BY Amanda Connelly | June 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Scottish seminarian on praying for vocations

AMANDA CONNELLY speaks to Ryan Black about the call to the priesthood, and surviving a hot Roman summer

Following on from an incredible year for priestly ordinations last year in Scotland, our country continues to be blessed as more young men take the next step on their journey towards the priesthood.

Earlier this month saw Paisley Diocese seminarian Ryan Black move closer towards ordination, as he was admitted as a candidate for Holy Orders, after five years of study at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.

Mr Black spoke of his delight at being admitted, and spoke of the quick five years that have passed during his time in seminary.

“I was delighted to be admitted as a candidate for Holy Orders last week,” he told the SCO. “The seven-year programme of formation for the priesthood that is offered at the Scots College might sound like it takes too long, but, five years in, it certainly has not felt that way for me.

“Nevertheless, these important milestones on the way to ordination are celebrated well at the college and they break up what might otherwise be long semesters and academic years in Rome.”

At a beautiful Mass in the Scots College on Thursday May 17, Ryan was admitted as a candidate, where he was joined by Archbishop Arthur Roche, who celebrated the Mass, along with Ryan’s family, friends, clergy and fellow seminarians at the college.

Ryan described that it was ‘wonderful’ for the archbishop to have been able to celebrate the Mass, and shared the words of his homily.

“He met with me before Mass to ask me some questions about my life before Rome,” he said. “He also asked me how I felt about taking this next step.

“His homily was very encouraging. He spoke directly to my parents and my aunt; they had travelled to Rome to be at the Mass.

“Speaking to me, he said: ‘You have fallen in love with the God who has chosen you.’

“He added that while ordinations are times for the Church to declare her intent, the Rite of Admission is a time for the aspirant to declare his.”

Ryan praised the ‘wonderful community’ at the Scots College, and the ‘unforgettable’ ‘friendship, prayers and support’ he has been given from his fellow student priests in recent weeks and over the five years of his studies so far.

However, he noted that some of the changes that come with being candidate take some getting used to.

“As a candidate, I now wear a clerical shirt and collar around the city of Rome,” he said. “This has been strange and it has taken a little getting used to, not least of all because of the Roman heat that is starting to creep in.

“Wearing clerics helps us to get used to doing so in Scotland; people react to you in many different ways—sometimes negatively but more often positively.”

Upon reaching the important milestone on his vocation journey, Mr Black spoke of the need for us to pray that God helps young men answer his call to the priesthood, and the efforts we can all do to make it easier for young men to respond positively to a call to a priestly vocation.

“We will never stop praying for vocations to the priesthood,” Ryan said. “When we pray, we ask God to help the many young men in Scotland whom He is calling to answer generously and with love for Him and His Church.

“There is no way to make sure that these young men, together with Our Lady, will respond positively. However, we can all do a little more to make it easier for them to do so.

“How many more priests might we have in Scotland if more families had the courage to speak about this wonderful vocation with their sons, brothers, grandsons?

“How much of an impact would it have on the number of vocations nationwide if more people spent time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers and to help those labourers to hear His call?”

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