The above question has been brought to my attention recently by one of our friars. He was reminding me that a 'vocations weekend' is not an open invitation to all and sundry to walk in off the street, so to speak, and live with us for a period of time. He is, of course, quite right. The vocations weekends organised by the Irish Dominicans are by invitation only. Those attending would have met with the vocations director on a number of occasions before being invited to participate in such a weekend.
Vocation weekends too are part of the overall process of discernment. It is part of the experiential module of discernment. The other parts of discernment are prayer, regular meeting and contact with the vocations director, meeting with other friars of the province who have special interests in formation, study, spirituality etc., gathering information about the Order through literature, research and other means and, as mentioned, through the experience of living with and sharing in the life of communities from time to time.
The hope, of course, is that for the discernment process to work well, all these component parts would form part of the overall picture for candidates and enable them to make an informed decision as to whether the Domincan way of life is suitable for them. As I write, the final vocations weekend of this academic year is about to get underway in a few hours time - an opportune time for me to ask your prayers once again for those attending.