Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

Dear Readers,
Just a few words to wish you and your families a happy and peaceful Christmas.
Have a good rest over the next few days and may you experience something of the joy of this season.
I will remember in prayer all of you are discerning your vocation in life.
Best wishes,
Br Ray.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Come, Lord Jesus

This is a special time of year. It's about waiting and preparing. Advent demands patience. It is natural that we would wish the celebration of Christmas to come quickly but there is great wisdom in the idea of a period of repentance and readying.

There is a parallel here with the discernment of a vocation. I sometimes meet men who would like to enter religious life "in the morning". However, it can never be that simple. A process of slow and careful discernment is essential.

If you've ever considered religious life why not make it an Advent Resolution to begin discerning. Just get in touch with me at

"In this Advent Season we shall be granted once again to experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and who cared for us to the point of deigning to become a man.

This great and fascinating mystery of the God-with-us, indeed, of the God who becomes one of us, is what we shall celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas."
Pope Benedict XVI, First Vespers of Advent 2010.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pres Day Mass in Glasthule

Some of the turnout for Mass in Glasthule last night.

A large crowd turned out for Mass last night in St Joseph's Parish Centre in Glasthule to mark the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fr Denis Kennedy, CSSp, celebrated the Mass with Fr Billy Farrell and Fr Brian O'Sullivan. He reminded the congregation about the humility of Mary, Mother of God and that this ought to be a model for us all.

Here are some photos from the event...

Father Kennedy, Farrell and O'Sullivan celebrate Mass.

Brother Joseph Mukasa with Lisa Murphy, Presentation Associate

Trish Madden at St Joseph's Parish Centre

Our great helpers take a break - Ann, Hilliary and Anne.

Liam (left) and Peter enjoying a cup of tea afterwards

Some of the crowd in the Pastoral Centre after Mass

Ellen Moiselle, Presentation Associate, helps out in the kitchen

Br Joseph Mukasa (left) with Br Colm Griffey, CFC.

Karl Goulding reads a Prayer of the Faithful

Sheila McLoughlin reads a Prayer of the Faithful

Some of the congregation at Mass on Monday evening in Glasthule

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Pres Day!

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

Today, November 21st, is the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. It's a day when we Presentation Brothers give thanks to God for the gift of our vocation as Presentation Brothers.
It's a special day in our community here in Glasthule as we come together to pray and to celebrate.
Tomorrow night we will have a special Mass in the parish so that we can share our joy with our neighbours and friends.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vocations Ireland AGM

At the Vocations Ireland stand in the RDS recently

I am a member of the National Executive of Vocations Ireland. We had our AGM last weekend in Dublin. It was one of the biggest turnouts in recent years perhaps reflecting a renewed enthusiasm for vocations promotion.
Vocations Ireland is the umbrella organisation for the vocations directors for Ireland's religious congregations. The Presentation Brothers is a member of Vocations Ireland. Check out the Vocations Ireland website for more information.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In November we remember...

The month of November is that time of the year when we call to mind in prayer our beloved dead. It's also a time when we remember the example of the saints. We are all called to be saints. That's an exciting challenge!

It's a custom in Ireland to abstain from alcohol and/or cigarettes during the month of November also. Fasting and sacrifice help us to focus our mind on prayer. I've given up cigarettes. And, yes, it's tough!

As we spend this month recalling the example of people of faith who went before us, spare a thought for your future too.

Would life as a religious help you to be the saint that you are called to be?

Don't forget that we have a vocations weekend in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th November 2010. For more information, send me an e-mail or visit

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time Out!

Does the idea of a religious vocation interest you?

Have you ever thought of life as a religious brother?

I'm organising a weekend of reflection and information in Dublin for men who would like to take some 'Time Out' and spend some time praying and talking about these questions.

For full information take a look at our information page on the Congregation Website.

If you have any questions or would like to reserve a place, just send me an email at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Honouring Toddy O'Sullivan

With the Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Mick O'Connell and Mr Toddy O'Sullivan.

I was home in Cork last Friday night for a reception to honour former Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Toddy O'Sullivan.

