Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eight student brothers instituted as lectors

Eight of our student brothers (pictured above) were today instituted as lectors by the Prior provincial during Vespers. The 'lectorate' is a liturgical ministry which is obligatory for those preparing for ordination.

The brothers instituted all made first profession in 2010 having joined the novitiate in Cork in 2009. This latest step which took place in Saint Saviour's church in Dominick Street in Dublin is one of those formal events characteristic of the path to ordination. It is expected that the brothers will exercise this ministry before advancing to the ministry of acolyte and then proceed to diaconate ordination.

In the meantime, these brothers will continue their academic studies in philosophy and theology and prepare for their lifelong commitment to remain as Dominicans (solemn profession). Please continue to pray for our brothers in formation.

The brothers who were instituted as lectors were (pictured above from left to right): Brothers Eoin Casey, Daragh McNally, James Cassidy, David McGovern, Damian Polly, Ronan Connolly, Patrick Desmond and Conor McDonough

New Lay Dominican Group at Queens University Belfast

 Left to right: Francis McCaughan, Fr Gerard Dunne OP and Lisa Hanna
Yesterday, January 30th 2012,  I had the honour of attending and preaching at a Mass in the Catholic chaplaincy at Queens University in Belfast to formally receive two new members into a newly formed lay Dominican chapter in the university campus. Lisa Hanna and Francis McCaughan were received and formally became members of the 'Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Lay Dominican chapter'.

Francis and Lisa, along with others who have an interest in becoming lay Dominicans, have decided that this newly formed chapter will have an intellectual and reflective outreach as part of the ministry of the group. This coupled with prayer and regular meeting will form the basis for their initial first steps as a new lay Dominican chapter.
Left to right: Dr Gaven Kerr, Francis McCaughan, Lisa Hanna and Fr Gary Toman
Fr Gary Toman, the Catholic chaplain at Queens University, Belfast celebrated the Mass during which the new chapter was instituted and the new members formally received. In his remarks, he warmly welcomed this new Dominican presence at the chaplaincy and expressed his delight that the chaplaincy will be able to facilitate the new group there. There was a strong presence of Dominican sisters from the Belfast area at the event along with members of other Belfast based lay Dominican groups. The two new members, Lisa and Francis, were presented by Dr Gaven Kerr for acceptance as lay Dominicans. Dr Kerr is a lay Dominican attached to the Falls Road chapter.

This new beginning of lay Dominicans attached to this university in Belfast is both an encouraging and inspiring event. The fact that there are young lay men and women who are captivated by the Dominican charism of preaching and teaching is a sign of the enduring call of Saint Dominic throughout the generations. The event which we celebrated yesterday is also a sign of hope for the Dominican family and will further the Dominican mission in Ireland.
 Francis and Lisa pictured with the newly commissioned icon of Saint Dominic
Irish Dominican Vocations wishes to congratulate the two new members of the 'Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Lay Dominican chapter' and thanks them for their patience during the time of preparation for this event over the past number of months and looks forward to working with them into the future.

For more information on the lay Dominicans in Ireland, please visit www.laydominicans.ie

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas - January 28th

Saint Thomas Aquinas in prayer
Today, the Church and the Dominican Order celebrates the feast of our brother Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Saint Thomas hardly needs any introduction to readers but it is worth recalling that he was one of a large family who were of noble stock. His family initially opposed his desire to join the newly founded Order of Preachers (Dominicans). When he did eventually enter the Order he spent time in the universities of Paris and Cologne. He became a Master of Theology in 1257.

It is clear that as a Dominican he was acutely aware of his responsibilities as both a Friar Preacher and a theologian. He believed that he was called to preach the Gospel by explaining the truths of revelation contained in the Scriptures and the teachings of the church with the help of the insights of the philosophy of Aristotle. In his teaching and writing Thomas sought to show that human life is the search to know experientially the God of of infinite wisdom and love, who creates, sanctifies, and ultimately brings to fulfillment the whole of created reality in and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly human.

Many people say that Saint Thomas was a genius. While that may be true, far more important was the fact that he was wise. Dominicans today continue to be influenced by his thought and wisdom - and are also captured by his example that instills a lifelong love of learning in the search for God. For those interested in the Order and who might feel they have a vocation to follow Saint Thomas as a Dominican friar could ask through his intercession to be brought to grow in wisdom.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Dominican Vocation - Br Damian Polly OP

One of our student brothers, Bro Damian Polly OP, recently gave a short talk on the Dominican vocation and charism and also an insight on how he came to join the Order himself. The talk was given at the National University of Ireland at Maynooth in Co. Kildare at the invitation of the John Paul II society based there.

Bro Damian joined the Order in 2009, having previously worked in media and also for a Catholic organisation promoting chastity. He is now pursuing philosophical studies in NUI Maynooth.

