Sr Lucy Conway OSsR with Fr Gerard Dunne OP after the profession ceremony todaySr Lucy Conway OSsR of the Redemptoristine community in Drumcondra in Dublin made final (or solemn) profession today during the celebration of the Eucharist at Saint Alphonsus Monsatery. The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin was the principal celebrant of the Mass.
Archbishop Martin preached in his homily on Jesus Christ and friendship but went on to challenge all present and particularly those consecrated religious present with these words: "I believe that the real challenge about religious life and about ministry in the Church is not the falling numbers of vocations but the mediocrity with which so many of us end up being satisfied with. I say this of myself, I say it about bishops and priests and religious. We all need to restore our commitment to and confidence in our calling and the ability to recognise and set aside that which is marginal and much more that which we have built around ourselves just for our comfort and false security. Ours must be a commitment each day and night, of prayer and fasting, a leaving aside all that does not take us beyond ourselves towards Christ."
This was a timely and challenging homily. It would have been an apt choice of words to present to vocation directors and personnel in Ireland. For instance, there has been a significant shift in vocations ministry in the past decade or more from mere recruitment to authentic discernment. The consequence of this shift has really not been fully grasped at all by vocation ministers - in fact most still have to come to terms with it. It is clearly no longer the case that a vocations director can sit in his or her office processing paperwork or hold endless meetings about meetings with their congregations. They just have to rise above that 'mediocrity' and spend quality time with young people and discerners. That demands vast amounts of time to be spent with each potential vocation. Some orders and dioceses still feel that they can not afford to release a person for full-time vocations work. That is a mediocre response to a vital situation. The significant shift from recruitment to discernment suggests that they cannot afford not to.
(Sr Lucy Conway OSsR is a native of Co. Offaly and joined the Redemptoristines in 2007. She previously worked in education. She is the second sister to be solemnly professed in the community in the past 12 months. The community has three other sisters in initial formation.)