Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Vocations in Ireland, as one might expect, come from many different sources. It is something of a rarity to find vocations coming from the 'traditional' Catholic family. My experience is that young people who are curious about their faith and have a desire to express their Catholic faith often have to seek out other young Catholics and organisations in order for this to happen. It is for this reason that the new evangelisation movements such as Youth 2000, Pure in Heart and many others are a significant resource for young people. It is from involvement with these groups that the question of vocation will arise. Indeed, over the past number of years, these young Catholic organisations have been the foundation and inspiration for many vocations to religious congregations, both male and female.
The summer season sees many of these Catholic groups organise summer youth festivals. It is worth mentioning some of the upcoming events. You may be interested in attending one or all of them.
Firstly, there is a festival in Galway, which will last for two weeks (july 4-19) and is open to people of all ages. Several parishes in the city will be hosting a variety of faith based events - concerts, discussion groups, parish missions and joyful celebrations of the Eucharist. Full details are available at http://www.creideamh.org/
Secondly, a festival open to those aged 18-35 years takes place at Knock Shrine from July 23rd to 26th. The theme is 'You are the Light of the World'. This event was hugely succesful last year and is expected to be even bigger this year. The various dioceses around the country are promoting this event and more information can be had by visiting www.knock-shrine.ie/youthfestival
Thirdly, the Youth 2000 summer festival takes place at Clonmacnois, Co. Offaly from August 13th to 16th. Over 1,000 participants are expected to attend the event which will have a particular emphasis on the celebration of the Eucharist, prayer, concerts, a series of talks and witnesses and healing services. To find out more, please visit http://www.youth2000.ie/
Best wishes to all the organisers and participants of these events this summer!
Monday, June 29, 2009
One of the initiatives of the Year of Vocation organisers was to produce a DVD to promote the vocation to priesthood and religious life in Ireland. The DVD was launched in Armagh Cathedral on Sunday 3rd May 2009 (the final day of the Year of Vocation). The project is a joint initiative of the Diocesan Vocation Directors and Vocations Ireland (Association of the Vocation Directors of the Religious Orders in Ireland). The DVD, which will be a very useful resource for those working in the area of Vocations ministry and can also be used in parishes, schools, etc, is a series of interviews with diocesan clergy and religous men and women on their life, ministry and call. The disc is available from both associations of vocations directors (click their links above) and I have copies available. Feel free to contact me for a copy.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
As mentioned in an earlier posting, interviews for admission to our novitiate took place in St Mary's Priory, Tallaght, Dublin 24, from June 12th to 18th. A special commission of the brothers of our province carried out the interviews. Thorough psychological assessments also formed part of the process.
The week of interviews marks, in a significant way, the end of the year for this vocations director. However, that is not to say that there is nothing to do until September! There are many men who continue to discern their vocation with a keen eye on us Dominicans, along with a number of new enquirers every month. This will keep me busy for the summer.
I would like to thank all those people who prayed for the successful outcome of the admissions process for this year. Secondly, I am indebted to the many people involved in the week of interviews and beyond. Finally, I would like to wish all who were interviewed last week every blessing for the future.
The novitiate year 2009-2010 begins on the feast of the Irish Dominican province, the Triumph of the Cross, Monday 14th September.
PRAYER FOR DOMINICAN VOCATIONS
Lord Jesus, as once you called saint Dominic to preach the Gospel, so now send new preachers into your harvest.
Give them courage, wisdom and grace to make them witnesses of your death, resurrection and return in glory.
Through the intercession of Mary, patroness of the Order, may they bring true faith and light to brighten the darkness.
You who live for ever. Amen.
Monday, June 22, 2009
As readers will be aware, Pope Benedict has inaugurated a 'Year for Priests'. The year began on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 19th 2009) and will conclude one year later. In promoting this special year of prayer for priests, Pope Benedict has used the words and the witness of Saint John Vianney as a backdrop to a letter he has written to all priests. The letter opens up the depth and th beauty of the priesthood and below are two excerpts from that letter. The original can be found here.
"...In today's world, as in the troubled times of the Cure of Ars, the lives and activity of priests need to be distinguished by a forceful witness to the Gospel. As Pope Paul VI rightly noted, "modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses". Lest we experience existential emptiness and the effectiveness of our ministry be compromised, we need to ask ourselves ever anew: "Are we truly pervaded by the Word of God? Is that Word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that Word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this Word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking?". Just as Jesus called the Twelve to be with Him, and only later sent them forth to preach, so too in our days priests are called to assimilate that "new style of life" which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles....
To the Most Holy Virgin I entrust this Year for Priests. I ask her to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self-oblation to Christ and the Church which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Cure of Ars. It was his fervent prayer life and his impassioned love of Christ Crucified that enabled John Mary Vianney to grow daily in his total self-oblation to God and the Church. May his example lead all priests to offer that witness of unity with their bishop, with one another and with the lay faithful, which today, as ever, is so necessary. Despite all the evil present in our world, the words which Christ spoke to His Apostles in the Upper Room continue to inspire us: "In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world". Our faith in the Divine Master gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence. Dear priests, Christ is counting on you. In the footsteps of the Cure of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by Him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!...."