Sunday, September 14, 2014

Solemn Professions 2014

Six Dominican brothers made their definitive commitment to living as Dominican friars - "solemn profession" - in Dublin on 7th September.

Brothers Conor McDonough OP, Damian Polly OP, Daragh McNally OP, (back row, left to right) Eoin Casey OP, Ronan Connolly OP and David McGovern OP (front row, left to right) made their profession in the hands of Fr Gregory Carroll OP, prior provincial.

The celebration took place during conventual Mass on Sunday 7th September in St Saviour's Church, Dublin, with the local Dominican community, parishioners of Dominick Street parish, visiting Dominican friars, family and friends of the six brothers who travelled from far and wide. 

The six brothers joined the Order in Cork in 2009 as part of a group of thirteen. They are the first to make solemn profession from the eight of the original group who are still in the Order. 

The large group of brothers making solemn profession should not be considered an exceptional increase in the vocations statistics for the Irish Dominicans. 

The average annual intake of the province remains less than three and the average number of priestly ordinations for the same period remains slightly more than one per year.

Please pray for all our brothers in formation and for further vocations to the Order -
Lord Jesus, as you once called Saint Dominic to preach the Gospel, so now send new preachers into your harvest.
Give them courage, wisdom and grace to make them witnesses of your death, resurrection and return in glory.
Through the intercession of Mary, patroness of the Order, may they bring true faith and light to brighten the darkness.
You who live forever. Amen. 

For pictures of the event, follow this link -

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pope speaks of religious vocation on trip to South Korea

The text below is the address given by Pope Francis to the 5,000 religious women and men during his visit to South Korea. He encourages them to do all that they can to show that the consecrated life is a gift to the Church and to let joy be a source of inspiration to attract vocations!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you all with affection in the Lord. It is good to be with you today and to share these moments of communion. The great variety of charisms and apostolates which you represent wondrously enriches the life of the Church in Korea and beyond. In this setting of the celebration of Vespers where we have sung the praise of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, I thank you, and all of your brothers and sisters, for your efforts to build up God’s Kingdom in this beloved country. I thank Father Hwang Seok-mo and Sister Scholastica Lee Kwang-ok, the Presidents of the Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Men’s and Women’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, for their kind words of welcome.

The words of the Psalm, “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:26), invite us to think about our own lives. The Psalmist exudes joyful confidence in God. We all know that while joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty, “it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (Evangelii Gaudium, 6). The firm conviction of being loved by God is at the center of your vocation: to be for others a tangible sign of the presence of God’s Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven. Only if our witness is joyful will we attract men and women to Christ. And this joy is a gift which is nourished by a life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and life in community. When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will emerge to dampen the joy we knew so well at the beginning of our journey.

For you, as men and women consecrated to God, this joy is rooted in the mystery of the Father’s mercy revealed in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Whether the charism of your Institute is directed more to contemplation or to the active life, you are challenged to become “experts” in divine mercy precisely through your life in community. From experience I know that community life is not always easy, but it is a providential training ground for the heart. It is unrealistic not to expect conflicts; misunderstandings will arise and they must be faced. Despite such difficulties, it is in community life that we are called to grow in mercy, forbearance and perfect charity.

The experience of God’s mercy, nourished by prayer and community, must shape all that you are, all that you do. Your chastity, poverty and obedience will be a joyful witness to God’s love in the measure that you stand firmly on the rock of his mercy. This is certainly the case with religious obedience. Mature and generous obedience requires that you cling in prayer to Christ who, taking the form of a servant, learned obedience through what he suffered (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 14). There are no shortcuts: God desires our hearts completely and this means we have to “let go” and “go out” of ourselves more and more.
A lively experience of the Lord’s steadfast mercy also sustains the desire to achieve that perfection of charity which is born of purity of heart. Chastity expresses your single-minded dedication to the love of God who is “the strength of our hearts”. We all know what a personal and demanding commitment this entails. Temptations in this area call for humble trust in God, vigilance and perseverance.

Through the evangelical counsel of poverty you are able to recognize God’s mercy not only as a source of strength, but also as a treasure. Even when we are weary, we can offer him our hearts burdened by sin and weakness; at those times when we feel most helpless, we can reach out to Christ, “who made himself poor in order that we might become rich” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). This fundamental need of ours to be forgiven and healed is itself a form of poverty which we must never lose sight of, no matter how many advances we make in virtue. It should also find concrete expression in your lifestyle, both as individuals and as communities. I think in particular of the need to avoid all those things which can distract you and cause bewilderment and scandal to others. In the consecrated life, poverty is both a “wall” and a “mother”. It is a “wall” because it protects the consecrated life, a “mother” because it helps it to grow and guides it along the right path. The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church. Think, too, of how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us.

Dear brothers and sisters, with great humility, do all that you can to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world. Do not keep it to yourselves; share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country. Let your joy continue to find expression in your efforts to attract and nurture vocations, and recognize that all of you have some part in forming the consecrated men and women of tomorrow. Whether you are given more to contemplation or to the apostolic life, be zealous in your love of the Church in Korea and your desire to contribute, through your own specific charism, to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and building up God’s people in unity, holiness and love.

