Monday, August 29, 2011

Solemn Profession of Bro Matthew Martinez OP

 Bro Matthew Martinez OP
There was great joy in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad today as our brother Matthew Martinez OP made solemn profession as a Dominican. The profession took place during the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Finbar's church in Diego Martin. Bro Matthew was joined by his family, relatives and friends, many members of religious congregations in Trinidad and Tobago and by a large representation of Dominican friars, sisters and Dominican laity. Bro Matthew made profession in the hands of the regional prior of the vicariate of Trinidad and Tobago - Fr Michael Hayden OP.  Bro Matthew returns to Ireland in the week ahead to continue his theological studies. On behalf of all the friars of the Irish Dominican province, I wish Matthew every grace and blessing as he continues to the next phase of his Dominican life. May the Lord bring to completion the good work that he has begun. Our best wishes to the friars of the vicariate also who have witnessed an increase in vocations in the past few years. Below are some images of the profession ceremony today.

(Please note that further images will follow - other bloggers and media are welcome to use the images and blog content as long as they credit

 The entrance procession
Fr Michael Hayden OP preaches the homily
Bro Matthew makes a prostration before making solemn professiom
 Matthew Martinez OP makes solemn profession in the hands of the Regional Prior

The video above of highlights of the profession ceremony was taken by the vocations director of the vicariate, fr Dwight Black OP - please note that there is significant sound distortion so please adjust your volume control when viewing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Upcoming events for Irish Dominican friars

Irish Dominican Vocations is on his way to the West Indies and to Trinidad and Tobago for a very important event in the life of the Dominican vicariate there. The vicariate is a missionary outreach of the friars of the Irish Dominican province - and has been for over 100 years. The very important event is the solemn (perpetual) profession of our brother Matthew Martinez OP. The profession ceremony will take place in the Dominican church of Saint Finbar, in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Monday next August 29th. Brother Matthew has been living in Ireland for the past five years for his formation and after his profession will return to Ireland to continue his studies in September. We wish Matthew every blessing as he prepares for this momentous event in his religious life. His profession is the first in a number of joyful events for the friars of the Irish Dominican province in the coming weeks.

On September 3rd next our brother Brian Doyle OP will be ordained to the priesthood in his native County Wexford.

On September 11th, two of our brothers Luuk Dominiek Jansen OP and Colm Mannion OP will also make solemn profession in the Dominican priory church of Saint Saviour, Dominick Street, Dublin 1.

On September 14th, we will be clothing new novices in the habit of the Order in the Dominican church of Saint Mary, Pope's Quay, Cork. This is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross - the feast of the Irish Dominican province.

On September 15th, two of our brothers, Alan Hopkins and Paul Hughes will make first (simple) profession in Saint Mary's priory church, Pope's Quay, Cork.

Finally on September 18th, two of our brothers Denis Murphy OP and Maurice Colgan OP will be ordained to the priesthood in Saint Saviour's Dominican church, Dominick Street, Dublin 1.

We are delighted to announce the news of these joyful events and ask you to remember all our brothers who will be ordained, make simple and solemn profession in the weeks ahead and ask you to continue your prayers for an increase in vocations to the friars of the Irish Dominican province.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pope Benedict on religious life and vocations during WYD 2011

Pope Benedict speaks to religious women during his trip to Madrid for World Youth Day. As always, the Holy Father encourages and uplifts and reminds all religious and those considering a vocation to religious life that their lives must always be rooted in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vocations on the front page!

 Christopher Jamison OSB
The Irish Catholic (Ireland's largest Catholic newspaper) carried a front page story on vocations in its most recent issue entitled: "Church vocations: from recruitment to discernment." The story concerns the head of the office for vocations for England and Wales Fr Christopher Jamison OSB and his assertion that vocations strategy has a new byword for him 'from recruitment to discernment'.

Fr Jamison states that "We've shifted from asking 'would you like to become a priest?' to asking 'what kind of person would you like to be and what would you like to do in life?'" and goes on to say that "If you approach a person from 'Generation Y' with the question 'would you like to be a priest?' they see this as an attack on their freedom." He says that this new approach has led to the creation of a number of succesful mixed 'discernment groups' across England which has a powerful impact because the participants see it as a discernemnt exercise rather than a recruitment exercise.

Fr Christopher also talks about vocations directors saying "A vocations director and promoter are two different roles. A director must have time to concentrate on those who are already discerning their vocation, a promoter must seek to create a culture of vocations."

Clearly Fr Jamison has had a big impact since his appointment as director for the National Office for vocations in England and Wales in October 2010. Vocations are on the rise across England and Wales - attributable to, among other things, 'a formal policy of the church to create a culture of vocations.'

There is no doubt that the discernment groups that he refers to are succesful. Ireland is just catching up at this point with a pilot project Explore Away initiated by Vocations Ireland. I do, however, have some hesitations around such groups. The discerning method employed can not do justice to all types of vocations and something is lost in that. The understanding of religious life can be obscured because it is lived very differently by the many orders and congregations. And I also believe that the mixed discernment groups has the possibility of allowing congregations and orders off the hook in the promotion and discernment of their own unique vocations. I would also advocate that we not drop the asking of the question to the young and not so young that we know 'would you consider being a priest, nun, brother?' I am amazed still at the high proportion of people that I meet whose first contact can be precisely because that question was asked to them directly. It is not to be underestimated!

