Your prayers are asked for Ryan Browne who is in his third year of formation at the Venerable English College, Rome and he writes:
“I herald from the peripheries of the Diocese; the parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Bournemouth, where Fr Kevin Hoiles is the parish priest. I was born to Irish-Catholic parents, who are ‘country folk’ from West Cork and I have one brother who is a teacher at St Walburga’s Catholic primary in our Diocese. I attended Corpus Christi Primary school in Boscombe, and later attended St Peter’s School in Southbourne. After finishing my A-Levels, I studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Exeter, with a year of study in America. After taking some time out of study and working for a year, I decided to apply to the Diocese to be accepted for formation for the sacred priesthood. Here I am now, in the midst of my third year as a seminarian for Portsmouth. I remember that when I was growing up, I was very much mesmerised by the priesthood. Over the years I’ve had so many great encounters with priests. I always remember my first parish priest Fr John Dunne, who was a fantastic example of priesthood: prayerful, humble, pastoral, joyful – I could go on at length. It was the example of priests like Fr Dunne who encouraged me in my growing desire to be a priest. What is very beautiful now is that I have his set of breviaries, which I now use every day when I pray in seminary.
The last time I wrote for e-News, I was in my second year of seminary, here in Rome. Seminary really has been a long journey when I look back. The pandemic in particular provided me with some good opportunities. During the first lockdown, I lived with Fr Leslie Adams in Havant; thanks again Father! I was alongside another of our seminarians, Edward Hauschild. This was a fantastic opportunity for community building and getting to know another priest of our diocese. In the summer of our second year, we typically do a placement in Italy, to help with our study of Italian. Due to ongoing covid restrictions last year, this was not possible. I found myself living with the Pallottines instead, at the Italian parish of St Peter’s in Clerkenwell, London. This was a great opportunity to live in an Italian community. It’s a stunning Church that is mirrored on the basilica San Crisogono here in Rome, so I recommend a visit next time you are in the area.
Here I am now in my third year, sustained by the prayer and support of many great people. I truly believe that our vocations are sustained by the many blessings God sends to us in the form of our neighbour. I thank all those who have been closely involved with my formation so far. This year has afforded me with many opportunities too. One in particular has been writing some gospel reflections for Vatican Radio. You can listen to these if you wish on their website. Vatican Radio has many different forms of outreach and is a great resource for us to use. Indeed, our very own seminarian, Jack Ryan, also writes reports on this platform.
Overall, no vocation is easy in practice, and priesthood is no exception to this rule. There is a lot to do at seminary, which contributes to the four pillars of formation: human, spiritual, pastoral, and intellectual. Therefore, please continue to pray for us all on this challenging, yet rewarding journey in seminary. Pray that we may be really formed as Christ wants us to be, so that we may one day serve you with a love that is rooted in Jesus the High Priest.
Thank you again to all of you for supporting myself and all our other seminarians, we are very grateful and we pray for you daily. Please continue to encourage others to consider their calling and what God might be calling them to do. In a special way, continue to encourage young men to be courageous to consider whether they might be called to the priesthood”.
Ryan’s prayer request is that we all keep in our prayers the ongoing war in Ukraine. Let us pray that peace will be restored. Why not pray a decade of the rosary, keeping this particular intention in mind?