Commending all of you, and in a special way the aged and infirm members of your communities, to the loving care of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of enduring grace and peace in Jesus her Son.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Follow Dominican Vocations on Twitter!

Irish Dominican Vocations has been using Twitter over the past couple of years to circulate information regarding vocations to the Irish Dominican province. Yesterday, we received our 1000th follower.

Along with our website ( , this blog and our Facebook account, we try to give as much up to date news as possible.

Currently the various social media outlets and websites that we use account for the vast majority of enquiries about the vocation to be a Dominican friar in the Irish province.

Follow Irish Dominican Vocations on Twitter - @frgdop

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dominican Nuns Drogheda launch new website

Our Dominican contemplative nuns in Siena Monastery in Drogheda, County Louth launched a new website for the community today August 8th- to coincide with the feast of Saint Dominic. You can find it here and it is well worth a visit!

The attractive website gives a very good insight into the life and ministry of the nuns. It boasts up to date information on upcoming events, vocations, preaching, reflections, the hospitality afforded to guests and much more.

The nuns are also Facebook (search for Dominican Nuns Ireland) and also host a blog - www,

Feast of Saint Dominic

Happy feast of Saint Dominic to all readers of our vocations blog. Through his intercession, may many men and women be inspired by his zeal for preaching and the salvation of souls.

Less well known than his contemporary Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic was not a big ostentatious leader. But the fact that the family of Dominic still exists almost 800 years since the Order was founded, it is clear that he had the gift of leadership.

On his feast day, I am reminded of his dedication to prayer and particularly his celebrated 'Nine Ways of Prayer'. Each of his nine ways of prayer are like an incarnation of humility. Whether he was on the ground prostrate, or on his knees, or standing with his arms outstretched - each way of prayer was a way in which he offered himself to God. Each way of prayer was a different way of asking for the grace to fulfill his call. These 'nine ways of prayer' help us to remember that whatever situation we find ourselves in, there is always an opportunity to ask for God's help.

In Ireland, we thank God for the growth of the Dominican family and we humbly pray today for an increase in vocations to the Dominican way of life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Priestly ordination of Fr Matthew Martinez OP

The Irish Dominican friars rejoiced on the occasion of the ordination of a third new priest for the province this summer.

Fr Matthew Martinez OP, a native of Trinidad in the Caribbean, was ordained priest in his native parish of St Finbar, Port of Spain, on the feast of Blessed Jane of Aza, mother of St Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order.

Fr Joseph Harris CSSp, archbishop of Port of Spain, was the ordaining bishop and was assisted by Robert Rivas OP, archbishop of St Lucia and an Irish Dominican, Jason Gordon, bishop of Barbados, Malcolm Gault, bishop emeritus of Barbados. 

St Finbar's church was packed to capacity with parishioners, Fr Matthew's parents, sister, extended family, friends and lively choir. 

Approximately forty priests also took part in the celebration, with twelve friars of the Irish Dominican Province, some natives of Trinidad, some who are missionaries there and some who travelled for the occasion. 

Fr Matthew was clothed in the priestly vestments by his classmates Fr Luuk Jansen OP and Fr Colm Mannion OP who were ordained in Ireland in July. 

Fr Matthew was scheduled to celebration a Mass of Thanksgiving on the evening after his ordination in the same church. 

Below are some further images of the ordination ceremony today:
 The entrance procession
The examination of the candidate
 Bro Matthew prostrate during the Litany of the Saints
An aerial view of the ancient tradition of calling on the saints to intercede for the brother to be ordained.
Fr Matthew is clothed in priestly vestments by Fr Colm Mannion and Fr Luuk Jansen who are classmates of the newly ordained.
Fr Matthew is introduced to the congregation and congratulated by Archbishop Harris
Fr Matthew concelebrates
Fr Matthew greets members of his family during the 'sign of peace' at the ordination Mass.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Irish Dominicans to celebrate third priestly ordination of 2014

Trinidadian native and Irish Dominican friar Matthew Martinez OP will be ordained a priest tomorrow (Saturday, August 2nd, 2014) in the Dominican church of Saint Finbar, Diego Martin, Port-of-Spain.

Please join with us in praying for Brother Matthew as he approaches this important moment in his life and the life of the Irish Dominican province.

Earlier in July, Fr Colm Mannion and Fr Luuk Jansen were ordained priests in Saint Saviour's, Dublin.

Finally, we continue to ask your prayers for vocations to the friars of the Irish province.

English diocese leads the way with ambitious framework for vocations

Recently, the English Roman Catholic diocese of Lancaster published a Diocesan Vocations Framework. It may not be that newsworthy to many, but to my mind, it is the most comprehensive attempt by a diocese in England or Ireland to describe in detail how that diocese will set about the task of promoting and nurturing vocations.

