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Augustinians to run Ostia programme in Limerick city

By Sean Ryan - 14 August, 2016

The programme will help students make the bridge from secondary school to university.

Fr Noel Hession OSA

The Augustinian Order looks set to provide accommodation for six students attending one of the three third level colleges in Limerick city.

The Order has received conditional planning permission to convert the former St Augustine’s School at Augustinian Lane into a student complex which will house six young men.

The order will be looking to recruit students attending one of Limerick’s third-level colleges, namely University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College to form a new religious community, known as the Ostia brotherhood.

While the first batch of students who are expected to move in in September 2017 will be drawn from two Augustinian secondary schools in Co Wexford; in subsequent years, any young man who is an active member of an Augustinian church can apply.

Fr Noel Hession OSA, the priest who is heading up the initiative in Limerick City told the Limerick Leader that the programme will be “helping students make the bridge from secondary school to university. We have been talking a lot for a long time about how we should engage with young people as we are getting older,” he said.

“Essentially, these students will live as a type of religious community in a simplified form. They will have prayer time, some common meals and some involvement in the church and other aspects”.

The Ostia programme can only last for one year before a new intake of students will move in, but Fr Hession says he would hope the six founding students will form a close link with the church throughout their time in university, and support their successors.

As part of the plans, the Augustinians are planning to give the former school “a lot of refurbishment”.

The entrance door will be moved to the centre for fire safety reasons, while the windows will be replaced. There will be a kitchen, a sitting room, and a prayer facility, with all bedrooms en-suite.

This week it was confirmed that Limerick City and County Council gave the development planning permission subject to ten conditions.

These include a stipulation that the apartments will be used for students only, the courtyard area must be landscaped, with all works on the building supervised on an on-going basis by a conservation architect.

Bicycle parking must also be made available on site, local authority planners stipulated.

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