Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - a good year for Irish Dominican Vocations

In the final hours of 2010, it is appropriate to look back at the year that is coming to a close. By any standard, this was a very good year for Irish Dominican Vocations. The Irish Dominican friars celebrated three priestly ordinations during the year, received the simple profession of eleven of our brothers, and clothed three men in the habit of the Order. Currently there are twenty men in formation (at various stages) for the Dominican Order in Ireland. It has been many years since there has been such a number of young friars engaged in the process of being formed for Dominican life and preaching. We thank God for this.

Enquiries from those interested in the Dominican way of life remain at a high level. In the past twelve months, there were 52 new enquiries about the vocation, life and work of the Dominicans in Ireland. This number compares very favourably with the previous three years. Most enquiries come from Ireland, with a number of overseas enquiries also - particularly from Britain and the United States. The obvious knock-on effect from this high level of enquiries is that there are a significant number of people to be accompanied through a vocational discernment process, normally about 25 men are met on a monthly basis.

Promotion of the Dominican vocation is key to the ongoing strategy of creating a culture of vocations for the Irish Dominican friars. To that end, there has been a number of visits to third-level educational institutes in the past 12 months. Along with this, there has been a new collection of visually attractive advertising posters, free-standing banners and other materials made available to our communities, churches and centres - these are currently being distributed. Much work has been done in the preparation of a vocations website for the Irish Dominican friars - and this is due to launch early in the new year. A specially commissioned icon of Saint Dominic, which is now complete, will form the focus of a major 'prayer initiative' for Dominican vocations in 2011. More on this in the next couple of weeks.

Collaboration between the various elements of the Dominican family in Ireland (friars, sisters, contemplative nuns and lay Dominicans) has been very fruitful and beneficial to all over the past twelve months - particularly in the very successful Dominican Family vocations day which is now an annual event. Combined with this is the yearly publication of a Dominican family calendar. Irish Dominican Vocations is very pleased with the renewal of growth of the Dominican laity - several young people are expressing an interest in this form of Dominican life. The Dominican nuns at Siena Convent, Drogheda had cause to clebrate also during the past year with the final profession of Sr Niamh Muireann OP. As is regularly stated on this blog, the friars of the Order are very grateful for the prayerful support of our nuns.

Prayer for vocations to the Order is the single most important act that is carried out, because without prayer there will be no vocations at all. In my travels, I encounter individuals and groups who pray every single day for Dominican vocations. The number of individuals and groups praying for vocations has increased dramatically over the past few years - there has been a corresponding increase in vocations to the Order. I wonder why?
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