The past year has been very busy for vocations ministry at the vocations office of the Irish Dominican friars. I am happy to report that the vocations office has received over forty new enquiries in the past twelve months. Those who make contact with us do so for a variety of reasons and these range from looking for basic information about the Order to wanting to enter a process of vocational discernment. All enquirers at met individually and during the year almost twenty people have entered into a period of accompaniment with the vocations director.
The promotion of vocations is central to the work of the vocations director. This is done in a variety of ways – from using internet, blogs and social media platforms to visiting third level educational institutions throughout Ireland. This promotion is important because the vast majority of enquiries still come from the digital sphere while many others come from personal contact as a result of spending time at various vocation fairs and engaging with students in their colleges and institutes.
Apart from the promotion and discernment aspects mentioned above, there have been some other notable events and happenings that took place in 2013 which are notable.
· Our ongoing prayer initiative for Dominican vocations entered its second year. This initiative uses the specially commissioned icon of Saint Dominic as a focus for prayer has proved to be very successful. I am happy to report that there are now many new groups of people throughout Ireland praying for vocations to the Order. This prayer campaign will continue into 2014.
· Dominican vocations to the Irish province featured worldwide as a result of an article in the New York Times and The International Herald Tribune in April. This coverage resulted in a surge of interest and enquiries.
· Three of our student brothers were ordained deacons in February. Four brothers made first profession in September while eight other brothers renewed profession in the same month. Happily, two men began their novitiate with us during the year as well.
· The vocations website www.dominicanfriars.ie was given a new look and continues to be the primary source of information for news and events in the Irish Dominican province as well as the location for the most up to date news on vocation matters.
· In conjunction with the Dominican sisters, contemplative nuns and lay Dominicans in Ireland, we hosted the fifth annual Dominican family vocations day in Dublin last March. This annual event goes from strength to strength and is an important showcase for vocations to the Dominican family in Ireland.
· Dominican Connect – the newsletter of the vocations office of the Dominican friars in Ireland began its second year of publication. The publication continues to grow in popularity.
· The vocations director was invited to give some talks and presentations to diocesan groups, religious orders and other organisations concerned with vocation promotion in Ireland.
· There were four vocation ‘live-in’ weekends organised for serious enquirers in the past 12 months.
This brief review gives me an opportunity to thank the many people involved in assisting the promotion of Dominican vocations in the past year. May you be blessed in abundance for so doing.
First published in the Christmas-January 2013-14 edition of 'Dominican Connect' - from the Vocations Office of the Irish Dominican friars.