Next Sunday, May 3rd is Vocations Sunday. It also marks the final day of the Irish church's Year of Vocation. The Irish Dominicans will mark Vocations Sunday and the end of the Year of Vocation by celebrating Mass at 11.30 am on that day at Saint Saviour's Dominican church, Dominick Street, Dublin 1. You are very welcome to attend.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
In Ireland, it is an accepted fact that vocations and entrants to female monastic/contemplative orders far outnumber new entrants to apostolic female religious congregations. This is a telling fact from which you can draw many conclusions. One obvious such conclusion is that young women who are discerning a vocation want to join an order or congregation that has a strong identity and a clear mission. Identity and mission are more readily and easily found in the monastic and contemplative tradition than with apostolic congregations. There aren't that many contmplative female orders in ireland - while there are a plethora of congregations of apostolic religious sisters. The serious decline in vocations to female apostolic religious congregations is alarming. Perhaps they could learn something from their contemplative and monastic counterparts?
Brought to my attention recently were three upgraded websites of contemplative female communities in various parts of Ireland. Thankfully, I have a connection with all three and would ask you to take a look and let them know that you visited! Firstly, the Poor Clare community in Nuns Island, Galway have given a makeover to their website http://www.poorclares.ie/. Secondly, the Redemptoristine community in Drumcondra in Dublin have a new website at http://www.rednuns.com/ and finally our own Dominican nuns at Siena Convent in Drogheda have made some changes to their website http://www.dominicannuns.ie/
Sunday, April 12, 2009
A very happy Easter to all readers of this blog. 1600 years ago, St John Chrysostom wrote the following as a rather beautiful summary of the resurrection:
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered heaven.
It toook what it saw, and was overcome by what it could not see.
O death, where is your sting?
O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are destroyed!
Christ is Risen, and evil is cast down!
Christ is Risen, and angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead;
for Christ, having risen from the dead,
becomes the first-fruit of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever. Amen!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Irish Dominican Province have set aside June 12th to June 18th 2009 as the time for the admission process for those who wish to join the novitiate programme in September this year. These next few weeks are very important for candidates who are completing applications for this process and it is also a crucial time for our province as it prepares to accept new members. Your prayers for everyone involved are earnestly requested over the next few weeks.
It is interesting to read the Irish printed media this weekend - particularly their take on participation in the various Holy Week and Easter ceremonies in Ireland these days. It is acknowledged by the main newspapers that there is an increase in the numbers of people attending religious services this year. The suggestion is that the economic recession and the downturn in the economy is in part responsible for this. There may be some element of truth in this, though I am not sure. There is a general acceptance though that with all of the difficulty that we are experiencing, people are beginning to ask the bigger questions. What has God, faith and religion to offer in these straitened times and can some answers be given about the immense waste of wealth that was ammased in the past ten years? In turning to God, we will find not the answers to our economic questions but a reminder that God is always close to us when we call upon him. In the good times, the easy option is to forget, indeed even ignore God.
In a similar vein, if I were offered a euro for every time that I have heard it said to me that the recession will be good for vocations - then I would certainly be a rich man. The suggestion is that when people find themselves unemployed, or experience difficulty in obtaining work that they will automatically turn to God and consider a vocation. This is not my experience at all. Of all those who are currently discerning their call to the Dominican way of life in this country there is no evidence to suggest that they are doing so because of the recession. In fact it strikes me that the majority of them are secure in professional employment or engaged in various academic activities and that the question of vocation is an option for them where they will be leaving much behind to consider following the Lord in the Dominican way.