Friday, February 29, 2008

Update on Year of Vocation

The national organising committe for the proposed 'Year of Vocation' are busily engaged at a number of levels in preparation for the start of the event. A project manager is to be appointed soon to oversee the events of the year. A website is being developed and will be in operation and available shortly before the commencement of the launch of the year. The web address will be . Brochures explaining the year along with prayer cards will be distributed to all schools and parishes in the country. Events to coincide with World Youth Day are also being planned. And there will be much more........!!

I have been in touch with all the Dominican communities in Ireland asking for their input and support for events that we as a Dominican province will undertake during the 'Year of Vocation'.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vocations Weekends Continue

Having successfully completed two vocations 'live-in' weekends on Sunday last, preparations are now underway for our third such weekend. It will be held in our house of studies - Saint Saviour's Priory, Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1. The weekend will commence with evening prayer on the evening of Friday, March 14th and conclude after lunch on Sunday, March 16th.

There will be further weekends arranged in the coming weeks. Details will be posted on this blog and on the website of the Irish Dominican Friars.

These weekends are very important as an experience of community living for those interested in joining the Order. Could I ask readers of this blog to keep all our aspirants in your prayers?

Friday, February 22, 2008

'Vocation Crisis'

The headline in this weekend's (issue of February 21, 2008) Irish Catholic - Ireland's primary Catholic paper has the above front page headline 'Vocation Crisis'. The lead article and editorial are based on the publication of data the new Irish Catholic Directory 2008 which paints a gloomy picture about the lack of vocations in Ireland. The new directory highlights the fact that in the past year 160 priests have died, while there were only 9 ordinations. More starkly, for female religious is the statistic that 228 religious sisters died in the past 12 month period while only 2 (two) made final vows or profession. Indeed any reading of the other data given is quite depressing - if one wants it to be.

In the editorial of the Irish Catholic, the editor suggests that a National Synod of bishops, priests and lay people be convened to discuss the crisis. He says the 'business as usual' approach just won't wash anymore. He calls for a mature debate in order to facilitate lay people having a voice in decision making.

The convoking of a Synod may be good in itself. Indeed, I would encourage it. However, I would boldly suggest that we need to look closer to home to deal with the so-called vocations crisis. Religious Orders (male and female) and the dioceses really need to look at how seriously they take vocation promotion or vocation direction. I have long been an advocate for orders and dioceses to appoint full-time personnel to this work. I realise that it is a painful decision for any order, society or diocese to release men and women for such work on a full time basis - but otherwise we will not be able to create any notion of a culture of vocation at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that to not do so means we are failing in our own vocations to promote new membership to our church in Ireland. The time for talking is long since gone - this surely is the time for action, before it is too late!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Interesting Blogs

In recent times I have come across a few interesting blogs with some relavance to Dominican vocations.

The blog of the vocations director of the Australian Dominicans is worth a look and is of course well presented. I have mentioned elsewhere here the excellent blog of the English Dominican studentate - there's little to comapre with it. Excellent too is the blog of the vocations director of the Dominican Province of Saint Joseph, USA

I really enjoy reading A Penitent Blogger and Toward Contemplation. A blog in its infancy is that of one of the community of Redemptoristines in Dublin. They are my neighbours and I celebrate the Eucharist for them on occasions. It is great to see a new postulant in the community.

And finally, a word about blogs in general. I know there are blogs to suit all shades and types of opinion and activity - and good luck to them. But, for the life of me, I am still at a loss as to why blogs written by religious persons (so called) are used for the purposes of ranting.

Recent Happenings with Good News

I realise that it has been alomost a month since the last blog entry. Looking back on the month, I have had little if any time to blog. From 20-25 January, I spent almost a week in Rome in in our priory of San Clemente. On my return, there was a successful live-in for those interested in joining the Order at our priory in St. Saviour's Dublin (25-27 January).The week of January 28 to February 1 was given over to maintaining ongoing contacts with candidates interested in the Order. This entailed travel to Cork (twice), Donegal, Fermanagh, Cavan and Drogheda - with some further meetings of a similar nature in Dublin.
From February 2nd to 11th, I preached the annual novena in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes in our priory and parish church of Saint Mary, Tallaght, Dublin. This was a very enjoyable experience for me. I don't often get the opportunity to preach as much as I would like. It was also enjoyable to be in the one place for nine consecutive days - a rarity!February 12th to 16th was spent on the road mostly with meetings with individuals who are enquiring about our way of life in Sligo, Cork and Belfast. You can see perhaps how I have had little time for blogging! Still, I am enjoying the work - and that's so very important!

It is the time of the year when candidates are weighing up their options and in the way of making decisions about their various futures. I am in the happy position to report that as of today, four men have indicated that they will be applying for admission to the novitiate this September. We have much to thank God for!