Despite a gloomy nation-wide picture, Westminster diocese has experienced an increase in vocations

Allen Hall, the Diocese of Westminster’s seminary in London, has witnessed an increase in the number of men joining the priesthood, at a time when national figures are far from positive.

Eleven men have started studying for the Catholic priesthood since the start of the 2010 to 2011 academic year at Allen Hall, bringing the total number of men preparing for priesthood at the seminary to 46. This number includes men who are preparing to become priests for the Diocese of Westminster and also for other English and overseas dioceses and religious orders including Lancaster, Nottingham and Helsinki.

Monsignor Mark O’Toole, Rector of Allen Hall said:
“It is great to have this number of men preparing for the Catholic priesthood at our seminary. The 11 new seminarians, both Religious and Diocesan, who join us this year embark on a long period of formation, a time not just spent ‘studying’ or ‘training’ for the priesthood but also growing to become more like Christ the Good Shepherd, men of faith and integrity.”

The Diocese of Westminster alone now has 33 men preparing for the priesthood, with eight men having started this September. Of these, three are studying at Allen Hall, with three more at Vallodolid, Spain and one each at the Beda College and the Venerable English College, both in Rome.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols expressed his delight over the increase in priestly vocations in the Diocese and reiterated the Holy Father’s call for “good and holy men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep”.

He said: “In the Diocese of Westminster through new initiatives such as a monthly Vocations Mass at Westminster Cathedral and a new Vocations Discernment Group for Young Adults, I believe that more men will be prepared to consider the priesthood as their vocation. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, I hope that they will ask Christ “for the generosity to say ‘yes’!”