Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pope speaks of religious vocation on trip to South Korea

The text below is the address given by Pope Francis to the 5,000 religious women and men during his visit to South Korea. He encourages them to do all that they can to show that the consecrated life is a gift to the Church and to let joy be a source of inspiration to attract vocations!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you all with affection in the Lord. It is good to be with you today and to share these moments of communion. The great variety of charisms and apostolates which you represent wondrously enriches the life of the Church in Korea and beyond. In this setting of the celebration of Vespers where we have sung the praise of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, I thank you, and all of your brothers and sisters, for your efforts to build up God’s Kingdom in this beloved country. I thank Father Hwang Seok-mo and Sister Scholastica Lee Kwang-ok, the Presidents of the Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Men’s and Women’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, for their kind words of welcome.

The words of the Psalm, “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:26), invite us to think about our own lives. The Psalmist exudes joyful confidence in God. We all know that while joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty, “it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (Evangelii Gaudium, 6). The firm conviction of being loved by God is at the center of your vocation: to be for others a tangible sign of the presence of God’s Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven. Only if our witness is joyful will we attract men and women to Christ. And this joy is a gift which is nourished by a life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and life in community. When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will emerge to dampen the joy we knew so well at the beginning of our journey.

For you, as men and women consecrated to God, this joy is rooted in the mystery of the Father’s mercy revealed in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Whether the charism of your Institute is directed more to contemplation or to the active life, you are challenged to become “experts” in divine mercy precisely through your life in community. From experience I know that community life is not always easy, but it is a providential training ground for the heart. It is unrealistic not to expect conflicts; misunderstandings will arise and they must be faced. Despite such difficulties, it is in community life that we are called to grow in mercy, forbearance and perfect charity.

The experience of God’s mercy, nourished by prayer and community, must shape all that you are, all that you do. Your chastity, poverty and obedience will be a joyful witness to God’s love in the measure that you stand firmly on the rock of his mercy. This is certainly the case with religious obedience. Mature and generous obedience requires that you cling in prayer to Christ who, taking the form of a servant, learned obedience through what he suffered (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 14). There are no shortcuts: God desires our hearts completely and this means we have to “let go” and “go out” of ourselves more and more.
A lively experience of the Lord’s steadfast mercy also sustains the desire to achieve that perfection of charity which is born of purity of heart. Chastity expresses your single-minded dedication to the love of God who is “the strength of our hearts”. We all know what a personal and demanding commitment this entails. Temptations in this area call for humble trust in God, vigilance and perseverance.

Through the evangelical counsel of poverty you are able to recognize God’s mercy not only as a source of strength, but also as a treasure. Even when we are weary, we can offer him our hearts burdened by sin and weakness; at those times when we feel most helpless, we can reach out to Christ, “who made himself poor in order that we might become rich” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). This fundamental need of ours to be forgiven and healed is itself a form of poverty which we must never lose sight of, no matter how many advances we make in virtue. It should also find concrete expression in your lifestyle, both as individuals and as communities. I think in particular of the need to avoid all those things which can distract you and cause bewilderment and scandal to others. In the consecrated life, poverty is both a “wall” and a “mother”. It is a “wall” because it protects the consecrated life, a “mother” because it helps it to grow and guides it along the right path. The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church. Think, too, of how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us.

Dear brothers and sisters, with great humility, do all that you can to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world. Do not keep it to yourselves; share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country. Let your joy continue to find expression in your efforts to attract and nurture vocations, and recognize that all of you have some part in forming the consecrated men and women of tomorrow. Whether you are given more to contemplation or to the apostolic life, be zealous in your love of the Church in Korea and your desire to contribute, through your own specific charism, to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and building up God’s people in unity, holiness and love.

Commending all of you, and in a special way the aged and infirm members of your communities, to the loving care of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of enduring grace and peace in Jesus her Son.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Follow Dominican Vocations on Twitter!

Irish Dominican Vocations has been using Twitter over the past couple of years to circulate information regarding vocations to the Irish Dominican province. Yesterday, we received our 1000th follower.

Along with our website ( , this blog and our Facebook account, we try to give as much up to date news as possible.

Currently the various social media outlets and websites that we use account for the vast majority of enquiries about the vocation to be a Dominican friar in the Irish province.

Follow Irish Dominican Vocations on Twitter - @frgdop

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dominican Nuns Drogheda launch new website

Our Dominican contemplative nuns in Siena Monastery in Drogheda, County Louth launched a new website for the community today August 8th- to coincide with the feast of Saint Dominic. You can find it here and it is well worth a visit!