Interestingly, it is unashamedly a framework for promoting priestly vocations in the diocese, and yet mindful of the baptismal call of all. In terms of promoting vocations, primacy is given to prayer and prayer events along with a strong emphasis on the 'new media' and online presence. The framework also highlights the ongoing care of seminarians and sets out clear and distinct roles and responsibilities for those who are charged with the vocations portfolio in the Lancaster diocese.

The diocese is to be complimented for producing a clear and decisive 'roadmap' for the promotion and nurturing of vocations. It is recommended reading for dioceses in Ireland and England along with their religious counterparts. You can access the document here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Irish bishop to make vocations a priority

Bishop Kevin Doran was installed as Bishop of Elphin on Sunday last in Sligo - one of the north western dioceses in Ireland. He is a former vocations director of the Archdiocese of Dublin. In a wide ranging address at the end of the ordination ceremony, Bishop Doran indicated that vocations are one of the key challenges facing his diocese and signalled that they would be a priority for him. In an enterprising move, he challenged the congregation at his episcopal ordination to help address the vocations 'crisis' by identifying six candidates from their own communities and families between now and next Easter.

He also reminded those gathered that 'vocation does not begin when people are teenagers or young begins when God calls us into life and when, through baptism, He invites to be members of His family'. He said that it makes no sense to expect that people can be ready to commit to any Christian vocation, marriage, priesthood, religious life or diaconate if they have not first of all been helped to recognise God's invitation in baptism and respond to it.

It's wonderful to hear a new Irish bishop speak in these terms - making vocations a priority. Hopefully his initiative and challenge will bear fruit. Bishop Doran may well change the language around the question of vocation - this can only be a good thing.

Irish Dominican Vocations wish Bishop Kevin well in his ministry in the diocese of Elphin - and are grateful for his contribution to the work of vocations in his previous role as vocations director for the Dublin archdiocese.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Double priestly ordination for Irish Dominican friars

Fr Luuk Jansen OP and Fr Colm Mannion OP

The Irish Dominican friars joyfully celebrated the priestly ordination of two of our brothers yesterday in Saint Saviour's Dominican church in Dublin. Fr Luuk Jansen and Fr Colm Mannion were ordained by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in a moving ceremony with a packed congregation. The new priests were joined by a large number of Dominican brothers from Ireland and abroad, their families and friends.

Fr Luuk is originally from the Netherlands and discovered the faith through a colleague while working in the west of Ireland. A number of years after being baptised, he entered the Irish Dominican novitiate in Limerick and continued his formation and studies in Dublin which culminated in his ordination as a priest yesterday.

Fr Colm, from Birr in County Offaly, worked with an an international airline and for the Legion of Mary before entering the novitiate with Fr Luuk and Br Matthew Martinez who will be ordained next month in his native Trinidad.

We wish our newly ordained priests every blessing in their ministries and pray that their commitment will encourage others to consider the Dominican way of life.

Archbishop Martin lays hands on the ordinands.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Priestly Ordinations 2014

Left to right: Bro Matthew Martinez OP, Bro Luuk Jansen OP and Br Colm Mannion OP

The Irish Dominican friars are looking forward to the presbyteral ordinations of three of our friars this year. Tomorrow (July 5th, 2014), Brothers Luuk Jansen and Colm Mannion will be ordained priests in Saint Saviour's Dominican church, Dominick Street, Dublin at 3.00 pm. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will be the ordaining prelate.

On Saturday, August 2nd, Bro Matthew Martinez will be ordained priest in the Dominican church of Saint Finbar in hid native Trinidad.

Irish Dominican Vocations asks your prayers for our brothers as they prepare for priesthood in the Order and a continuance of prayers for vocations to the Irish Dominican province.

Monday, May 19, 2014

We urgently need to talk about vocations - Irish Catholic

The most recent edition of the 'Irish Catholic' (Ireland's weekly Catholic newspaper) carried an editorial on the need to urgently talk about vocations. The editor, Michael Kelly, is hoping to stimulate a conversation about the topic and will next week explore how a culture of vocations can be created in Ireland. Below, in italics, is the opening contribution on the issue. I find myself in total agreement with his analysis and he reiterates many of the concerns that I have held for some time now. I look forward to the next instalment on this question and hope that it will engage those concerned with vocations promotion to respond and react.

Every time I write about the urgent task of promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life I get a two-fold response. Many readers - laypeople, priests and religious - get in touch saying they are delighted that I am raising the issue. On the other hand - I get correspondence - sometimes from those involved in vocations ministry - saying I have no idea how difficult their job is.

Let me begin by making it clear that I don't want in any way to discourage those involved in vocations ministry - on the contrary.

Pope Francis said recently that a lack of vocations is 'often due to a lack of contagious apostolic fervour'. I have a very strong sense that many people within the Church are not taking the vocations crisis seriously. Despite the sincere efforts of many, there are many others who give little or no thought to promoting vocations. We hear platitudes that it's about quality and not quantity.

Message from God

Or, it suits some people to say that we have to see a message from God in the ever-declining numbers. I sadly meet some priests and religious who are hostile to new vocations because they hope the decline will lead to a crisis that will force the Church to adopt his or her particular vision of ecclesial or ecclesiastical reform. Other people are even unwilling to use the term 'vocations'. They prefer 'vocation' and like to talk vaguely about every single person having a vocation. 

