Mt. St. Mary’s,
Sun. 5th Sept. ’71.
Dear Mum & Dad,
Thankyou very much for Fr. Carpentier’s “Life in the City of God”. It will be very valuable to have. Also, thanks for the hymn book – I wrote to Sister Agnes.
There is quite a lot of news this week…
Firstly, the Chapter finished at “Futuna” on Thursday. They will have a second session next Christmas. As I said, the main issue decided was the problem of getting degrees. Their decision doesn’t affect me directly (probably not anyway, but it will be decided at a meeting next week).
They decided that ‘normally 3 years at University be included as part of the Seminary formation, and that a suitable house be established for this purpose.’ These 3 years don’t mean that the Seminary course is extended to 10 years. The rest of the course is to be modified, so that the Seminary training will in future take 8 years (but it probably won’t affect me).
This decision of course has created an uproar all over the country, because it’s so radical. It means that the whole structure of the seminary & Novitiate will have to change completely. Details are not worked out yet.
When I say that it probably won’t affect me, I mean that it will if the House gets established before next year. However, I doubt whether they will want to rush into the new system because overseas when they have rushed into things like this the majority of students have left! However, something had to be done, & they’ve decided.
The “House” would probably be in Wellington, and have very good priests in charge of it. There would be little room for activities at the Varsity other than study, because you’ve still got some studies for the priesthood to do back at the “House”. A family atmosphere would have to be created at this house. The big point about the whole change is –
It’s not primarily for getting degrees, but it is primarily for being formed in preparation for the priesthood. So probably, if you’re not bright enough to get a degree, you’ll still go to live at this House for a year or so.
Anyway, there are still many details to be worked out, & I can explain it better when I see you.
Fr. Hickey is now Provincial, but is continuing as Superior here as well until the end of the year. Fr. Bourke has been appointed to St. Bede’s.
We had Fr. Chapman’s funeral here last Friday. Of course, having taught here for almost 40 years, and having studied here as a student – this almost makes ½ a century! So he knew an awful lot of priests so they all converged on this place. I played the Organ at the Mass.
Well, had better go now. The Fathers who were at the Provincial Chapter are very tired. While this Varsity problem was on the floor, some of them didn’t get to bed for 3 days, & when they did they couldn’t sleep! The effects a decision like that can have is going to be enormous – either way.
P.S. On reading my letter over, I don’t think I made it clear that the Seminary is still going to be at Greenmeadows. Those attending Varsity will go to the “House” but will return to Greenmeadows during holidays where the other student are studying.