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Scottish Catholic Media Office
Church News

Bishop hopes new BBC seminary documentary will encourage vocations

by Tola Mbakwe

A new documentary will give an in-depth look at what life is like training for priesthood. 

Priest School which will air on BBC Scotland Sunday night follows students for a year in the Scots College in Rome.

It features three seminarians, one of which who is in the first year, the other who's is half way through the seven-year training, and a third who in their last year.

Interview with Michael, one of the seminarians

Rt Rev John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley is president of the vocations promotion agency Priests for Scotland and also studied in Scots College in Rome. 

He told Premier how the college works: "A number of countries will have a national college where the students from different countries will go and they'll pray together, they'll celebrate and mass together and then each day they go into four or five universities where they all gather together and study their philosophy and their theology and then some particular postgraduate studies."

Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry
Carfin Grotto, National Pilgrimage Mass withThe Relics of St Therese of Lisieux, Sunday 1st Sept 2019.

Bishop John said he when he started seminary in Rome he was nervous about the cultural difference, but hopes this documentary will allow those thinking about being a Catholic priest to be better prepared. 

"I remember when I went to Rome for the first time in 1988. Most of my life had been lived in Glasgow and then to go out into this new city in Italy with all of this different ways something very new and mysterious to me. I didn't know what I was letting myself in for.
 
"For someone watching this documentary who may be sensing a call to the priesthood, they have a bit of mystery revealed to them they can see what the college's like, they can see what life is like over the course of a year. If they're called to this they might be more ready and able to say 'yes'."

Bishop John said it's vital to continue to encourage vocations during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I think in this time of darkness and uncertainty and trouble for our world, what it means more than ever, is the light and the Good News, and the assurance and joy of the of the gospel, is shared."

Priest School which will be shown on BBC Scotland on 19th April at 10.15pm.

Listen to the interview with Bishop John here:

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