Vocations Sunday - which we just celebrated - is a day dedicated to vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

There is no vocation to the single life per se. One is either single and free to marry or one is not single and free to marry. It is a logical absurdity to say that one can be called to what one is; nor is there a vocation to marriage - not, at least, in the sense of a supernatural vocation. Marriage is man's natural state. Some people are called to forego the natural state in view of the Gospel and the Kingdom. Others are not. 

Too many priests and religious tread on egg-shells around laypeople as if any mention of priesthood and religious life will be taken as a slight to the lay vocation, or that laypeople are ubersensitive to a sense of feeling excluded by talk of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This has not been my experience. In fact, it has often been a confusion among priests and religious about their identity that leads to confusion among laypeople.

Vocations' directors should not be afraid to promote the specificity of priesthood and religious life in their ministry. Presenting priesthood and religious life as a community worker or convenor isn't very attractive. It can also serve to demoralise those who are currently in ministry. If a young person feels called to be a social worker, a community organiser or a convenor they can earn a lot more money doing this in the secular sphere than in religious life!


The work of promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life is a challenging, even a daunting role. Vocations directors and promoters are at the forefront of trying to promote a call in a culture and a society that is often deaf to the idea of the supernatural and a culture that finds it increasingly difficult to contemplate a life-encompassing commitment. And yet, the work of promoting a culture of vocations in our dioceses and religious orders, congregations and missionary societies is vital in the true sense of that word - essential for the life of the Church. And if we believe the life of the Church, the Christian life, is vital for the flourishing of healthy, just and meaningful society then this work is vital for Ireland as we grapple to overcome a sense of dazed reality in the wake of the collapse of an economic and moral model that was built on sand.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Vocations Sunday 2014

As we prepare to celebrate the annual Day of Prayer for Vocations, it is opportune to be reminded that over fifty years ago when this special day of prayer was inaugurated by Pope Paul VI there was a perceived need to ask the universal Church to join in prayer - because of the lack of prayer at the time.

All our efforts at prayer will inevitably bear fruit, since we are responding to the direct call of Christ to 'pray the Lord of the harvest to send new labourers to His harvest'. And the Lord will not let us down when we pray - but what may do so is our lack of confidence in Him.

On this day it is good to remind ourselves that Jesus Christ is the only reason to be a priest or religious. With that in mind, I recall one man telling me a number of years ago as I began vocations ministry for the Irish Dominicans that Our Blessed Mother was an important part of his vocational discernment; in fact, one of Mary’s simple phrases helped make his discernment easier, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Your prayers are asked for the men who are currently discerning their call to become Dominicans in Ireland - this Vocations Sunday is an appropriate day to remember them.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dominican Connect - May 2014

Dominican Connect (the vocations newsletter of the Irish Dominican friars) for May 2014 has been published and features the Dominican Vocations Day in Dublin held recently.

April was the month of Dominican meetings in Ireland with the European provincials' meeting in Dublin and the Lay Dominicans' AGM in Tallaght.

Coinciding with the beatifications in Rome was the installation of relics of popular saints in our church in Tralee.

Finally, in addition to upcoming novenas and tridua is the news of our Vocation Director becoming prior of our novitiate community in Cork.

Follow this link to read an electronic version of May 2014's Dominican Connect -

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bishop Donal McKeown on Pope's message for Vocations Sunday 2014

The newly appointed Bishop of Derry in Northern Ireland, Donal McKeown, reflects on the message of Pope Francis for Vocations Sunday which will be celebrated on May 11th this year.

Bishop McKeown is the chair of the Council for Vocations of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Book: JPII - Access All Areas - The Thought of the Saint

A recently published book to coincide with the canonisation of Pope John Paul II is now widely available throughout Ireland. It is edited by Fr John Harris OP who is the regent of studies for the Irish Dominican province.

The book is divided into 23 short readable chapters enabling readers of all backgrounds to understand better Saint John Paul's various writings. Some of the contributors include Breda O' Brien (journalist) on John Paul II and the dignity of women, John Waters (journalist and commentator) on the late Pope's thoughts on the worker, fr Alan O' Sullivan OP on the new saint's teaching on sexuality and Fr Gerard Dolan on John Paul and the Eucharist.

The new publication is an initiative of 'OnebyOne Press' and is available to purchase from them and also from Veritas stores nationwide

Blessed Guiseppe Girotti OP - a new 'Blessed' for the Order

On Saturday last, April 26th, the Dominican Order celebrated the beatification of an Italian friar who led an extraordinary life.

Born in Alba, Italy, in 1905, Girotti entered the Dominican seminary at Chieri at the age of 13 and took his vows in 1923. He was ordained in 1930 and continued his studies in Sacred Scripture at the Angelicum in Rome and the École Biblique in Jerusalem, where he was a student of Marie-Joseph Lagrange. He then became a professor of Sacred Scripture at the Dominican seminary in Turin.

