On Saturday November 15th, the feast of Saint Albert the Great, over 120 members of the Dominican family in Ireland (nuns, laity, friars and sisters) gathered together in Saint Mary's Priory, Tallaght, Dublin 24 to reflect on and celebrate the common Dominican vocation.
There were several inspiring and enlightening contributions during the day. The keynote address 'You will be my witnesses - our common vocation as Dominicans' was given by fr John Harris OP. Taking his starting point of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:28-42), he challenged all present to be true witnesses of Dominic saying, 'For this surely is the object of all Dominican witnessing and preaching not that we convince by our erudite arguments or scholarly presentations (albeit that such hard work is necessary), but that those to whom the Lord has asked us to witness would come to know and love the Lord himself. That we as witnesses would become irrelevant and fade away with our jobs done, rejoicing in the knowledge that now the Truth, having been met has indeed been preached'.
Responses to this address were given by a member of each branch of the Dominican family in Ireland namely: Sr. Breda Carroll (Siena Monastery, Drogheda), fr Bede McGregor (Dundalk), Sr. Edel Murphy (Dun Laoighire) and Lucy Mooney (Dominican Laity in Ireland).
Central to the day was the celebration of the Eucharist. We were very pleased to have the local auxiliary bishop of Dublin, Eamonn Walsh to preside and preach. In a challenging homily he urged all present to bring the word of God alive and active in our time and he praised the Dominican family in Ireland for their contribution to the preaching of God's word throughout Ireland and beyond.
The second half of the day was given over to personal reflections on the Dominican vocation. There were excellent, inspiring and indeed moving accounts of how an apostolic sister (Kathleen Fitzsimons OP), a contemplative nun (Sr Marie Pascale OP), a member of the Dominican laity (Kitty O Brien) and a friar (Brian Doyle OP) came to be called to the Dominican way of life.
The event concluded with the launching of a Dominican family calendar for 2009 to celebrate the Year of Vocation and the launch of a specially comissioned piece of music for the event by Geraldine Flanagan (President of the Dominican Laity in Ireland).
It was a very successful event hosted by the vocations promoters of the Dominicans in Ireland as part of the celebrations of the Year of Vocation being celebrated in Ireland.
(Pictures from this event will be posted on this blog soon)