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December 26, 2002

Deaf students accepted at St. Patrick's Seminary

From: San Mateo County Times, CA - 26 Dec 2002

In what is being called an historic development, three deaf men have been accepted as students at St. Patrick's Seminary, according to the Catholic San Francisco newsletter.

Though earlier attempts to find places for the men in eastern schools failed, the Church of the Western United States and one of its major seminaries have welcomed them with open arms.

"The seminary has found itself enriched by their presence," said Sulpician Father Gerald Coleman, seminary president. "They bring another language (sign) to St. Patricks."

The new students are returning the accolades. "I couldn't be happier at any other seminary," said student Matt Hysell, a native of Michigan.

The Bay Area is also home to Father Thomas Coughlin, the first deaf-from-birth man to be ordained a Catholic priest in the United States, and now administrator of St. Benedict Parish for the Deaf in San Francisco.

In addition to Father Coughlin, two other deaf priests minister in California, both in the southern part of the state.

"It felt like a miracle," said Father Coughlin about Archbishop William J. Levada's decision to admit the three new students to St. Patrick's.

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