Tuesday, February 28, 2012
A great friend of the Presentation Brothers, Sr Anne O'Leary in San Antonio, sent me Ten Tips for Making Lent More Meaningful recently. She received them from Fr Rudy at St Mary's University in the city. Here they are:
1. Slow Down - Set aside 10 minutes a day for silent prayer or meditation. It will revitalize your body and your spirit. You can do this privately, or with a small group of friends to support you.
2. Read a good book - You could choose the life of a saint, a spiritual how-to, an inspirational book that offers you spiritual challenge, insight and hope. Try the Bible.
3. Be kind - Go out of your way to do something nice for someone else every day. Random acts of kindness can have a lot of positive effects.
4. Get involved - Attend a Lenten lecture or spiritual program. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition Series Lecture coming up in March or any of the University Ministry Programs on Campus await your presence!
5. Volunteer at your parish or place of worship - Whether it's the parish fish fry, cleaning the church or helping with the food drive, it will give you a chance to help others.
6. Reach out - Invite an inactive Christian friend to come with you to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday or to support you in any of these suggested considerations for Lent.
7. Pray - Especially for people you don't like and for people who don't like you.
8. Tune out - Turn off the television and spend quality time talking with faculty, staff, family members or friends.
9. Clean out closets - Donate gently used items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Holy Rosary Parish or any other faith based organization that you know is effective in their outreach to the poor.
10. Donate - Pick one reputable agency. Decide how you can help by sending money, clothing or supplies. You might also consider donating your time.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Many of you already know that the Eucharistic Congress will take place in Ireland in June. Pilgrims will be coming from all over the world for this historic occasion in Dublin.
For one week, 10th-17th June, thousands of pilgrims will attend Masses, talks and different events at the RDS venue. On the final day some 80,000 will gather in Croke Park for the Statio Orbis Mass.
To find out more about the Congress sign up for the Congress email newsletter and, if you are on Facebook, like the Congress page. There's some great material going up on it. You can also follow the Congress on Twitter.
I think it would be a good idea to spend some time this Lent reflecting on the mystery and challenge of the Eucharist. Why not find a good book on the Eucharist? Why not spend more time at prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? Why not attend Mass more regularly?
Even if you don't plan to come to Dublin for the Congress, why not join the spiritual preparations!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Today marks the beginning of Lent.
It's a chance for us to go in to the desert in some shape or form.
The advice that I give to anyone discerning a vocation is to make the most of the time between now and Easter to discern more actively your vocation in life. Pray a little bit more. Read sacred scripture more deeply. Attend Mass more often. Make an effort to find out God's will for your life.
As always, if you want to talk to someone about your vocation just drop me a line at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Pope's message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations has been published.
The theme is "Vocations - the Gift of the Love of God".
Vocations Sunday falls on Sunday, 29th April this year. The Pope's message is always published several weeks in advance so that we can study and reflect on it.
You can read it here.
I will post some comments and reactions in the coming days.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Today, 14th February, is of course St Valentine's Day.
But who was St Valentine? There are some conflicting accounts but we know he existed and his remains have been identified in the catacombs of Rome. This feastday has been celebrated for 15 centuries!
Three things you need to know:
1. He was a Catholic priest.
2. He was arrested for tending to the needs of the persecuted Christians of Rome.
3. He was executed for refusing to renounce the Catholic faith during the persecution of Roman Emperor Claudius.
For anyone who is discerning a vocation, then there is an obvious resonance here.
For a start St Valentine answered the call to serve by embracing a religious vocation. Secondly, he served those in need and risked his own life to do so. Finally, he refused to deny his faith and has since been remembered as an icon of love.
It's ironic that at a time when celibacy and chaste love are dismissed, the day on which the world celebrates love is in fact a day in honour of a priest who died for his faith!
Monday, February 13, 2012
As you know Brother Ray who was the original "Blogging Brother" has been working as chaplain at Presentation College Bray for the last few months. I’ve now moved into the role of vocations director for the Presentation Brothers in Ireland and England so that means that I will be the new “Blogging Brother”! I’ll try to post regularly, I promise! My hope is that the blog will give folk an idea of what the life and vocation of a religious brother involves. I'll also try to post some discernment advice and tips. Naturally, anyone who wants to get in touch with me can reach me at vocation@PresentationBrothers.org
Here’s some information about me to kick-off:
I was born in the parish of Allihies on the Beara peninsula in the county of Cork and in the diocese of Kerry. I went to primary school there before attending secondary school with the Presentation Brothers in Cork city.
I did my degree in Arts (history and Irish) in University College Cork and then went on to study spirituality in Dublin.
I always had an interest in working with young people and from an early age I felt a call to religious life. The Presentation Brothers whom I had met in school really inspired me and I felt that I had a vocation to religious brotherhood.
I’ve worked in several ministries since I made my final profession. Here are some of the highlights:
• The Give a Year to God programme in Cork city – a programme where men interested in discerning their vocation came to live for a year with the Brothers.
• Serving as a teacher and principal at Presentation College Bray and Presentation Brothers College, Cork.
• Working for twelve years in Ghana, including six years as the Province Leader for the West Africa Province.
In addition to working now as vocations director, I’m also a member of the Congregation Leadership Team (CLT). The team consists of five brothers, elected at our chapter in 2011, who have responsibility for steering our congregation for the next six years.
It’s not all work - I love to relax by hill walking and listening to classical music. And I’m an Arsenal fan too.
I really enjoy being a Presentation Brother. It is a rich and a rewarding life. Yes, it has its challenges too – but that’s true of every way of life.
I hope and pray that God will gift me with many more years of life as a Presentation Brother!