Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dominican student brothers discuss Pope Benedict's letter to seminarians

Some of the student brothers of the Irish Dominican province based at Saint Saviour's, Dublin discuss the recent letter of Pope Benedict to seminarians with the Regent of Studies fr John Harris OP. To follow this discussion and some upcoming events log on to

Dominican Vocations - General Chapter Rome 2010

The General Chapter of the Dominican Order held in Rome during the month of September has published its 'Acts' - the outcome of the deliberations of the chapter. These 'acts' cover all aspects of Dominican life from community life to preaching, formation to study, government and administration and so on. Naturally enough, the vocations directors of the provinces of the Order will have a keen eye on what the acts of the General Chapter have to say particularly about vocations. There are three short paragraphs on the topic of vocations, but they are quite significant:
  • The fostering of vocations strengthens our general pastoral work with youth, encourages young friars to join in vocation promotion activities, involves the collaboration of the Dominican Family and in particular the prayers of our nuns. It also encourages our communities to live visibly the rich dimensions of Dominican life (LCO 165 § I). ACTA CAPITULI GENERALIS ELECTIVI – ROMÆ 2010 74
  • [Ordinatio] Based on the positive experience of several entities of the Order, we ordain that a promoter of vocations should be appointed in each Province, Vice-Province, and Vicariate (ACG 2004 Krakow, n. 265). If possible, the promotion and direction of vocations should be his primary task.
  • [Exhortatio] Granted the diversity of candidates entering the Order to-day, in terms of age, theological, and cultural background, we exhort promoters of vocations and Admissions Boards to scrutinise the suit-ability of candidates adequately before accepting them for our specifi-cally Dominican form of consecrated life. We cannot ask candidates “to be perfectly motivated, rather they should have the capacity to gradually mature and joyfully integrate themselves into our professed way of life” (ACG 2004 Krakow, n. 263).
I am particularly delighted that the Chapter acknowledges that the vocation promotion of the friars has a Dominican family dimension - with a specific role for the nuns (contemplative) in this regard. I am glad to say that in the Irish context that there is a strong collaborative dimension to the promotion of the Dominican vocation. It is also highly significant that the General chapter ordains that where possible, vocations directors for the Order should have this ministry as a 'primary task'. It has been shown that where full-time vocations directors have been appointed that there has been a stabilisation in the numbers joining provinces and in some cases, an increase in the number joining. Finally, the General Chapter exhorts the friars of the Order to acknowledge the diversity of backgrounds that candidates come from and to take all the relevant and necessary steps in discernment so that those wishing to join us can integrate themselves into our form of life.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pope Benedict writes to seminarians

In the past few days, Pope Benedict has written to all seminarians across the world. It is a significant communication from the Holy Father to all those in formation for priesthood in the present time. In a detailed and exhortative letter he touches on many subjects at the heart of seminarian life - and have a universal appeal both to those pursuing their vocation in the diocesan sphere or indeed religious life. It has many important messages for those contemplating vocational discernment and those currently doing so. Pope Benedict touches on the centrality of the relationship with God, the sacramental life, the sacrament of penance, popular piety, the intellectual dimension of formation, human maturity and the origins of priestly vocations. The full text of Pope Benedict's letter to seminarians can be accessed here:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bishop on Dominican Vocation in an Irish Pub!

Bishop Anthony Fisher OP of Parramata, Australia was a recent visitor to Ireland. Earlier this year he participated in the conclusion of the 'Year for Priests' organised by the friars of the Irish Dominican province held in Tallaght. In the video above, Bishop Anthony is speaking about his Dominican vocation (and many other topics) at a 'Theology on Tap' event in Parramata - in PJ Gallagher's Irish Pub! Incidentally, the 'Theology on Tap' initiative in Gallagher's is a direct result of the success of World Youth Day in Sydney a couple of years ago. Great to see Bishop Anthony in the pub......could we do or see the same in Ireland?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dominican Pilgrimage to Knock - A Journalist's Perspective.

The annual Dominican pilgrimage to Knock on Sunday last was a topic that was aired on one of Ireland's most listened to radio programmes - the Pat Kenny Show on RTE Radio 1. Marie Louise O' Donnell speaks about her experience of the Dominican pilgrimage from Saint Saviour's, Dublin and meeting some of the friars (and particularly our student friars in formation). Well worth a listen. Here is the link to the programme:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Irish Dominican Vocations now on Facebook

You can now keep up to date on all the latest news, events, happenings, discussions and much more as Irish Dominican Vocations begins a new journey on Facebook. Addressing the church for the most recent 43rd World Communications Day, Pope Benedict encouraged us to '.... introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman world. Just as, at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those pagan peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve our mission adequately. It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent". Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm. You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people. Human hearts are yearning for a world where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. Our faith can respond to these expectations: may you become its heralds! The Pope accompanies you with his prayers and his blessing. ' We hope to respond to this message by having a positive presence in this 'digital continent'.

You can find us on Facebook at Irish Dominican Vocations

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dominican Pilgrimage to Knock 2010

The annual Dominican pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Knock, Co Mayo takes place tomorrow Sunday, October 10th. Considered by the shrine authorities as the last 'big' pilgrimage of the season, the Dominican pilgrimage each year consistently attracts very large numbers - with all of the Dominican presences in Ireland represented. So, several thousand people will congregate at Knock tomorrow for the event. The day's pilgrimage will include the opportunity for availing of the sacrament of reconciliation, the celebration of the sacrament of the sick, the celebration of the eucharist along with the rosary procession. Each year one of the friars of the province is asked to preach the homily during the Mass. This year the preacher is Fr Anthony Morris OP of the Sligo community.

Be assured that I will remember, in a special way, all those who help with the promotion of vocations to the Dominican Order at Our Lady's shrine tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feast of our Lady of the Rosary

For Dominicans worldwide, today's feast, Our Lady of the Rosary is very important - because of our association with the rosary and the special task that we have both of praying the rosary as part of our daily prayer and of promoting the rosary as a means of preaching. For many decades, Irish Dominican Fr Gabriel Harty OP has been promoting the rosary in Ireland and around the world. In the video below Fr Gabriel is in full flight as he speaks about the rosary as part of a contribution for the Year for Priest on the world priest website To many generations of Irish Dominican friars, Fr Gabriel has been an inspiration because of his dedication to the rosary and to his Dominican vocation. I hope that readers will enjoy Fr Gabriel on the rosary as we celebrate this great feast- and you might also take a look at his blog

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Video: Polish Dominicans Krakow

In July of this year I posted a video of the Polish Dominicans on this blog. I described it as atmospheric and moody - and it really was quite good. The video below - also by the Polish Dominicans depicts life in the studentate of the province in Krakow - and it is well worth a look. See what you think!