Following the Nazi occupation of Italy in 1943, Girotti became part of an underground network that provided aide to Italian Jews, including helping them find places to hide from the authorities and providing them with false papers. The following year, he was arrested after being caught in the act of aiding a wounded Jewish person and eventually sent to the concentration camp at Dachau.

According to his fellow inmates, Girotti distinguished himself in the camp by his generosity and his gentleness. Under the harsh conditions, he soon fell ill and was transferred to the infirmary, where he died on 1 April 1945. He was likely killed by a lethal injection of gasoline, as was common treatment of ill prisoners at the time.

Following his death, his fellow prisoners carved into his bunk: “Here slept Saint Giuseppe Girotti”.
In 1995, the State of Israel posthumously recognized him as Righteous Among the Nations for his efforts to protect Italian Jews.

Documentary on Cistercian nuns

A recent documentary on RTE television (the national television network) featured the Cistercian nuns in County Waterford. It is the only community of Cistercian nuns in Ireland. The very well made programme follows the life of the community over the period of some months and includes footage of the community at prayer and work. From a vocations perspective, the reception of a novice is a highlight - and the journey that the particular novice makes through a process of discernment with the community.

The Cistercian nuns are to be applauded for allowing the rare access to a documentary crew within their enclosure because it does a great service to the contemplative and religious life but also to the promotion of vocations to all the forms of religious life in Ireland.

The documentary will be available for viewing for the next couple of weeks on the RTE player service. You can view it here:

For more information on the Cistercian nuns in Ireland, please visit:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Music for Holy Week and Easter - supporting a Dominican project.

"Célí Dé collective" - Hymns of Passion & Resurrection is a collection of traditional Irish music for Holy Week and Easter.

From "Caoineadh na dtrí Muire" to "An t-Aiséirí ("Lament of the three Marys" to "The Resurrection") the collection is a musical accompaniment for the events celebrated during the Great Week.

The collection is already available for purchase in iTunes and will be available in music shops from April 12th.

Proceeds from sales will go to the Dominican summer camp at Knockadoon, County Cork.
Go to the Célí Dé website -

Watch a video of Caoineadh na dtrí Muire:


Monday, April 14, 2014

Conversations on John Paul II continued.....

The second and third videos in the series on Blessed John Paul II from our student brothers in Saint Saviour's, Dublin reflect on John Paul II on the culture of life and World Youth Days.

For more, follow the preaching apostolate of our student brothers at

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A tribute to Fr Noel Meade OP (RIP)


Fr Noel Meade OP of our Galway community died a month ago. Fr Noel spent much of his Dominican life as a missionary in South America. The picture above and the brief tribute below is from Radio Saint Dominic, which fr Noel was instrumental in setting up.

RSD (Radio Saint Dominic) reports the birth to the Lord who in life was fr. Noel Meade, O.P.

This morning (March 3rd, 2014) we heard of the death of fr. Noel Meade, O.P. Fr. Meade - one of the inspirations of the creation of this radio station - has died at the age of 71. His death was triggered by health problems he suffered for the past 3 years; in the last 6 days he was operated on 4 occasions.

Fr. Noel Meade was born in Ireland on 9 December 1942. He worked as pastor of the parish St. Peter from 2001 until 2004. Belonging to the province of Ireland, he spent 2 years in this country then left Chimbote and then worked for 4 years in Uruguay.

Today RSD pays tribute to this great man who gave his unconditional and selfless support to us.
We pray that fr. Noel Meade is resting in peace.

Dominican Connect - April 2014 issue

The April 2014 edition of Dominican Connect the newsletter from the vocations office of the Irish Dominican friars has recently been published and is available from all the usual outlets.

This month's edition features an article on the lay Dominicans by Monica Rapenau in light of the recent letter of the Master of the Order on the vocation of the lay Dominicans and preaching. There is also further news on the lay Dominicans as some of their chapters prepare to welcome new members and receive the life promises of others.

News and events of upcoming retreats, preaching engagements of the friars, and the upcoming canonisation of Blessed John Paul II are highlighted.

Bro Colm Mannion OP, one of our deacons and soon to be ordained to the priesthood is our featured friar in this issue.

To download an electronic copy of the April edition of Dominican Connect click on this link:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

International meeting of Dominican vocation promoters and formators

I am currently at a meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri of Dominican vocations promoters and formators from the four American provinces, Argentina, England and Canada. These days have been devoted to sharing our experiences and ideas with a view to looking forward to how we can best serve those who are considering a vocation to the Order and also how to accompany more effectively our brothers in formation.

It has been a very fraternal and helpful meeting for all us - with a real sense of solidarity between our respective provinces and the work that we are tasked to do on behalf of the Order in our countries.

We do not often ask for your prayers for our work as vocation directors or formators, but as we spend this time reflecting on doing the work of the Lord, perhaps you could spare a prayer for all us. We need them as indeed the Order does too.

