Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Irish Dominican friar gives lecture in House of Lords, Westminster, England

 fr Paul Murray OP
In what is surely a first, an Irish Dominican friar has given a lecture in the House of Lords - the upper house of the English Parliament. Yesterday, fr Paul Murray OP, of the Irish province of the Order who is based in Rome and is professor of spiritual theology at the Dominican university of Saint Thomas "The Angelicum", gave a lecture on Contemplation: An Essential Ingredient in the Christian Tradition. Approximately  two thirds of those who were present at the lecture were members of the House of Lords. The event was organized by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust and Sky Arts. The lecture will be broadcast on Sky TV on January 15th, 2011 at 17.00. Speaking after the event, fr Paul commented: “For me it was a remarkable experience, needless to say, quite unforgettable. And perhaps the greatest joy was the privilege of being able to share, as a preacher, some of the great and sacred texts from the Catholic spiritual tradition. I had been asked from the beginning by Lord St John of Fawsley to speak in particular about the Carmelite mystics, John and Teresa but, of course, I did manage to find space also for a few Dominican voices!”

H/T to Angelicum Newsletter Blog  and the website for the order for this information.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dominican students on Pope Benedict's address to young people in London

Some of our student brothers, based at our house of studies at Saint Saviour's, Dublin, reflect on Pope Benedict's address to those gathered (predominantly young people) recently in Hyde Park in London for a vigil in preparation for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. The video is in two parts - and to see more of the video work and reflections of our students, please visit www.dominicansiteractive.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Message from Master of the Order

The following message is from fr Bruno Cadore, the newly elected Master of the Order, to all the members of the Dominican Order worldwide, as we enter into the season of Advent:

Dear Sisters, dear brothers,
A great many of you in these last few weeks have shown your solidarity for the sisters and brothers of Iraq, who are struggling, together with their fellow citizens, with the recent resurgence of violence that has once more struck the Christian communities of this country. These displays of fraternity that unite us are a strong and precious support for Iraq’s communities. And through them, we also express our solidarity with the whole population of the country that is oppressed by this violence.
In these days when we are about to begin our celebration of the season of Advent, it is with a renewed vigour that we should affirm once more our hope in the arrival of Him who comes to dwell among us and so bring Peace. Several months ago, at the time of another of these terrible outbreaks of violence, a young survivor declared that nothing, not even the death that had just occurred, should make us renounce love. In the face of violence, he thus witnessed to the only true strength and dignity of man.
To unite us with all those in the world who hold this hope, and in communion with all the oppressed Christian communities today, in particular those of Iraq, I suggest that you make the First Sunday of Advent a time of prayer for peace, in your conventual Churches and your communities. This time could last for the whole of Advent, and give rise to a moment of prayer together with the Dominican Family.
May the Lord of Peace fill the world with his justice and give the grace of peace in abundance!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dominican vocations video from 1964

This promotional video (from 1964) by the Dominican friars of the Saint Joseph Province USA was called 'And the World Looks at Us' and was 28 minutes long in total. The 9 and a half minutes that you see here are excerpts from that. The video is pre-conciliar and show eucharistic liturgies from that era. From a vocational perspective though, it maintains a great interest because the essentials of Dominican life remain the same. And while the video is quasi-romantic in outlook, it still has a broad appeal. I hope that you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vocations in England and Wales are on the increase....

Some good news emerged last week from the annual conference of diocesan vocations directors of England and Wales with the news that September 2010 saw the numbers entering English seminaries to become Catholic priests at their highest level in a decade.
56 men began the journey towards priesthood this year.  “The number of people responding to the call of Christ to be priests and religious has been rising slowly but surely,” said Fr Stephen Lanrgidge, Chairman of the Vocations Directors of England and Wales, “and may rise further as people respond to the visit of Pope Benedict.”

