for the last 4 years. President of the Clericus Cup said: ” The Church is close to those in the sports world, those who work hard, and train, making sacrifices to show that through sports, common rules are shared and new friendships are made.”
Friendship among the seminarians –future priests– is the point of this tournament.
This year there are 373 players representing 65 nationalities. The Mexican seminarians are a favored team over the Italian. May 22 is the final game.
The story can be viewed here.
The Zenit article can be read here.
The CNS article can be read here.

Pope Benedict asks: does man need Christ & the message of salvation?

Pope Benedict XVI spoke to members of the Pontifical seminary communities of Las Marcas, Puglia and Abruzzo-Molise, while attending the centenary celebrations of their foundation on Saturday, 29 November 2008. While this is an address to bishops, priests and seminarians, it is worthy of us to reflect on and to seriously follow what is said by the Pope. The relevant excerpts follow with my emphasis given in the text:



Pope.jpgI would now like to address you in particular, dear seminarians, who are preparing to be laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. As the recent assembly of the Synod of Bishops also recalled, among the priority tasks of the priest is that of spreading with full hands the Word of God in the world, which, like the seed in the Gospel parable, seems too small a reality, but once it has germinated, it becomes a great bush and bears abundant fruit (cf. Matthew 13:31-32). The Word of God that you will be called upon to spread with full hands and which brings with it eternal life, is Christ himself, the only one who can change the human heart and renew the world. However, we might ask ourselves: Does modern man still feel a need for Christ and his message of salvation?


In the present social context, a certain culture seems to show us the face of a self-sufficient humanity, anxious to carry out its projects on its own, which chooses to be the sole architect of its destiny and which, consequently, believes that the presence of God does not count and so excludes it from its choices and decisions.

In a climate marked by a rationalism shut-in on itself, which considers the practical sciences as the only model of knowledge while the rest is subjective, non-essential and determinant for life. For these and other reasons, today, without a doubt, it is increasingly more difficult to believe, more difficult to accept the truth that is Christ, more difficult to spend one’s life for the cause of the Gospel. However, as we see every day in the news, modern man often seems to be disoriented and worried about his future, seeking certainties and sure points of reference. As in all ages, man of the third millennium needs God and seeks him perhaps without realizing it. The duty of Christians, especially of priests, is to respond to this profound yearning of the human heart and to offer all, with the means and ways that best respond to the demands of the times, the immutable and always living Word of eternal life that is Christ, Hope of the world.


In face of this important mission, which you will be called to carry out in the Church, the years spent in the seminary take on great value, a time allocated to formation and discernment; years in which, in the first place, must be the constant search for a personal relationship with Jesus, a profound experience of his love, which is acquired above all through prayer and contact with the Sacred Scriptures, interpreted and meditated in the faith of the ecclesial community.

St Paul Giotto.jpgIn this Pauline Year, why not propose the Apostle Paul to yourselves as model in which to be inspired for your preparation to the apostolic ministry? The extraordinary experience on the road to Damascus transformed him, from persecutor of Christians to witness of the resurrection of the Lord, willing to give his life for the Gospel. He was a faithful observer of all the prescriptions of the Torah and of the Hebrew traditions; however, after having found Jesus “whatever gain I had — he writes in the Letter to the Philippians — I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (cf. 3:7-9). Conversion did not eliminate all that was good and true in his life, but enabled him to interpret in a new way the wisdom and truth of the Law and the prophets and thus be able to dialogue with all, following the example of the Divine Teacher.


In imitation of St. Paul, dear seminarians, do not tire of encountering Christ in listening to, reading and studying sacred Scripture, in prayer and personal meditation, in the liturgy and in every daily activity. In this connection, dear ones responsible for formation, your role is very important, as you are called to be witnesses for your students even before being teachers of evangelical life. Because of their typical characteristics, the Regional Seminaries can be privileged places to form seminarians in diocesan spirituality, inscribing this formation in the largest ecclesial and regional context with wisdom and balance. Your institutions should also be vocational “houses” of welcome to give greater impetus to vocational pastoral care, taking care especially of the world of youth and educating young people in the great evangelical and missionary ideals.

Cricket, anyone? Seminarians exercise for a cause

Cricket.jpgRome Reports reports that the seminarians from the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae and players from the Fellowship Team from Holland played cricket to collect funds for 240 children in an Indian orphanage. The story is here.

Do you know what cricket is? I don’t. But I did have a cricket in my room the other night making so much noise that I was kept awake for hours. Just in case you don’t know what cricket is –like me– have a read of this wiki article on cricket.

AND now we look forward to the Clericus Cup in 2009.

610x2.jpgTeam USA from the Pontifical North American College lost the spring 2008 game 4-0. The Clericus cup is Vatican-sponsored and is an international soccer tournament for priests and seminarians studying in Rome. The games are played at the Oratorio San Pietro, a center with a field maintained by the Knights of Columbus since the 1920s.

Rome Reports is religious-based group of journalists reporting on the Catholic Church.  Based in Rome, Rome Reports is proximate to the source happenings in the universal Church. While many of their stories are centered in the Eternal City they do report on global matters. The TV version of Rome Reports is carried on EWTN on Sundays at 10 a.m EST.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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