Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vocation Station

A blog with a huge amount of resources and videos on vocations (with a particular emphasis on monastic and contemplative religious) is Vocation-Station. It is worth a look!

Preaching in London

Saint Dominic's - London

A break from the normal routine of vocations promotion and vocational discernment in the week ahead as I head to London to preach a Holy Week retreat/mission in the Dominican parish of Saint Dominic's, Southampton Road in north London. I am very grateful for the kind invitation of the brethren of that community to spend time with them during the most important week of the Church's year. I look forward to being there and spending some time in quiet retreat myself.

As Easter approaches, it is an important time for our postulants who are in the process of making applications to join our novitiate in September. Please remember them at this time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dominican Family Vocations Day - Thank You

Yesterday, Saturday March 20th, the vocations promoters of the four branches of the Dominican family in Ireland (friars, contemplative nuns, sisters and lay Dominicans) hosted a day for men and women who are interested in the Domincan way of life. We were delighted to welcome 20 participants (10 men and 10 women) to Saint Saviour's Dominican Priory, Dorset Street in Dublin. The reflection and feedback on the day was very positive and we were delighted with the large number who were interested.

It is an opportune time to say some words of thanks to so many who made the event a succesful one. Firstly, our sincere thanks to the Prior and community of Saint Saviour's, Dublin for the use of the priory facilites and church and for the warmth of their hospitality. Secondly, to our invited guest speakers Dr. Andrew O' Connell (Communications Director - Presentation Brothers) and Joseph Merrick (Communications Director - St. Joseph's Young Priest Society). Thirdly to our Dominican contributors: Jacinta O' Donnell (Lay Dominicans), Sr. Niamh OP (Dominican nuns, Drogheda), fr Colm Mannion OP (friars) and Sr. Geraldine O' Mahony (Dominican Sisters, Cabra) and finally to Sr. Liz Healy OP who facilitated the day on our behalf.

It is very encouraging to see the increase in interest in things Dominican in Ireland over the past while. This 'family vocations day' goes in some way towards addressing some of that interest. This has been the second such event in the last two years and it now looks like becoming an annual event. Thanks once again to all who helped.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Note on Dominican Spirituality

Among the many questions from enquirers about the Order is: what is Dominican spirituality? And a difficult question it is to answer. However, this short reflection might help.

The heart of Dominican spirituality is the Word of God. It is in the connection between proclaiming the word and contemplating the Word that Dominican speech takes shape. Our contemplation is affected by being proclaimers of the Word of God and our proclamation is affected by our being contemplatives before the word. Therefore the Scriptures play a foundational role in our lives. The Scriptures were of of the loves of Saint Dominic. It would be difficult to know which to emphasise more as a preparation for contemplation, silence or the Scriptures. Both are very necessary. We are called upon not only to study the Scriptures, reflect on the textx of the Scriptures, but also pray with the Scriptures. Study and prayer are not opposed in the rhythm of Dominican life. They mutually nourish each other, a time for study, a time for prayer. Praying with the Scriptures, studying the Scriptures, and opening the meaning of the Scriptures for others are all part of of Dominican contemplation.

We are all preachers in varied ways. But more importantly we are Preachers. The latter says something about whether we are preachers with a small 'p' or not. Our spirituality and identity are formed by the Word. We love the Word. We share the Word. We live the Word. There are many who are not Dominicans who are preachers. The bishops are preachers. But none of them are necessarily Preachers. Preaching is the basis of our identity in the Dominican family, preaching is our mission, and preaching is one of the main sources of our spiritual direction and prayer. Contemplation then does not take us away from the world, but drws us more deeply into the heart of the world, into the anguish and despair and pain of the world as well as the hopes and joys of the world. This is true because our contemplation is so integrally related to our being Preachers and vice versa. It is the Word that achieves this integration. The Word makes us contemplative preachers and preaching contemplatives. The Word brings us to the foot of the Cross which we both contemplate and proclaim.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An upsurge in vocations with a helping hand from an Irish Pub!!

Catholic Ireland news carries a very interesting story which suggests that there has been an upsurge in vocational interest following the recent World Youth Day in Australia in 2008 and also that an Irish pub 'Gallaghers' in Parramatta hosts an innovative programme once a month that creates a 'popular and credible setting' in which young Catholics can come together to discuss their faith. Magnificent!! You can see the full news story here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alter Christus - DVD on Priesthood

Below are three clips from YouTube made in collaboration with the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy on the vocation to the priesthood. The Irish Dominicans hope, in the very near future, to announce plans to celebrate an event to coincide with the Year for Priests. Details to follow.