(Thanks to fr Benedict Croell OP for use of the picture above)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Conversations on John Paul II - the 'new evangelization'

Our student brothers along with the Regent of Studies of the Irish province fr John Harris OP are recording conversations in memory of Blessed John Paul II.

The first conversation focuses on the "New Evangelisation" - a term first coined by the late Pope.

Four of our student brothers took part - Bro Matthew Farrell, Bro Philip Mulryne, Br Michael O Dubhghaill and Bro Matthew Martinez.

To follow the upcoming conversations on John Paul II, follow and the vocations website

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dominican Family Vocations Day - April 5th - register now!

The 6th annual Dominican family vocations day takes place on Saturday, April 5th in Saint Saviour's Dominican Priory, Dorset Street, Dublin 1. It is important to register by March 28th if you wish to attend. To do so, please contact Sr Niamh OP (Dominican nuns, Drogheda) on (041)9838524 or by sending her an email with your details to

As advertised, this day is a great opportunity to find out more about the vocation of the lay Dominicans, the apostolic Dominican sisters (Cabra congregation), the Dominican contemplative nuns at Siena monastery in Drogheda and the Dominican friars. You will get the chance to meet with the various members of the Dominican family and to ask them those burning questions about their Dominican vocation - and yours!

This year, we are delighted to welcome back Dr Andrew O' Connell (communications officer for the Presentation Brothers, journalist and commentator) as our keynote speaker for what will be a lively and informative presentation. A member of each branch of the Dominican family will give reflections and input on their own vocation. Participants will also be afforded the opportunity to pray with us, enjoy the hospitality of the friars at Saint Saviour's and to conclude the day with the celebration of the Eucharist.

So, book now to avoid disappointment!!

A note from Australia

I have been visiting Australia as part of a holiday for the past month and enjoying the hospitality of the Dominican friars based in East Camberwell in Melbourne. Before this holiday, I would have been aware of the connection between the Irish and Australian Dominican provinces and the many friars (and sisters) who were responsible for the building of the presence of the Order over the past 115 years. Therefore it is a great joy to see the Australian province now as it continues its mission of preaching here. The missionary spirit of the province extends to New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea and the brothers are engaged in a variety of different apostolates and missions.

Like much of Western Europe and Ireland, the Australian Dominicans have seen a decrease in vocations to the Order in the past number of decades. However, a presence in chaplaincies in universities that the Order is associated with has seen a resurgence of interest in the ministry and vocation of the friars. The Australian province now has a number of men in formation and just before I arrived here, the province accepted four men (pictured below) into their postulancy programme (pre-novitiate). This is very positive news for them.

As a member of the province that was in some way responsible for the foundation of the Australian Dominicans, there is a deep sense of pride in the contribution that the Irish friars have made here. As the visit to Australia comes to a close, I am earnestly praying for and increase in vocations to both our provinces so that the mission of preaching and the proclamation of the Gospel will continue well into the future.

Finally, a word of grateful thanks to my Australian brothers for the warmth of their hospitality and friendship which will linger long in my memory.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First anniversary of election of Pope Francis - his words on vocations.

Today marks the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. During the course of the past year, he has written and commented on the theme of vocation a number of times. It is worth recounting some of these contributions today - and we hope for more inspiration from the Holy Father in the coming years.

From his Angelus message on April 21st, 2013 - the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Vocations Sunday):

"Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community...This is why Jesus said: 'Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest,' that is God the Father, 'to send labourers into his harvest.' (Matthew 9:38) Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer, and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit. I am pleased to stress this today which is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Let us invoke the intercession of Mary who is the woman of the 'yes'. Mary said 'yes' throughout her life! She learned to recognise Jesus' voice from the time she carried him in her womb. May Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus' voice better and better and to follow it, so as to walk the path of life!"

In his homily to seminarians, novices and those discerning their vocation - July 7th, 2013:

"Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations. One of you, one of your formators said to me the other day: 'evangelisation is done one one's knees.' Listen well: 'evangelisation is done on one's knees.' Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. But for what do you work? As a tailor, a cook a priest, is your job being a priest, being a sister?  No, it is not a job but rather being something else. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and heavy duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ's heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of pastoral fruitfulness, of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord!"

In his encyclical letter Lumen Fidei, June 29th, 2013:

"In the family, faith accompanies every age of life, beginning with childhood: children learn to trust in the love of their parents. This is why it is so important that within their families parents encourage shared expressions of faith which can help children gradually to mature in their own faith. Young people in particular, who are going through a period in their lives which is so complex, rich and important for their faith, ought to feel the constant closeness and support of families and the Church in their journey of faith. We have all seen, through World Youth Days, the joy that young people show in their faith and their desire for an ever more solid and generous life of faith. Young people want to live life to the fullest. Encountering Christ, letting themselves be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint. Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God's faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pope Francis on the need to pray for vocations

