Saturday, January 31, 2009

Year of Vocation - February 2009: Focus on Religious Life

The Year of Vocation in the Catholic church in Ireland continues. A theme or focus for each month from April 2008 to May 2009 had been suggested by the organisers of this year. The theme for February 2009 is the vocation to religious life. I realise that there are some events planned in some parts of the country to celebrate and recognise the work done by the various religious orders. But many of these events have been ongoing for some years now.

While one does not wish to be critical, I think it is fair to ask (with only three full months to go to complete this Year of Vocation) a few questions of those who have been charged with leading and guiding this specially designated year. (1) Why has communication from the Year of Vocation Office stopped? (2) Why has the specially designated website for the year not been updated for several months now? (3) Where has the impetus and energy that greeted the opening of the Year of Vocation gone? (4) Dioceses, religious orders and others were asked last year to subscribe financially to this effort. Has the money been well spent? (5) Is it the fact that the Year of Vocation was so broad based in outlook that it has completely failed to capture the imagination? I would like to hear some responses........

Just for balance, I realise that some organisations, orders and dioceses have made some efforts to be creative around the Year of Vocation but from my perspective it looks like a drop in the ocean in what might have been achieved. What a pity.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 87 year old Dominican rosary blogger!

Fr Gabriel Harty OP (pictured above) is writing a blog on the rosary! Gabriel, a member of our Irish Dominican province has spent at least fifty years promoting devotion to the rosary. For many years, he was Promoter for the Rosary for the Irish Dominicans. A much sought after preacher and author on Mary, the mother of God, he has been a strong influence on the lives and vocations of many Dominicans in the Irish province, including this blogger! Gabriel's dedication and devotion to the holy rosary is infectious and he has changed the attitude of many to this very powerful prayer.

Gabriel is now in his 88th year. I am delighted to see his blog. It just goes to show that fr Gabriel hasn't changed. All through his life he was trying to find new ways of preaching about the rosary. Now he is using his blog to bring the message of the rosary to a new audience. He is to be commended for that. You can see his blog at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saint Thomas Aquinas - January 28th

Today is the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Dominican and Doctor of the Church. I joined my brothers at the house of studies (studium) of the Irish Dominican Province at Saint Saviour's, Dublin to mark the feast day. The central part of the celebration of the feast was the celebration of the Eucharist. The principal celebrant and homilist was His Eminence Cardinal Desmond Connell DD, former Archbishop of Dublin. Cardinal Connell, a former professor of philosophy at University College Dublin, spoke movingly during his homily of being close to Saint Thomas Aquinas all through his life. Below are some images of the feast day celebrations.

Cardinal Connell prays the opening prayer of the Mass

Cardinal Connell with the student brothers.

Cardinal Connell preaches the homily

The community hear the gospel being sung

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vocations Weekends

There are three vocations weekends planned for ongoing enquirers to the Dominican way of life in the Irish Province and they will be hosted by the community of Saint Mary's Priory in Tallaght, Dublin 24 (pictured above). The first such weekend takes place from tomorrow evening (Friday 16th January) to Sunday (Sunday 18th January). The second weekend takes place from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th January and the third weekend from February 6th to 8th.

The purpose of these weekends is to give ongoing enquirers a taste of the life, work and prayer of our communities and to have an opportunity to meet with the brethren and to talk about vocation. These weekends are an invaluable resource for those who are considering our life.
Please keep the participants of these weekends in your prayers, please.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blogs of Interest...

From time to time I draw reader's attention to other blogs of note - particularly if they are concerned with Dominican vocations. So, an update for this purpose is long overdue. Here are three blogs that have been catching my attention recently:

(1) I mentioned this blog before, but it is so worthwhile highlighting again. It is the blog of a brother Dominican (Philip Powell OP) from the USA and living in Rome. The blog is lighthearted and serious in almost equal measure and has excellent advice from time to time on vocations, vocational discernment and Dominican life. It really is one of the best blogs around. I am adding it to my list - see bar on the right hand side. You can see Fr Philip's blog here.

(2) Another blog of a Dominican friar - this time of the Western Dominican Province in the United States. Brother Robert blogs on the secular world and the secular vocation of lay Catholics. It is very good and can be located here.

(3) Not quite a blog, but blog-like is the website of the Director of Vocations of the Dominican Province of Saint Joseph in the US. It is excellent and you can visit it here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

To all readers of Irish Dominican Vocations - a very happy and blessed New Year to You!

The Dominican friars throughout the world will celebrate 800 years of life since the foundation of the Order in 1216. It may seem like a long time away but preparations for the celebration of this momentous event have been underway for some time now. 2008 placed a special emphasis on the place of the holy rosary in our Dominican tradition. In order to help the Dominican family to focus more fully on the Jubilee in 2016, the Master of the Order along with his collaborators have given a theme for each year leading up to the celebrations marking the foundation of the Order. They are as follows:

2009 - St. Dominic, Preacher of Grace

2010 - The Mission of Preaching

2011 - Preaching and Culture / Community Preaching

2012 - Dominican Women and Preaching

2013 - Mary: Contemplation and Preaching of the Word

2014 - The Dominican Laity and Preaching

2015 - Dominic: Government, Spirituality and Freedom

2016 - The Order of Preachers: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Further elaboration on these themes and preparation for 2016 can be seen here.