At their annual conference held last week at Oscott seminary in Birmingham, the Vocations Directors discussed the approaches to vocations work that have contributed to this increase.  Many dioceses and religious orders now run discernment groups for young men and women where all vocations are discussed.  Such groups encourage lay, religious and priestly vocations.

Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, Director of the National Office of Vocation, commented, “When everybody in the Church takes seriously Newman’s insight that ‘God has created me to do him some definite service,’ then a greater number discover their call to the priesthood and religious life.”

Vocations directors also discussed new ways to promote this culture of vocation.  Invocation was a festival held in Birmingham in July 2010 for Catholics aged 16-35 who are discerning their vocation and some 300 young people attended.  This was so popular that it is being held again next year from June 17 to 19.
Schools are now being provided with high quality on-line materials and youth ministers are developing new approaches to bringing the gospel to life for the young. 

Attending events such as World Youth Day is an important experience that opens the eyes of many people to the richness of life in the Church and plans for English and Welsh participation are well developed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Media reaction to recent Dominican ordination

The recent ordination of Father David Barrins OP has generated some media interest on a national level in Ireland. Yesterday, Fr David gave a very good interview to one of Ireland's most listened to morning radio programmes (the John Murray show) on the national broadcaster RTE. You can listen to the interview by clicking the play button below (and just be a liitle patient to allow it to start):

Also yesterday, one of Ireland's national newspapers ran a front page story on the ordination. The article appeared in the Irish Examiner and you can read it here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

David Barrins OP is ordained to the priesthood

The priestly ordination of our brother David Barrins OP took place today in the priory church of Saint Mary's, Pope's Quay, Cork on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King. The bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckey DD was the principal celebrant and ordaining prelate. The homily was preached by Fr Ciaran Dougherty OP. Father David was joined by his family, friends and his Domincan brethren at the ordination ceremony. Below are some images of the day.

The entrance procession
David Barrins OP

The Gospel is proclaimed by the deacon
The homily is preached
Promising obedience


The laying on of hands

Anointing of hands
The offertory procession
Receiving the chalice and paten
Reading part of eucharistic prayer
The Salve Regina is sung at the end of Mass
Father David with members of his family along with Bishop Buckley
A blessing for Bishop Buckley

Irish Dominican Vocations wishes Father David every blessing in his priestly ministry. He will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving tomorrow evening in his home parish of Colloney, County Sligo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dominicans of St Joseph Province USA videos feature vocations......and on EWTN

Our brethren of the Saint Joseph Province USA have been attracting many, many vocations. In the video below, you will see 21 men clothed in the habit of the Order at a ceremony some months ago along with the first profession of the previous year's novices. The video is a very good production.

Leaving All Things Behind from Province of Saint Joseph on Vimeo.

The next video, though rather long, features the vocations director of the St Joseph Province, fr Benedict Croell OP on the Dominican charism and why so many attracted to the Dominican way of life in the province of Saint Joseph, USA. Really excellent, and well done to my fellow vocations director brother, Benedict.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Importance of Word of God for Vocations - Verbum Domini

Pope Benedict recently published Verbum Domini, an apostolic exhortation drawing on the Synod of Bishops held in 2008 to reflct on 'the word of God in the life and mission of the Church'. It is an interesting document in which the Holy Father is underlining the importance of the word of God in living our personal vocations: our lifelong call to holiness, and the specific call of each person. Pope Benedict addressed specific words to people in various vocations and states in life - including bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and those in consecrated religious life together with married couples and families. His words will resonate with Dominicans and those thinking of the Dominican vocation with our particular emphasis on the proclamation and preaching of the Word of God. Below are some quotable quotes from Verbum Domini and those they are addressed to:

To Ordained Ministers: '....bishops, priests and deacons can hardly think that they are living out their vocation and mission apart from a decisive and renewed commitment to sanctification, one of whose pillars is contact with God's word........priests need to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him........those aspiring to the ministerial priesthood are called to a profound personal relationship with God's word, particularly in lectio divina, so that this relationship will in turn nurture their vocation.....'.