Last week, Pope Francis  asked the faithful to pray for vocations, so that God may send priests and nuns whose hearts are for Him only; free from the idolatry of vanity, of power and of wealth.
Speaking during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on March 3rd, Pope Francis took his cue from the Gospel reading of day which tells of a rich man who ran up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. This man – the Pope said – really wanted to hear what Jesus had to say. “He was a good man, a man who had observed the commandments from his youth, but this was not enough for him, he wanted more. The Holy Spirit was pushing him further”. Jesus looked at him, loved him and said to him: ‘Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor; then come, follow me’. At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions:
“His heart was restless, because the Holy Spirit was pushing him to get closer to Jesus and to follow him. But his heart was full and he lacked the courage to empty it. He made his choice: money. His heart was full of money…. But he was not a thief, or a criminal: no, no, no! He was a good man: he had never stolen! He had never cheated anyone: his money had been earned honestly. But his heart was imprisoned, it was attached to money and he lacked the freedom to choose. Money chose for him”.
How many young people – Pope Francis continued – feel this call to get close to Jesus within their hearts, and they are enthusiastic about it. “They are not ashamed to kneel before Him” and to “publically show their faith in Jesus Christ” and “they want to follow Him, but when their hearts are full of something else and they lack the courage to empty their hearts, they turn back and their joy becomes sadness”. There are many young people today – Pope Francis said – who have a vocation, but sometimes there is something that stops them:
“We must pray so that the hearts of these young people may be emptied, emptied of other interests and other sentiments, so that they may become free. This is the prayer for vocations. ‘Lord, send us nuns and send us priests, defend them from idolatry, the idolatry of vanity, the idolatry of pride, the idolatry of power, the idolatry of money’. This prayer of ours is to prepare these hearts so that they are able to follow Jesus closely”.

The man described in the Gospel reading – the Pope said – is “such a good man and then he is so sad”. Today there are many young people like him. This is why we must pray intensely to God:
“Lord, help these young people so that they may be free, not slaves, so that their hearts be for You only; so that the call of the Lord can be heard and can bear fruit. This is the prayer for vocations. We must pray a lot. But we must be careful: there are vocations. We must help them to grow, so that the Lord can enter into those hearts and give this indescribable and glorious joy that belongs to every person who follows Jesus closely”.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Letter from Master of the Order on 'The Dominican Laity and Preaching'.

As part of the lead up to the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Order in 2016, the Master fr Bruno has written a letter to the Order on the 'Dominican Laity and Preaching'.

It is an extensive letter for all the members of the Order the Master sets out the primary purpose of all Dominicans embodied in the motto 'sent to preach the Gospel'. Fr Bruno notes that while the motto is simple it focuses our attention on what is at the heart of the service that the Church expects of the Order: to proclaim the Gospel.

Here are some helpful quotations from the letter:

"The unity of our Order is in fact given by its evangelising mission: laity, sisters and friars of the Order are members of a single family whose identity is that they were sent to preach the gospel. Or rather, we might say that the 'Dominican' identity is precisely that of a family - of a 'communion' - constituted by this organic bond between evangelisation and the contemplation of that truth that is the living Word that has come into the world, what we try to develop in the three forms of prayer, study and fraternity, each in the specific manner of his/her state in life."

"Among these Lay Dominicans, the members of these Lay Dominican Fraternities clearly have an important place, choosing as they do to commit themselves with a promise to carry out this specific participation in the mission of Christ as members of the Order. They also register their commitment to the living Word not only for the whole of their lives as baptised persons but also within the balance of the whole of their commitments and of their lives which they want to be 'preaching', serving the conversation of God with the world. At the same time, they register for the duration of the life of the Order, the need to preach the Word, always referring this preaching to the constitution of the church of Christ seeking communion and unity. As we know well, today we must reflect on the diversity at the heart of these fraternities, seeking together how we may always best accept, promote and combine this diversity , brought together in a single concrete witness of a lay life that seeks to be preaching."

"It seems to me that lay Dominicans can allow the preaching of the Order to achieve its end more fully in several ways. As in the case of the sisters and friars in the Order, the preaching of lay Dominicans is rooted in the experience of life. This is why the wealth of their specific contribution to the preaching of the Order comes from their experience of family and professional life, their experience of parenthood, their experience of life in the Church, the experience of being young in contemporary society, the particular experience of the baptised person who must testify his/her faith in the midst of a family or a group of friends whom s/he is daily bound by ties of affection but who do not share the same faith and often show no desire to share it....Moreover, they know the difficulty of witnessing the faith in a specific manner: in may places in the contemporary world, the habitual situation of a lay person brings her/him face to face with indifference, scepticism and unbelief, in a very different way from religious, and this must come to enrich the preaching of the Order as a whole. Similarly, through the activities of their professional,  family or political life, lay persons experience how the Christian demands for fraternity and truth, according to which they try to contribute to the transformation of the world, are a form of preaching essentially linked to their state, which comes to be combined with the preaching of the whole 'family of preachers.'"

For the full text of this excellent letter, click on the link:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dominican Connect - March 2014

The latest edition (March 2014) of Dominican Connect - the newsletter from the vocations office of the Irish Dominican friars has been published.

This month's issue contains a lead article on the rosary and there is news about upcoming events about vocations to the Dominican friars and the Dominican family in Ireland.

