Nineteen men are to start their studies for the priesthood this term at St. Patricks College, Maynooth, which used to be one of the largest seminaries in the world. The latest intake brings the total number of students to 75, compared to 63 last year. The president of St. Patricks, Mons. Dermot Farrell expressed satisfaction at the enrolment figures, which continue last years upward trend in the number of men studying for the priesthood, declining numbers having been the rule for the previous 20 years. However vocations remain low throughout the country, with only 28 trainee priests in 2004 compared with the 169 first-year trainees in 1984. Of those who enter for training it is estimated that only about a third go on to be ordained at the end of a very tough seven-year period.
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