Fr Jamison makes a very important point about vocations directors. However, because vocations directors in Ireland have little or no training, they often fall into the trap of being recruiters alone - and the process of discernment, which is crucial, can become obscured or lost. I have long been an advocate for full time vocations directors - irrespective of the cost to the religious orders and congregations. Only when this is possible will the distinctions about the role of vocations directors that Fr Jamison rightly asserts become less of a problem.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dominican vocations boom continues in Saint Joseph Province - USA

 The thirteen novices who were received into the Saint Joseph Province USA yesterday
The months of August and September each year are important for the friars of the Dominican provinces throughout the world - as it is during this time that new members are admitted to the Order. Yesterday, the Saint Joseph province of Dominican friars in the USA admitted thirteen men to their novitiate in Cincinatti, Ohio. This province has seen unprecedented growth in vocations in the past few years. I would like to draw readers attention to a very significant reflection on this phenomenon from a blog entry of mine last year which contextualises this increase in vocations to the Order. Irish Dominican Vocations sends best wishes to our brothers in the Saint Joseph province and especially to these thirteen men who are embarking on their initial journey to Dominican life.

Meanwhile, please pray for the men who will receive the habit of the Order for the Irish Dominicans on September 14th next in Cork.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8th - feast of Saint Dominic

Happy feast of our holy father Saint Dominic to all readers of this blog.

Much is written and said of our founder - he is particularly well known for his attachment to truth, his quick grasp of situations, his maturity of reflection after long periods of prayer and for a firmness in his decisions. Above all it was Dominic's capacity for love of neighbour, which he never seperated from his love of the Church, that characterised his life.

One of the more authentic sources of the life of Saint Dominic is the Libellus by Jordan of Saxony who was the successor of Dominic as head of the Order. One of my favourite quotations from that source is about Saint Dominic and compassion:

He welcomed all people into the vast embrace of his charity and, since he loved the entire world, everyone loved him. He made it his own personal rule to be happy with those people who were happy and cry with those who were sad, overflowing with religious affection and devoting himself completely to taking care of his neighbour and sympathising with people in their misery (Libellus n. 107).

My prayer on this feast day is all Dominicans and those considering following in the footsteps of Saint Dominic will participate in that same compassion that Dominic had for the world - because he wanted his followers to go out and preach prompted by the sole urge to give to people in their moral, material and spiritual poverty the response that flows from God's heart.

Saint Dominic, pray for us!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Solemn profession of Redemptoristine nun is a historic event!

 Sr Maura Walsh OSsR pictured with Gerard Dunne OP after her solemn profession ceremony.

Today, I attended a historic and joyful event. The Redemptoristine nuns in Drumcondra, Dublin 9 celebrated the solemn (or final) profession of Sr Maura Walsh OSsR - the first solemn profession for the Redemptoristines in almost 40 years. To be accurate it's 39 years - the last time there was such an event was the final profession of the current prioress of the community Sr Gabrielle Fox OSsR in 1972.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a long-standing admiration for the work and ministry of this community - and a particular appreciation for their work in vocations ministry. They are a model for any monastic/contemplative community, and indeed other religious orders and dioceses in how to go about the task of promoting vocations.

However, the day belongs to Sr Maura - a native of Mountbellew, Co Galway. She worked in the health services industry before joining the Redemptoristine monastery five years ago. Irish Dominican Vocations wishes Sr Maura every blessing as a fully professed Redemptoristine nun, congratulates the five sisters in simple profession in the monastery and the community for their dedication and witness. Please add a prayer for those preparing to join the community in the not too distant future.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dominican Saints and Blesseds - a new blog!

Brother Paul Byrd OP, a friar of the Dominican province of Saint Albert the Great in the US has launced a new blog on the saints, blesseds, venerables and servants of God of the Dominican Order. It is a kind of one-stop-shop of information on those members of the Domincan family throughout the world who have a special place in the life of the church. I must say that I learned for the first time about many in the Order who are being considered for beatification and canonization. So, I recommend this blog to you as a valuable source of information on the famous and not so famous figures in the Order. The Dominican Order is blessed to have so many powerful witnesses of exemplary life and faith - and we should ask those who have gone before us to intercede for the current needs of our preaching mission throughout the world.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Priestly ordinations for Irish Dominican friars

This recently published video of the priestly ordination of our brother, David Barrins OP, is a timely reminder to ask readers of this blog to keep in prayer three of our brothers who will be ordained priests next month - September 2011. Brothers Brian Doyle OP, Maurice Colgan OP and Denis Murphy OP will be ordained having completed their institutional studies and will soon receive their assignations as newly ordained priests of the Irish Dominican province. More details regarding the time, place and dates of these joyful events will be posted soon.

Irish Dominican Vocations would like to thank the team at Dominicans Interactive for supplying the video above. Fr David Barrins OP was ordained in St Mary's Dominican church, Pope's Quay Cork on the feast of Christ the King last year by the bishop of Cork and Ross, John Buckley. Fr David is currently assigned to that community and is the provincial promoter for youth ministry for the Irish Dominican friars.