After a wonderful picture appeared in the Irish Catholic recently of five students who took a ‘selfie’ with the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, the students received a personal invitation from the Archbishop to visit him in the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.
The students were part of a group of Pope John Paul II award students from Ardscoil Na Mara, Tramore, Co. Waterford, who were assisting at the ordination of the new Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Bishop Phonsie Cullinan. After the ceremony, as the students were leaving, they bumped into the Apostolic Nuncio, whom they met last October at the launch of the award in the diocese, and the opportunity arose for a ‘selfie’ photo. This event was captured by a photographer in the Irish Catholic, and published the following week.
Archbishop Brown saw the great photo in the paper, and subsequently invited these students to the Apostolic Nunciature and they met with him along with other students completing the Pope John Paul II award. During the meeting, the students chatted with the Archbishop, and asked him a number of questions about his journey to priesthood; how he came to be appointed to Ireland; his views and hopes for the Church in Ireland; his concerns about the current lack of vocations; his meetings with three Popes including Pope Francis; and his time working in the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and as a priest in the Bronx, New York.
After the meeting, the Archbishop presented each student with a Rosary Beads, blessed by the Holy Father (which the students prayed upon on the bus journey home). This was followed by another photo opportunity, this time at the entrance to the Nunciature.
St Patrick’s College Maynooth Prior to the meeting with Archbishop Brown, the students travelled to St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and had a tour of the College Chapel, and noted the places where Pope John Paul II visited during his historic visit to Ireland in October 1979. They stood and prayed at the altar where Saint John Paul II stood and addressed the seminarians, and paused at the Statue of Our Lady along the cloister of the college, as the late Pope did on that historic day.
The students also had an opportunity to question seminarians about their vocation story; why they are thinking of being ordained priests; what challenges they see for the future; their views on the referendum on marriage; and what life is like for them as a seminarian.
One of the seminarians they met is Rev. Shane O’Neill from Knockanore, who will be ordained priest in July for the diocese of Waterford and Lismore.
The students were overwhelmed at the events of the day, which came simply from one photo in the newspaper.
Archbishop Brown commented: “These students and their energy are such an inspiration to all young people and to everyone involved in the life of the Church in Ireland at this time.”