To those in consecrated life: '.....both old and new expressions of special consecration are called to be genuine schools of the spiritual life, where the Scriptures can be read according to the Holy Spirit in the Church, for the benefit of the entire people of God.....contemplative men an women by their lives of prayer, attentive hearing and neditation on God's word, remind us that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.....'.

To the lay faithful:'....who live out their specific vocation to holiness by a life in the Spirit expressed in a particular way by their engagement in temporal matters and by their participation in earthly activities'. Pope Benedict appealed to dioceses to provide opportunities for the laity 'to be trained to discern God's will through a familiarity with his word, read and studied in the Church under the guidance of her legitimate pastors.'

To married couples and families: '.....it must never be forgotten that the word of God is at the very origin of marriage and that Jesus himself made marriage one of the institutions of his Kingdom, elevating to the dignity of a sacrament what was inscribed in human nature from the beginning.........fidelity to God's word leads us to point out that nowadays this institution is in many ways under attack from the current mentality......part of authentic parenthood is to pass on and bear witness to the meaning of the life in Christ: through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God's word to their children........the ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Institution to Ministry of Acolyte

Three of our student brothers, Colm Mannion OP, Luuk Jansen OP and Matthew Martinez OP today received the ministry of acolyte at the conventual Mass at Saint Saviour's, Dublin. The principal celebrant was Fr Pat Lucey OP, Prior Provincial of the Irish Dominican friars.The ministry of acolyte is a preparatory step for the reception of Holy Orders and is concerned mainly with the assisting at the celebration of the eucharist and other related tasks related to the Blessed Eucharist. Below are images of the three brothers receiving the paten and chalice in preparation for today's Sunday conventual Mass. More information and images are available at www.dominicansinteractive.com

Bro Colm Mannion OP
Bro Luuk Jansen OP
Bro Matthew Martinez OP

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Irish Dominican friars to celebrate third priestly ordination of 2010

 David Barrins OP

The friars of the Irish Dominican province will celebrate the ordination to the priesthood of  Brother David Barrins OP on Sunday, November 21st at Saint Mary's Dominican priory church, Pope's Quay, Cork. The ordination ceremony is at 3.00 pm and the bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr. John Buckley will be the ordaining prelate.

Bro. David has recently completed his institutional studies and is assigned to the Cork community for the past number of months. He is currently the provincial promoter for youth ministry for the Irish Dominicans. A native of Colloney, County Sligo, David worked for some years in the financial services sector prior to joining the Dominicans in 2005.

This is the third priestly ordination for the Irish Dominicans this year. Father Fergus Ryan OP was ordained priest in April while Father David Rocks OP was ordained in July of this year. Irish Dominican Vocations wishes our brother David every blessing as he prepares for his priestly ordination.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good news for vocations in Ireland as Franciscan friars receive new novices

 The four novices pictured with the Ennis Franciscan community

Vocations to religious life in Ireland received another timely boost in the recent past with the news that the Franciscan friars of the Irish province clothed four men in the habit of the order recently. The four: Marc Reimer, Feidhlim O' Seasnain, Michael O' Grady and Philip Geasley have completed their pre-novitiate in England and now begin their novitiate with the Franciscan community in Ennis, Co. Clare.

This very good news gives a boost to all religious congregations who are concerned with vocations and new membership. The long, cordial,  fraternal and historical links between the Dominicans and the Franciscans prompt Irish Dominican Vocations to wish our new Franciscan brothers every blessing on the road ahead as they set out to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis. See also the website of the Irish Franciscan friars.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dominican student brothers speak about their vocation

Two of our student brothers, Ronan Connolly OP and Damian Polly OP recently gave a brief interview to http://www.rnn.ie/ about their vocation stories and a reflection on how their lives are as brothers in formation for the Order. Click on the link below to hear the interview.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Annual General Meeting of Religious Vocations Directors in Ireland

