Saint John's seminary in Waterford is to close because of falling vocations. The announcement was made today by Bishop William Lee in a letter to mass goers. The college is 192 years old and has trained over a thousand priests over the two centuries.

In the past decade and a half the number of seminarians declined from more than 50 to just 13. Next summer they will be dispersed to other seminaries. But Bishop Lee said he is examining ways of keeping the college as a major resource for the diocese.

This is the third seminary to close in the south east in recent years. Saint Kieran's in Kilkenny and Saint Peter's in Wexford also closed because of declining vocations.