Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dominican Blogs of Note

Two Dominican blogs have come to my attention in the recent past. Both are American and are worth a visit. For convenience, I will add them to my blog list.

The first blog (http://laydominicans.blogspot.com/) is that of a group of Lay Dominicans in the USA. It is a good resource particularly for information on the saints and blesseds of the Dominican Order and it boasts an excellent link-list.

The second blog (http://dominicancooperatorbrother.blogspot.com/) is one that I highlighted a long time ago. It is the blog of Br Paul Byrd OP, a Dominican brother of the Central Province in the USA. The blog gives an excellent account of the vocation of the Dominican brother and I recommend it highly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Full Time Vocation Directors Needed

For many years now I have been advocating the need for full-time vocation directors. I am fully aware of the desperate wrench that appointing such a full-time promoter or director can be for dioceses and religious orders when there are so many other needs to be met. In recent times in Ireland, I have noticed that some religious congregations have appointed lay staff in the roles of communication and of vocations ministry. This is a move forward. As far as I am aware, only two male religious congregations and one diocese in Ireland has a full time vocations director. Does this suggest that the Irish church is taking vocations promotion seriously? Hardly.

Evidence from around the world shows that when there is a concerted effort at the promotion of vocations and when a culture of vocations is fostered by a diocese or religious congregation that there follows, after a period of time, an increase in those interested in pursuing vocations and an increase in those taking the step to join.

So, instead of bemoaning the lack of vocations and suggesting that the Lord has stopped calling individuals to follow him through the path of priesthood and religious life, we would be far better off actually doing something about it. Having special committees to do more navel gazing will not solve the problem, neither will inertia, nor indeed will those who suggest that it is time for congregations to fade out (believe me I have heard this with alarming frequency). This really is the time for action. We need full-time vocation directors - otherwise we are failing in our responsibility to carry out the call of Christ to bring labourers into the harvest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Church Attendance and Religious Practice on the Rise in Ireland

A recent poll commissioned by the Iona Institute and conducted by the reputable Red C market research company confirms what many in Ireland have been experiencing - that people are returning to the church. The increase in church attendance is small but significant compared to a similar poll carried out in early 2008. An analysis of the findings can be found by clicking this link http://www.ionainstitute.ie/pdfs/Press_Release_by_The_Iona_Institute_2Nov2009.pdf.

Since the findings of the poll suggest that young people (despite the common perception) are not turning away from the church in large numbers, it begs the question as to how best the Irish church can engage with young people. The results of the poll also would lead one to believe that with the right engagement and with proper encouragement and challenge that some of these young people would consider the option of a religious and priestly vocation as a viable and real choice.

(Thanks to David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, for permission to use the links above on this blog).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Communications Problem

There is a fault on the telephone line to the Vocations Office at +353 1 8602791. The problem should be resolved within a couple of days. In the meantime, it is probably best to communicate by email to frgd@eircom.net

Apologies for the inconvenience that this causes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Continuing Good News on Vocations in Ireland

Brother Kevin Mascarenhas makes final profession in Waterford

There is continuing good news on the vocations front in Ireland. Elsewhere on this blog you will have read of the 38 seminarians who began their studies for priesthood in seminaries in Ireland and abroad. 13 men also joined our novitiate in Cork in September.

Five men, one of them from Ireland, began their novitiate with the Capuchins in Oxford in England recently. A brief report on this happy event can be seen on the International Capuchin website here. The Irish Dominican friars rejoice in this good news.

I am also aware that two men began their postulancy year with the Pallotine congregation in the past number of weeks. The vocations page of their website can be seen here.

I note too that there have been final professions of some sisters of apostolic congregations in the recent past. Congratulations from Irish Dominican Vocations to Sr Siobhan O Keeffe of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary who made final profession in Cork in September. A report on this event can be seen on the website of Vocations Ireland. The Dominican sisters of the Cabra congregation recently celebrated the final profession of Sr Suzie O Rawe OP at a ceremony in Cabra in Dublin. Our best wishes and prayers to Sr Suzie. A report with some photographs of the event can be seen on the website of the Cabra Dominican sisters.

Finally, there was immense joy at the solemn profession of Presentation Brother Kevin Mascarenhas (pictured above) in Waterford recently. The Presentation Brothers in Ireland have been leading the way in vocations promotion in this country for the past few years and this event will no doubt be the springboard for better things to come.

All of this good news will hopefully inspire those involved in vocations ministry in Ireland in the months ahead.