Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dominican Vocations - General Chapter Rome 2010

The General Chapter of the Dominican Order held in Rome during the month of September has published its 'Acts' - the outcome of the deliberations of the chapter. These 'acts' cover all aspects of Dominican life from community life to preaching, formation to study, government and administration and so on. Naturally enough, the vocations directors of the provinces of the Order will have a keen eye on what the acts of the General Chapter have to say particularly about vocations. There are three short paragraphs on the topic of vocations, but they are quite significant:
  • The fostering of vocations strengthens our general pastoral work with youth, encourages young friars to join in vocation promotion activities, involves the collaboration of the Dominican Family and in particular the prayers of our nuns. It also encourages our communities to live visibly the rich dimensions of Dominican life (LCO 165 § I). ACTA CAPITULI GENERALIS ELECTIVI – ROMÆ 2010 74
  • [Ordinatio] Based on the positive experience of several entities of the Order, we ordain that a promoter of vocations should be appointed in each Province, Vice-Province, and Vicariate (ACG 2004 Krakow, n. 265). If possible, the promotion and direction of vocations should be his primary task.
  • [Exhortatio] Granted the diversity of candidates entering the Order to-day, in terms of age, theological, and cultural background, we exhort promoters of vocations and Admissions Boards to scrutinise the suit-ability of candidates adequately before accepting them for our specifi-cally Dominican form of consecrated life. We cannot ask candidates “to be perfectly motivated, rather they should have the capacity to gradually mature and joyfully integrate themselves into our professed way of life” (ACG 2004 Krakow, n. 263).
I am particularly delighted that the Chapter acknowledges that the vocation promotion of the friars has a Dominican family dimension - with a specific role for the nuns (contemplative) in this regard. I am glad to say that in the Irish context that there is a strong collaborative dimension to the promotion of the Dominican vocation. It is also highly significant that the General chapter ordains that where possible, vocations directors for the Order should have this ministry as a 'primary task'. It has been shown that where full-time vocations directors have been appointed that there has been a stabilisation in the numbers joining provinces and in some cases, an increase in the number joining. Finally, the General Chapter exhorts the friars of the Order to acknowledge the diversity of backgrounds that candidates come from and to take all the relevant and necessary steps in discernment so that those wishing to join us can integrate themselves into our form of life.

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