The attractive website gives a very good insight into the life and ministry of the nuns. It boasts up to date information on upcoming events, vocations, preaching, reflections, the hospitality afforded to guests and much more.

The nuns are also Facebook (search for Dominican Nuns Ireland) and also host a blog - www,

Feast of Saint Dominic

Happy feast of Saint Dominic to all readers of our vocations blog. Through his intercession, may many men and women be inspired by his zeal for preaching and the salvation of souls.

Less well known than his contemporary Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic was not a big ostentatious leader. But the fact that the family of Dominic still exists almost 800 years since the Order was founded, it is clear that he had the gift of leadership.

On his feast day, I am reminded of his dedication to prayer and particularly his celebrated 'Nine Ways of Prayer'. Each of his nine ways of prayer are like an incarnation of humility. Whether he was on the ground prostrate, or on his knees, or standing with his arms outstretched - each way of prayer was a way in which he offered himself to God. Each way of prayer was a different way of asking for the grace to fulfill his call. These 'nine ways of prayer' help us to remember that whatever situation we find ourselves in, there is always an opportunity to ask for God's help.

In Ireland, we thank God for the growth of the Dominican family and we humbly pray today for an increase in vocations to the Dominican way of life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Priestly ordination of Fr Matthew Martinez OP

The Irish Dominican friars rejoiced on the occasion of the ordination of a third new priest for the province this summer.

Fr Matthew Martinez OP, a native of Trinidad in the Caribbean, was ordained priest in his native parish of St Finbar, Port of Spain, on the feast of Blessed Jane of Aza, mother of St Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order.

Fr Joseph Harris CSSp, archbishop of Port of Spain, was the ordaining bishop and was assisted by Robert Rivas OP, archbishop of St Lucia and an Irish Dominican, Jason Gordon, bishop of Barbados, Malcolm Gault, bishop emeritus of Barbados. 

St Finbar's church was packed to capacity with parishioners, Fr Matthew's parents, sister, extended family, friends and lively choir. 

Approximately forty priests also took part in the celebration, with twelve friars of the Irish Dominican Province, some natives of Trinidad, some who are missionaries there and some who travelled for the occasion. 

Fr Matthew was clothed in the priestly vestments by his classmates Fr Luuk Jansen OP and Fr Colm Mannion OP who were ordained in Ireland in July. 

Fr Matthew was scheduled to celebration a Mass of Thanksgiving on the evening after his ordination in the same church. 

Below are some further images of the ordination ceremony today:
 The entrance procession
The examination of the candidate
 Bro Matthew prostrate during the Litany of the Saints
An aerial view of the ancient tradition of calling on the saints to intercede for the brother to be ordained.
Fr Matthew is clothed in priestly vestments by Fr Colm Mannion and Fr Luuk Jansen who are classmates of the newly ordained.
Fr Matthew is introduced to the congregation and congratulated by Archbishop Harris
Fr Matthew concelebrates
Fr Matthew greets members of his family during the 'sign of peace' at the ordination Mass.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Irish Dominicans to celebrate third priestly ordination of 2014

Trinidadian native and Irish Dominican friar Matthew Martinez OP will be ordained a priest tomorrow (Saturday, August 2nd, 2014) in the Dominican church of Saint Finbar, Diego Martin, Port-of-Spain.

Please join with us in praying for Brother Matthew as he approaches this important moment in his life and the life of the Irish Dominican province.

Earlier in July, Fr Colm Mannion and Fr Luuk Jansen were ordained priests in Saint Saviour's, Dublin.

Finally, we continue to ask your prayers for vocations to the friars of the Irish province.

English diocese leads the way with ambitious framework for vocations

Recently, the English Roman Catholic diocese of Lancaster published a Diocesan Vocations Framework. It may not be that newsworthy to many, but to my mind, it is the most comprehensive attempt by a diocese in England or Ireland to describe in detail how that diocese will set about the task of promoting and nurturing vocations.

Interestingly, it is unashamedly a framework for promoting priestly vocations in the diocese, and yet mindful of the baptismal call of all. In terms of promoting vocations, primacy is given to prayer and prayer events along with a strong emphasis on the 'new media' and online presence. The framework also highlights the ongoing care of seminarians and sets out clear and distinct roles and responsibilities for those who are charged with the vocations portfolio in the Lancaster diocese.

The diocese is to be complimented for producing a clear and decisive 'roadmap' for the promotion and nurturing of vocations. It is recommended reading for dioceses in Ireland and England along with their religious counterparts. You can access the document here.