Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Greetings

Irish Dominican Vocations would like, somewhat belatedly, to wish all readers of this blog the joy and blessings of the Christmas season.

In so doing, I am mindful of the very many people who have assisted with the work of promoting vocations to the friars of the Irish Dominican province during the past year. They are far too numerous to mention and I thank them sincerely. I would. however, like to thank particularly the ever increasing numbers of  people who have taken on the task and responsibility to pray for Dominican vocations in the past twelve months.

The Irish Dominicans have been generously blessed by God during 2012, and we pray that the Lord will continue to do so in the year ahead.

Happy Christmas again, and God Bless.

Fr Gerard OP

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dominican Connect - Christmas/January edition

A special edition of Dominican Connect from the vocations office of the Irish Dominican friars has been published. This 'bumper' issue for Christmas 2012/January 2013, running to eight pages carries reviews of the year that is coming to a close, highlights the icon of Saint Dominic which is being used for the promotion of Dominican vocations, features an insight into the daily life of our student brothers and much more.

Dominican Connect has made extra copies available for the Christmas season in all our churches and centres throughout Ireland. It is also possible to download an electronic copy at

Irish Dominican Vocations would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the production of Dominican Connect since it first appeared in September of this year. This fifth edition is one not to be missed.

If you would like to receive a copy of Dominican Connect each month by email, please contact us at

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poor Clares Galway on RTE Radio

Members of the Poor Clare community, Galway with Miriam O' Callaghan of RTE
The Poor Clare nuns have been in Galway since 1642 and have survived persecution and other calamities over the past 380 years. In 1825, they returned to 'Nun's Island' in the heart of the city after over a century of being forced to live in other locations. They have been there ever since.

This community is held in high regard and esteem by the people of the city of Galway. Their constant presence and the contribution of the Poor Clares to the spiritual well-being of the city is deeply valued - as is the case when communities of contemplative men and women are established in villages, towns and cities throughout Ireland and elsewhere.

Recently two of the sisters, Sr Colette and Sr Anthony gave an interview to Miriam O' Callaghan for the popular radio programme 'Miriam Meets...'. The sisters are joined by Sr Colette's blood sister too and the interview gives a real sense of the importance of contemplative life and the joy that can be had from living this particular vocation. It's a great interview, with a lot of humour and laughter, but through it all you get the sense of the profound call of God in the life of the community. In giving this interview, the Poor Clares are doing a great service for all contemplative communities in highlighting their vocation. You can listen to the piece by clicking here.
The sisters have also published a book in recent weeks. Entitled 'Calm the Soul: Meditations and Prayers for Everyday Life' the new publication looks at ways we can incorporate prayer into our lives. They recognise that in today's busy world, we can neglect our souls focussing instead on the mind and body. Using their simple prayer ideas and meditations we can learn to speak to God in a direct way to bring him to our everyday lives. With practical advice for preparing for prayer from creating a suitable atmosphere in a quiet room with candles, to the importance of embracing moments of silence into our everyday lives so we become more aware of our surroundings and of the world God created, they look at the different ways you can incorporate prayer into your everyday lives to enrich and nourish the soul. It is available in all good bookshops in Ireland and is a best seller this Christmas - and would make a good Christmas gift!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

God Calls, Dominicans, Habits and YouTube!

A chance conversation with a young woman who is preparing to become a lay Dominican in the near future alerted me to a fine article in one of the world's best known lifestyle magazines for women. Marie Claire (the United States version) carries a very good article on a young Dominican nun who has joined the cloistered community in Summit, New Jersey in the United States. The eye-catching title of the article 'God called me on YouTube' tells a modern day vocation story. Sr Mary Teresa is prompted to think of her vocation while watching a YouTube clip, and ends up as a cloistered Dominican nun. However, despite the attractive title of the article, the fundamentals of a religious vocation are highlighted - prayer, a deep sense of a relationship with God, the call to be of service and to give oneself totally to God are all covered. You can see the article here.

Many religious orders nowadays are using social media to try and attract interest in their way of life and as a method of attracting vocations. Pope Benedict has been extolling the virtues of responsible use of social media in the past few years and will, as has been widely publicised, begin tweeting from December 12th next. The vocations office for the Irish Dominican friars continues to receive over 90% of its enquiries through our vocations website, blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We can not afford to underestimate the power and usefulness of these forms of communication.

These tools of communication help with presenting religious vocation as a viable and attractive option for those who engage with them. The social media sites can also be informative and educational about religious life too. This YouTube clip below from the brothers of the Western Dominican province in the United States gives a great insight into the Dominican habit. Enjoy!

Great news for Irish lay Dominicans

Lisa Hanna and Francis McCaughan who made lifetime promises as lay Dominicans in Belfast
The lay Dominican movement in Ireland is growing. In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in new membership to this important Dominican vocation. Readers of this blog will be aware that the lay Dominicans are an integral part of the Dominican family worldwide. The 'family' also includes the apostolic sisters, friars and contemplative nuns.
In the past year a new 'chapter' of lay Dominicans was formed in Belfast - under the patronage of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The new chapter is based at the Catholic chaplaincy at Queens University, Belfast. The founding members Lisa Hanna and Francis McCaughan yesterday made their 'life' promises as lay Dominicans during the celebration of the Eucharist at the chaplaincy. The Frassati chapter have as its apostolate (or mission) preaching through the reflective reading of church documents and Dominican texts. They meet regularly and pray the Divine Office in the chaplaincy during the week. The chapter has also embarked on a series of ambitious projects during the Year of Faith. Continuing with the good news theme, the chapter will soon increase in size substantially as there are three people currently undergoing a formation programme as part of their initiation into the life of this new chapter.
Michael Joyce, Fr Louis Hughes OP (prior, Black Abbey, Kilkenny) and Damian McDonnell after Michael and Damian had made their lifelong promises on the feast of Saint Martin de Porres (November 3rd)
The lay Dominican chapter attached the the Dominican priory in Kilkenny (the 'Black Abbey') recently received the lifelong promises of two of its members - Michael Joyce and Damian McDonnell. This vibrant chapter continues to experience growth and is responsible for many of the pastoral initiatives of the friars in Kilkenny.
Paul McLoughlin pictured with Fr Ben Hegarty OP (prior of Saint Dominic's, Ennismore, Cork) after making his lifelong promise as a lay Dominican on October 3rd last.
Finally, Paul McLoughlin from Dungarvan in Co Waterford also made his lifelong promise as a lay Dominican during the celebration of the Eucharist in Saint Dominic's Retreat Centre, Montenotte, Cork.
Irish Dominican Vocations wishes God's blessing on all who have made commitments to the Order as lay Dominicans in the recent past. Their incorporation into the Dominican Order is a powerful witness of the call of God to the hearts of men and women who seek to give their lives in the service of others.