Our featured friar this month is fr Stephen Tumilty OP of our community in Newry.

The newsletter will be available in all our Dominican churches and other centres from this weekend and can be downloaded in electronic form by clicking on this link:

Year for Consecrated Life November 30th 2014 to February 2nd 2016 - the joy of vocation

More details have been announced about the upcoming year for consecrated life which will begin on the first Sunday of Advent this year and conclude on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord - almost fourteen months later.

In a letter released a couple of days ago by the Prefect and Secretary for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in preparation for the year, religious have been asked to reflect on the joy associated with the moment when they first realised that God was calling them.

The letter goes on to state that this 'rememberance' of joy of being called will make consecrated men and women better evangelisers and also better promoters of new vocations. The letter states that the 'crisis' of vocations and the crisis many religious are experiencing today represent a crisis of memory that renders many consecrated men and women incapable of experiencing true joy in being faithful.

The year for consecrated life will include meetings with religious orders of other Christian churches along with gatherings for younger religious women and men in Rome and various parts of the world.

As a vocations director it is very heartening that the first official communication about the year for consecrated life focuses on the notion of joy in one's vocation and the call to remember that so that in turn we may attract others to this radical way of life.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

6th Annual Dominican Family Vocations Day

The sixth annual Dominican Family Vocations Day takes place in Saint Saviour's priory in Dominick Street, Dublin 1on April 5th next - beginning at 9.30 am and concluding at 5.00 pm.

The first vocations day event in 2009 coincided with the Year of Vocation organised by the Irish church and was a collaborative effort between the four branches of the Dominican family in Ireland - the contemplative nuns, the lay Dominicans, the friars and the apostolic sisters. The original event was an attempt to showcase the Dominican vocation in all its facets to women and men who were interested.

The event has grown year on year and is now in its sixth year. This year's vocation day will once again highlight the particular vocation of all the branches of the Dominican family and will include input on discerning a vocation in today's culture. Testimonies and vocation stories from a sister, nun, friar and lay Dominican will be given in order to give an understanding of each vocation.

As always, the day will be based around prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Eucharist - the pillars on which Dominican life stand.

Bookings should be made as soon as possible in order to secure a place and the person to contact is Sr Niamh OP (Dominican nuns, Drogheda) on or by contacting 041-9838524 with your details before March 28th, 2014

The event is open to women and men who have a genuine desire to know more about the Dominican life, charism and sprituality. You would be most welcome to join us.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vocations prayer initiative in Saint Dominic's parish Tallaght

Our ongoing prayer initiative for vocations to the Dominican family in Ireland recently arrived at the parish church of Saint Dominic in Tallaght (pictured above). Saint Dominic's is one of three parish churches staffed by Dominican friars in the Tallaght area.

The vocations prayer campaign is now in its third year having visited almost all of the Dominican churches throughout Ireland since its launch in January 2012. While there is a strong emphasis on vocations to the friars in this initiaitive, no opportunity has been lost to promote the vocation of the Dominican laity, sisters and nuns - a fact that is appreciated by the Dominican family in Ireland I hope!

The specially commissioned icon of Saint Dominic which is the focus for this prayer invitation to all who attend our churches will remain in the parish of Saint Dominic's, Tallaght for the coming weeks.

Future locations for the prayer initiative include Saint Magdalen's, Drogheda, Saint Saviour's Dublin and Siena monastery in Drogheda where the initiative was launched.

Please pray for the continued success of this campaign of prayer which has captured the imagination of so many that men and women will be inspired to answer the call of the Lord to live the life of a Dominican in Ireland.

Icon of Saint Dominic - the focus of the prayer initiative

Monday, February 10, 2014

Unique vocations event at Siena monastery, Drogheda

A vocations event with a difference will take place at the Dominican monastery of Saint Catherine of Siena, Drogheda, County Louth on Saturday March 1st next. The event is unique in that it is a collaborative project of the Dominican nuns at Siena monastery and the recently arrived Franciscan sisters of the Renewal to the town of Drogheda.

The one day event is primarily for young women to spend a day of retreat and recollection to consider the call of the Lord in their lives. There will be testimony from both sets of sisters, time for Eucharistic adoration, input on the nature of religious life, question and answer sessions, celebration of the Eucharist and more.

To reserve a place for this important event you should contact Sr Niamh OP ( or the Franciscan sisters on +353 41 9830441.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dominican Connect - February 2014 issue published

The latest edition of Dominican Connect - the newsletter of the vocations office of the Irish Dominican friars has just been published.

In this month's issue, the Master of the Order fr Bruno Cadore OP writes a reflection on the Dominican vocation and is our main feature.

There is news of upcoming vocations events for the friars and the Dominican family. Retreats and courses available in the Dominican retreat centre in Cork are highlighted. News items from Dominican circles throughout the world are also given to give readers a sense of the international aspect of the Order.

Our featured friar this month is fr Louis Hughes OP of our Newbridge community.

Copies of Dominican Connect will be available in all Dominican churches and centres from this weekend and you can also download an electronic copy here: