Thursday, March 20, 2014

A note from Australia

I have been visiting Australia as part of a holiday for the past month and enjoying the hospitality of the Dominican friars based in East Camberwell in Melbourne. Before this holiday, I would have been aware of the connection between the Irish and Australian Dominican provinces and the many friars (and sisters) who were responsible for the building of the presence of the Order over the past 115 years. Therefore it is a great joy to see the Australian province now as it continues its mission of preaching here. The missionary spirit of the province extends to New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea and the brothers are engaged in a variety of different apostolates and missions.

Like much of Western Europe and Ireland, the Australian Dominicans have seen a decrease in vocations to the Order in the past number of decades. However, a presence in chaplaincies in universities that the Order is associated with has seen a resurgence of interest in the ministry and vocation of the friars. The Australian province now has a number of men in formation and just before I arrived here, the province accepted four men (pictured below) into their postulancy programme (pre-novitiate). This is very positive news for them.

As a member of the province that was in some way responsible for the foundation of the Australian Dominicans, there is a deep sense of pride in the contribution that the Irish friars have made here. As the visit to Australia comes to a close, I am earnestly praying for and increase in vocations to both our provinces so that the mission of preaching and the proclamation of the Gospel will continue well into the future.

Finally, a word of grateful thanks to my Australian brothers for the warmth of their hospitality and friendship which will linger long in my memory.
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