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Thursday, August 21, 2008

There has always been a "Priest Shortage"

August 17, 1907





Most of the New Priests Come From
Ireland to Kansas City -- Pre-
paratory School Established
to Encourage Interest.

In a circular letter sent out to all the priests in the Kansas City diocese and read in the churches yesterday, Bishop John J. Hogan deplores the fact that there are so few young men in the diocese who have become priests and urges upon all pastors to encourage more young men to embrace the ministry.

The Kansas City diocese is twenty-seven years old, but at the present time it has furnished only half a dozen priests. Every year priests are imported from abroad, especially from Ireland, in order to make up the dearth of native pastors. Twelve priests have been brought into the diocese in the last three years and four priests are expected to arrive from Dublin within a month.


"Religious vocations are not less frequent here than elsewhere," said the Rev. Michael J. O'Reilly, pastor of St. Patrick's church. "The difficulty is that those who show by their pious lives that they have been called to the priesthood do not have the opportunity to get the preparatory education that would fit them to enter the seminary. We have only one priest, Father J. W. Keys of St. James church, who was born in this diocese and is now here. It would be a thing to be desired if all of our churches could be filled with native born priests, educated in the state and conversant with the spiritual needs of our people in a way that one raised in another country can not be.


A preparatory school for the education of priests was established two years ago, called the St. John's school, and it is quartered at present in rooms over the St. Patrick's parochial school building at Eighth and McGee streets. Last spring fifteen young men graduated there and they are now attending higher seminaries in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Allegheny and St. Paul. In his letter the bishop urges all parish priests in the diocese to send all boys whom they think wish to enter the priesthood to this school, which is planned to accommodate enough students to supply the number of priests that the diocese needs. The desire of the bishop is that every parish should be represented by one student, at least.

The course in the school embraces five years of classics and two of philosophy. The four years of theology must be gotten in a higher seminary. A priest is not ordained before his is 24 years old except by dispensation. As soon as the Christian Brothers build their new school, in the South Side, the building now occupied by them next to the cathedral will be given up to the seminary. The school opens September 8.

The teaching staff of the school consists of three priests at present. Father T. F. O'Sullivan, Father John McElligot, and Father Thomas Fitzgerald of Independence. Bishop Hogan and a priest have given all that they possess of earthly goods to the seminary.

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