The talk can be accessed here. Please also visit the excellent website of our Dominican student brothers www.dominicansinteractive.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Letter of Master of the Order on 'Dominican women and evangelisation'.

As part of the ongoing preparation for the eight hundreth anniversary of the foundation of the Dominican Order in 2016, the Master of the Order fr Bruno Cadore has written an excellent letter on 'Dominican women and evangelisation'.

As he states in the letter: "As part of the Dominican family, women - nuns, apostolic sisters, Dominican lay women, and members of secular institutes - make an essential contribution to the evangelising mission of the Order." It is an excellent reflection on preaching and the dedication of Dominicans (men and women) to the centrality of the word of God. It is well worth reading and can be accessed here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vocations weekend.

 Saint Mary's Dominican Priory, Pope's Quay, Cork
The first vocations weekend of 2012 take place in our novitiate community in Saint Mary's priory, Cork, from this evening until Sunday afternoon. These weekends are an integral and important aspect of the discernment process for those interested in joining the Order because it gives them an insight into the life, work and ministry of the friars at first hand. This 'experiential' module of the discernment undertaken by enquirers also allows them to clarify many of the issues pertaining to our life that will inevitably arise during the time spent with the vocations director in preparation for a 'vocations weekend'.

The nature of 'vocation' weekends has changed considerably over the past number of years. In the Irish Dominican province, the participants on these weekends are by invitation only. The 'open invitation' model of attracting enquirers to such weekends are a thing of the past because they have proved somewhat counter-productive in our experience - primarily because encountering individuals for the first time at a vocations weekend is not at all best practice. In my view, a participant on a vocations weekend would need to be very well known to the friars and the vocations director for a period of time to ascertain his seriousness and suitability to enter into this level of discernment.

Please pray for the success of our first vocations weekend of 2012, and especially for those participating in it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pope Benedict on Vocations - Sunday January 15th 2012

Yesterday (January 15th 2012) during the Angelus in Saint Peter's Square in Rome, Pope Benedict spoke on vocations. His reflection was prompted by the Gospel passage for the second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) which was from Saint John's Gospel: "The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed 'Look, there is the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him say this and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come and see.' 

The Holy Father in his reflection points out that the call to follow Jesus more closely and dedicating oneself to a vocation in the service of the church usually comes from the 'testimony' or a 'suggestion' of another person - often a priest or religious. This has been a constant and important theme on vocation for Pope Benedict, namely that the witness of others is a very important in prompting men and women to consider a religious or priestly vocation. Anyone involved in vocation ministry will understand how true this is and ought not to underestimate its importance.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Irish Dominicans announce details of launch of Prayer Initiative for Vocations

The Irish Dominican friars are pleased to announce the launch of a prayer initiative for vocations. As the initiative of prayer is for all Dominican vocations, we are delighted that the formal launch will take place in the monastery of Saint Catherine of Siena, Drogheda, Co Louth on Sunday January 15th during the 9.00 am community Mass for the Dominican nuns.

The prayer initiative will have as a focus an icon of Saint Dominic (pictured) which has been specially commissioned for this time of prayer. It is hoped that the image of the founder of the Dominican Order will draw people to reflect on his life and legacy and in turn, through his intercession, draw more men and women to follow the Lord in the Dominican way.

After the official launch in Siena monastery in Drogheda, the icon will remain with the sisters for two weeks as they take on the responsibility to pray for the success of the initiative. After those two weeks, the icon will be brought to the various Dominican priory churches located throughout Ireland. It is envisaged that the icon will remain in each location for approximately a month at a time to allow those who attend Mass and worship in our churches an opportunity to take time to pray for Dominican vocations.
Siena monastery, Drogheda, Co Louth
The Irish Dominican friars are very fortunate to already have many groups associated with it who pray regularly for vocations. It is our earnest hope that this initiative will broaden that base of people who pray for vocations to the Order but also encourage others to take on this task in collaboration with us.

This initiative begins at a time when there is a renewed interest in the various vocations to the Dominicans in Ireland, but it is also in the context of a culture that is often hostile to vibrant Catholicism and hostile to the notion of commitment to God through a vocation. The Irish Dominican friars hope that this effort will help towards building a culture where we regularly pray for vocations and help foster an environment where vocations are actively encouraged.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vocations Director - New Contact Details

As I will be moving to our community at Saint Saviour's, Dublin over the next few days, I would like to inform readers of this blog of the change in correspondence details. From January 15th next I can be contacted at the following postal address:

Vocations Director
Dominican Community
Saint Saviour's Priory
Upper Dorset Street
Dublin 1

The telephone contact details are as follows:
+353 1 8897613

Email enquiries to the following address:

Continue to visit the vocations website: