Historical Article from ‘The Record’

Used with permission from “The Record” of the 4 August 1994.

Perth’s second seminary for diocesan priests is the only one of its kind in this part of the world and can be described as theā€¦

Gateway to Asia

With St Charles this year already back in full service, Perth has now its second seminary for diocesan priests up and running. The finishing touches are now being put to the Morley premises which will be the only one of its kind Australia’s part of the southern hemisphere.

After an experimental period Archbishop Hickey has given 21 seminarians of the Neo-Catechumenate Way the use of the Morley premises once the private hospital of the late Eileen Lalor, and he will proclaim the Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary at a Cathedral Mass on August 15.

The unique Perth venture joins 24 other similar seminaries catering world-wide for 850 seminarians, with a further 1500 in training to start priesthood studies.

The international group will study at Notre Dame University alongside St Charles’ seminarians and share other courses with the group from Guildford where the Neocatechumenal students have conducted their classes since February last year.

The candidates will follow the normal diocesan process of studies, candidacy and pastoral placement in parishes leading up to ordination as priests for the Archdiocese of Perth, and having local assignments for the first two years.

At that juncture the Archbishop may accede to their request to work with the Neocatechumenal Way in other de-christianised areas of the world, while still canonically attached to his Perth jurisdiction.

With the current students ranging from Zambia, India, Ireland, Singapore, Peru, Costa Rica, Philippines, Venezuela, Italy and Australia, the West Australian operation becomes what the local supervisor Marist Father Michael Moore calls “the gateway to Asia”, with the nearest seminary neighbours being in India, Japan and the Philippines.

English language studies are provided and Italian is used as an alternative form of communication.

Half of the candidates are in their first year, the remainder in second year and all will have spent two or more years with Neo-Catechumenate families, discerning their vocation with the help of local priests.

Father Moore said Perth was chosen for the seminary because of the interest expressed by Archbishop Hickey in initial Australian approaches.

The Redemptoris Mater seminary is self supporting and depends on benefactors for its operations, including the renovation of the Morley residence. Archbishop Hickey has pointed out that the archdiocesan commitments to the re-establishment of St Charles preclude financial help to the second seminary.

He said also that there will be no competition for vocations since candidates for Redemptoris Mater can come only via the Neocatechumenal Way.

Archbishop Hickey last week detailed his two visits to the Rome seminary founded in 1987 from which 63 priests are now working in Rome and other Italian dioceses, with 120 seminarians in training.

He also visited this year the 72 strong Newark seminary that numbers Gerry Prindiville of Perth in its ranks from which Archbishop McCarrick recently ordained the first seven Neocatechumenate priests along with eleven from the diocesan seminary that has 90 students.

Advice has also been received from Cardinal Hume who has a Redemptoris Mater seminary with 24 students in his Westminster diocese and whose diocesan seminary rector is positive about dealings his seminary has had with Neo-Catechumenate students in residence.

Addendum: In October 1999 there are 29 seminarians coming from 13 countries: Australia, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Colombia, Argentina, Philippines, India. Three Priests have been ordained and four seminarians will be ordained Deacons at the end of 1999.