Recommendations from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan are believed to have played a part in the transfer of three priests from the Irish College in Rome.
Cardinal Dolan was part of an apostolic visitation last year which also took in St Patrick’s College in Maynooth and the Milltown Institute and All Hallows College in Dublin.
The Irish Times reports that the transfer of the priests back to Ireland from Rome was based on a summary of all seven visitation reports published last March.
The report called for ‘a more systematic preparation’ for priestly life in the seminaries.
The Irish Times says it also suggested measures ‘to ensure that seminary buildings be exclusively used for seminarians of the local church and those preparing them for the priesthood, to ensure a well-founded priestly identity.
Now, three of the four priest staff members at the Irish College in Rome who deal with the formation of seminarians are to return to their dioceses in Ireland, according to the paper.
It states that the Catholic Communication Office has said in a statement that the rector of the Irish College, Dublin priest Fr Ciaran O’Carroll, has announced the moves.
Vice-rector Fr Albert McDonnell, director of formation Fr Billy Swan, and college spiritual director Fr Chris Hayden are to return to their respective dioceses at the conclusion of this academic year.
The paper reports that Fr McDonnell will return to Killaloe diocese, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden to Ferns diocese.
The four Irish archbishops, who are trustees of the Irish College, will announce new appointments to each post after they meet later this month.
Rector Fr O’Carroll said: “I wish to acknowledge the contribution that Fr McDonnell, Fr Swan and Fr Hayden have made to the life of the college during their time of service here.
“I wish them every blessing and success in their new appointments and for the future.”