24 January 2022
By Tom Collins
The Capuchin Order in Ireland has announced the closure of three of their friaries, including one in Cork.
Br. Seán Kelly, Provincial Minister, said the friars will no longer have a community in residence at St. Anthony’s Friary, Carlow, St. Francis Friary, Rochestown or in St. Francis Parish, Priorswood, Dublin.
The Rochestown Friary is one of two in Cork. The Capuchin Order also has a community at Holy Trinity Friary in Cork’s city centre.
The decision was made at a meeting of the friars in Ireland and based on the fact that they have just 65 friars with an average age of 78. In 2002 they had 114 friars with the average age being 70.
Br. Kelly said that when Rochestown Friary was founded in the 1870’s it was the first of their friaries to return to regular religious life after the penal times.
“It is an important place to us and to so many friars who have given years of their lives to the friary and to the college. Those brothers who have provided for the spiritual, moral, sporting and artistic education of generations of young men who have passed through its doors are remembered by so many and many of their mortal remains await the resurrection from our little cemetery close by.
“Over the years Rochestown became the cradle of the order in Ireland, St. Francis College being founded first in 1884 to encourage vocations to the Order and then becoming a boarding school from which many young men entered the Order and went forth to bring the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. The friary also served as a Novitiate house for much of that time, though we are sad to note that the college has not had a vocation to the Capuchins since the late 1980’s.
“While the friary is closing we want to affirm our continued support of the School. The friars will continue as its patrons, sitting on the Board of Management and providing a “Link Friar” to offer sacramental and pastoral assistance and Franciscan formation to the school community. The closure of the friary will in no way affect the running of the College.”