The annual general meeting of the religious vocations directors (male and female) in Ireland – known as Vocations Ireland will meet in Dublin this weekend. There will be a keynote address from well known Irish Times journalist Breda O’ Brien. I look forward to hearing her. She is, without question, one of the more rational and serious social and religious commentators in modern Ireland

What are the concerns of the vocations personnel in Ireland at this time? No doubt, the question of continued dwindling numbers of vocations will be high on the agenda. It is a perennial! The other issue that always exercises the mind is: where do we tap into where the young are at – how will we reach them? Lamentably, there will be a continuous call for more sub-committees, more focus groups, more research to be done to get to the root of the problem. Allied with that will be the sense of deflation on the part of many – it’s hard to retain optimism when there are few vocations.

And yet, some of the concerns seem so misplaced. I’d like my fellow vocations directors and promoters to think in a more constructive manner. Instead of lamenting and moaning about the small number of vocations why not take the initiative and make a concerted effort to promote the vocation of each order, congregation and entity. There is a very serious lack of vocational promotion in Ireland. It is practically negligible. No visibility. Will young (and not so young) take religious vocations seriously if religious themselves do not?

I have observed the proliferation of committees, sub-committees, focus groups and research studies undertaken by religious congregations in recent years. I do not doubt that they are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, like many reports and studies – they are filed away but give a suggestion of actually having done something. No report, or focus group or research will substitute for the real hard work of vocational promotion and discernment. Time to stop meeting and get out and do!

Then the question of deflation/lack of energy or hopelessness which is the malaise of many vocations personnel: it is time to look at your congregational leaders and leadership teams and encourage them to make vocations a top priority – to put resources (material, human and spiritual) at your disposal. Congregations leave so much to vocations personnel without ever encouraging them.

And finally, prayer! Where is there a sense of religious congregations praying in a real and earnest fashion for vocations? There are a few, but very few. Look at the thousands of ordinary people associated with religious communities whose resource as pray-ers for vocations that have not been tapped into. Do religious communities pray for vocations? And ultimately – no prayer, no vocations.

Please pray for us religious vocations directors as we begin a new academic year of promotion and discernment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Saint Martin de Porres, the Saints and Vocations....

November 3rd is the feast day of our Dominican brother, Saint Martin de Porres. There is no doubting that Saint Martin is a saint for all ages and his life and work continue to inspire many people. As I have often noted elsewhere on this blog, I owe my Dominican vocation in no small part to the influence of Saint Martin de Porres, and I try with every opportunity to introduce him to others - and particularly those interested in vocation to the Dominican form of life.

It is no wonder that Saint Martin resonates with twenty-first century Catholics concerned with issues of justice, racial prejudice, the continuing divide between the rich and the poor and commitment to those at the margins of society. Martin with his commitment to all these issues and more is an ideal figure for a secular world. It becomes clear why he is beloved of so many, and why he has inspired many to follow him in the Dominican way.

It brings home the point that Saint Martin de Porres and indeed all those saints who lived vowed religious lives - if they are to make a difference, then there has to be some other unique aspect of their lives, some sign of grace, that makes a difference. While many would look at and focus on Saint Martin's commitment to the poor and deprived as the be all and end all, the fact remains that it was his life grounded in spirituality with the particular emphasis on community, sacrifice and the suffering love of Christ that marks him out as very different.

Today, many religious, particularly women's apostolic congregations that have worked long and hard in the areas of education and social service are suffering from fewer vocations and dwindling numbers. If one can serve the poor as a social worker, why become a brother, nun or priest? It is the distinctiveness of the religious vocation - that piece that marks it as different from the secular notion of career - that has become highly obscured. As Saint Martin, and many of the other saints remind us, it is the imitation of Christ, the following of Jesus in the service of the poor that makes the life of Martin both luminous and inspirational.

Saint Martin de Porres, pray for us.