Saturday, April 30, 2011

Official Programme for Vatican Blogger Meeting Announced

As one of the 150 bloggers invited by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Communications to the first international meeting of Catholic bloggers, it is safe to say that there is a great deal of excitemnet on my own part and that of others attending the meeting on Monday next. There are a couple of alternative gatherings of bloggers on the following day - proper blognics, if you like - which are open to all. One of them takes place in an Irish pub - maybe that's the reason I should go to the alternative meet as well!

The official programme for the PCC meeting has been announced. It is to take place in the Sala Congressi, Palazzo Pius X, off the via della Conciliazione and will be formally opened by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the President of Pontifical Council for Communications. There are two panels of speakers, the first one moderated by Rocco Palmo and the second by Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ. (The second panel of contributors includes the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ). The event will be concluded by Archbishop Claudio Celli.

It will be a great opportunity to meet with other Catholic bloggers, make connections, and hopefully find ways for advancing the Gospel through this particular medium. Please keep all of us in your prayers.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena and Vocation

The Dominican family throughout the world will today (April 29th) celebrate the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena. She was born into a prosperous urban family, the 23rd of 25 children. She received no formal education and resolved at an early age to remain a virgin for Christ. 

At the age of 16 she became a lay Dominican and received the habit, as was the custom at the time. She dedicated her life to helping the poor, and was a voice for reform within the Church.The Western Schism (1378-1418) was a source of great suffering for her till her death.

In her writings, or rather those she dictated because she never learned how to write, she details her mystical experiences, her visions of Jesus, of hell, purgatory and heaven. Her major work is the Dialogue of Divine Providence. She died in Rome in 1380, was canonised in 1461, and was declared Doctor of the Church in 1970.

Saint Catherine is the inspiration of many who consider the religious vocation. Her writings, let alone the example of her life, show a deep desire for intimacy with Christ. This is the first motivation for anyone contemplating life as a religious - that deep desire to know the Lord more intimately, and then in typical Dominican fashion to preach from that relationship.

The following quotes attributed to Saint Catherine of Siena will illustrate this. 

O Eternal God, receive the sacrifice of my life, in this Mystical Body of Holy Church. I have nothing to give, save what You have given me. (Prayer of Saint Catherine) 

I turn and lean towards the most holy cross of Christ crucified, and there I will fasten myself. (Letters of Saint Catherine) 

To the servant of God.....every place is the right place, and every time is the right time. (Letters of Saint Catherine)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dominican vocations video (USA)

The Dominican friars of the Saint Joseph Province in the USA consistently produce videos of excellent quality and content. The vocations video above features the large intake of 21 novices last year, along with the first profession of eight of their brothers in Cincinatti, Ohio. There are also some interviews with some of the professed friars on the Dominican vocation.

The Irish Dominican friars welcome enquiries, as always, about our vocation as preachers and the vocations director can be contacted at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum

I will be spending the Paschal Triduum with our contemplative Dominican nuns in Drogheda, Co. Louth this year. The triduum is that period of three days from Holy Thursday, beginning with the Mass of the Lord's Supper and concluding with vespers on Easter Sunday. For those wanting to join with the nuns for these days, the timetable is as follows:

Holy Thursday:
6.30pm - Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Good Friday:
6.55am - Office of Readings
8.30am - Lauds and Terce
11.20am - Midday Prayer
3.00pm - Celebration of the Lord's Passion
6.15pm - Compline

Holy Saturday:
6.55am - Office of Readings
8.30am - Laudes and Terce
12.45pm - Midday Prayer
3.00 pm - Afternoon Prayer
5.30 pm - Vespers
9.30 pm - Easter Vigil Ceremonies and Mass

Easter Sunday:
9.00 am - Lauds
10.10am - Terce
10.30am - Mass
1.00pm - Midday Prayer and Rosary
3.30pm - Afternoon Prayer
6.30pm - Vespers, followed by Compline

Monday, April 18, 2011

Irish Dominican Vocations is Rome bound!

