A couple of weeks ago, at Mass, the parish priest gave us some information which I reproduce:
Approximately 650 priests hold appointments from the Archbishop of Dublin. (Note that the population of Catholics is just over a million.)
About a quarter of these priests belong to religious congregations or missionary societies; e.g., Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Marists; etc.
One priest was ordained for Dublin in 2004 (Fr. Victor Fitzpatrick).
There will be no ordinations for Dublin in 2005; two seminarians entered in 1998, but, for one reason or another, left the seminary.
He said "We hope to have a number of ordinations to the priesthood next year", but he didn't say which number. (actually, zero is a number but I digress. . .)
Five seminarians were accepted into formation for the priesthood last Autumn.
The Archdiocese currently has twelve seminarians: five are currently studying philosophy, and seven are in theology. Eleven are in St Patrick's College, Maynooth; one is in the Irish College in Rome.
Who are they and where are they from originally? Well, they range in age from 19 to over 50, and like many large cities, Dublin has always had candidates from outside the Diocese; years ago this was because other dioceses had more students than they needed. Now it's mainly because the seminarians enter at an older age, and have already been studying or working in Dublin
The current students are from Donnybrook, Artane, Springfield, Hartstown, Rathmines, Saigon, Belfast, Newtownmountkennedy, Lagos, Waterford, Derry and Dungannon.
We also heard that fourteen men "have been in on-going discernment" with the Diocesan Vocations Centre, and a number of these have made a formal application to be accepted as seminarians.
He said that the number beginning formation this coming Autumn will be smaller than the five of last year.
The normal period of training is seven years; three years philosophy, three years theology, and one year on-the-job training.
The Diocese Vocations Director is Fr. Kevin Doran; read about him here. You may also notice that he is the long-lost, identical-twin-brother of Commander Ryker from Star Trek The Next Generation!! (OK, I made that bit up!)