To my great surprise, I learned over the weekend that this blogger is one of the 150 chosen to attend the first international meeting of Catholic bloggers in Rome on May 2nd next. The event is designed to coincide with the beatification celebrations for Pope John Paul II and is hosted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

It is, of course, a great honour to be chosen to attend the event. There are many well known Catholic bloggers attending including Roderick Vonhogen, Katrina Ebersole, Lisa Hendley, Rocco Palmo and many others. I am delighted to be joined at the event by Fr Gabriel Burke, of the diocese of Cloyne. As far as I know, we are the only Irish representatives at the meeting. You can see the full list of those invited here.

This blog is primarily a tool to promote vocations to the the Irish Province of Dominican friars. But as with all other blogs, there is an ulterior motive because I believe that blogs such as this can and should be used to promote the Gospel and to fulfill the important role in the Church of witnessing to Christ. Blogs such as this one are often the first point of contact for vocational enquirers but also for the many who question their faith. It is in that context that this blog and similar ones should be a pointer to the love of God for all humanity. So, blogging is not just about imparting news, it is also concerned with a more profound reality - the desire to know God more intimately.
I have been humbled by all the good wishes offered by many on hearing this news. I hope to keep you posted when the time comes - from Rome!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Profession of Fr Stephen Cummins

It was a historic day for the Irish Dominican province as Fr Stephen Cummins made first profession - the first time in 61 years since a diocesan priest has made simple profession in the Order in Ireland. Fr Stephen, a native of Cork city and a priest of the diocese of Cloyne, made profession during the community Mass today April 16th at Saint Mary's Dominican church, Pope's Quay, Cork. The chief celebrant of the Mass was Fr Finian Lynch OP, the subprior of the community. Fr Stephen was joined by family members, visiting Dominican friars and friends for the occasion.

Irish Dominican Vocations wishes our brother Stephen every blessing as he continues his Dominican formation. Please continue to pray for vocations to the friars of the Irish Dominican province. Below are some images from the joyful occasion.

Fr Stephen prostrates himself prior to making profession asking for God's mercy and that of the Order
The candiadate is examined before making profession.
'I, Brother Stephen Cummins, make profession........'
The traditional blessing of the scapular.
Fr Philip McShane OP, novice master, Fr Stephen Cummins (newly professed) and Fr Finian Lynch OP, subprior, Saint Mary's Cork after the profession ceremony.

Note to bloggers and media: if using these images, please credit Irish Dominican Vocations blog.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Contemplation: An Essential Ingredient of the Christian Tradition - fr Paul Murray OP

Irish Dominican friar, fr Paul Murray OP, recently gave a talk in the English House of Lords - the first time a Dominican friar has done so. His talk "Contemplation: An Essential Ingredient of the Christian Tradition" has recently been adapted by Vatican Radio. The first part is now available. Sincere thanks to our Dominican brothers of the province of Saint Joseph in the USA for providing the link below. It really is well worth a listen!

Dominican Province of St. Joseph | "Contemplation: An Essential Ingredient of the Christian Tradition". Blog |

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dominicans and Study - the Saint Saviour's Symposium

The community at our student formation house at Saint Saviour's, Dublin, are hosting a monthly symposium on a diverse range of topics. Recently, Dr Angelo Bottone, of University College Dublin, gave a talk on the recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman and the idea of the university. Cardinal Newman had strong links with Dublin. For more on the monthly symposium, please visit

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dominican Quotes (1)

Here is the first in a brief series of some of my favourite quotes by eminent Dominicans that might help you in the task of discovering God's call in your life:

There are two ways of keeping God's word, namely, one whereby we store in our memory what we hear, and the other whereby we put into practice what we have heard (and none will deny that the latter is more commendable, inasmuch as it is better to sow grain than to store it in the barn). - Blessed Jordan of Saxony

One cannot share with others what one does not have in oneself -Saint Catherine of Siena

Those who do not love God, do not know how good He is. - Saint Rose of Lima

Nothing has been told to us by God as a matter for remembrance, it is committed to us as a means to achieve the higher life. - Bede Jarret OP

Behold my children, the heritage I leave you: have Charity for one another, guard Humility, make your treasure out of voluntary Poverty. - Saint Dominic's Last Will and Testament

I am Yours, and I desire to belong to You alone. I will be eternally faithful to You, and I desire to lay down my life for You. - Saint Rose of Lima

Prayer is the voice of desire. - Saint Thomas Aquinas