It was a great Cork occasion as family, friends and colleagues of Toddy gathered with the Brothers at Mount St Joseph.

Br Andrew Hickey, my predecessor as Vocations Director, entertains the gathering.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ploughing Ahead...

With some of the young folk that visited our tent in Athy

Hard to think that a year has passed since I attended the National Ploughing Championship in Athy in County Kildare. That was my first public event after my appointment as vocations director.

I was back again this year at the Vocations Ireland tent to promote religious vocations. Tens of thousands of people attended the Championship again this year and it was wonderful to meet so many supportive people.

Roll on next year!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Back from England and down to earth...

The tricolour flies high over our group in Hyde Park

I've just returned from a break in England which coincided with the Papal Visit. I went to see the Holy Father in Hyde Park along with 85,000 others! It was an incredible occasion. We waited for almost four hours before he arrived but everyone was good humoured and patient.

During the vigil itself, the atmosphere of prayer was remarkable. During Benediction, you could hear a pin drop. It was a very moving liturgy.

Pope Benedict had some words of support for young people including an appeal for vocations:

"Dear young friends: only Jesus knows what “definite service” he has in mind for you. Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: even now his heart is speaking to your heart. Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life. He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel. He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving him in the least of our brothers and sisters. "

The Pope's visit is now widely regarded as a huge success. You can see video of the the Hyde Park Vigil on the wonderful website

With David in Hyde Park

Spot the Irish...with Andrew in Hyde Park

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Vocations in Ghana!

The Harvest is Rich! Brothers Solomon, David and Valerius at work preparing for the new postulants in Navrongo in Ghana.

Our Congregation is growing! There are plenty of vocations to the Presentation Brothers in Ghana and Nigeria. Br Valerius Sandow has reported some good news on the vocations front from Navrongo in northern Ghana this week.

Seven new postulants will arrive in the community in the coming weeks and six of our existing postulants are to proceed to novitiate.

It's another sign that God continues to call!

If you live in England or Ireland I would be happy to supply you with more information about our lives as Presentation Brothers. Contact me at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Festival in Clonmacnois

Some of the huge turnout in Clonmacnois in the main marquee

I'm back in Dublin again after a super few days at the Youth 2000 Summer Festival at Clonmacnois.

The event was run brilliantly and was attended by over 1,200 young people. It was great to see that well over half were there for the first time.

At the final Mass on Sunday, those who were thinking of a religious vocation were asked to stand. A great number stood up. Let's keep those young men and women in our prayers. If any of you are interested in a chat about life as a religious, feel free to give me a shout at
Here are some photos from the experience...

A view of the iconic round tower at Clonmacnois

I'm happy clappy...

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the main marquee

With Catriona after the Closing Mass

Young people gather for the healing service on Saturday night

Monday, August 9, 2010

England Prepares for the Pope

Pope Benedict XVI will visit the United Kingdom from Thursday 16th September to Sunday 19th September 2010.

I'm in Reading at the moment and will be back in Ireland at the end of the week for the Youth 2000 Youth Festival at Clonmacnois. While I've been here I've noticed that the parishes and the people are making preparations for the visit of our Holy Father in September.

The official website for the visit has plenty of material including the official programme for the Pope's tour which begins in Scotland on September 16th. The Pope will spend Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September in London and will bring the visit to a climax on Sunday 19th September in Birmingham.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gone to the Dogs...

With Kathleen and Kevin at Shelbourne Park
One of the signs of hope of recent years has been the increase in popularity of groups like Youth 2000. In August they will host their annual youth festival at Clonmacnois - beside the ruins of an ancient Irish monastery on the banks of the river Shannon.

They held a fundraiser at Shelbourne Park Greyhound Track in Dublin recently. As they say, "a great night was had by all"!

Taking tips from the Dominicans! With Fr John Harris (left) and Fr Brian McEvitt (right).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Religion Making a Comeback?

With Mr David Quinn, Director of the Iona Institute, after the talk.

As a vocations director, it's important for me to keep up to speed on any new research which helps me to understand the culture and society better. Recently, The Iona Institute for Religion and Society organised a public talk called "Why religion will make a comeback" here in Dublin. The speaker was Dr Eric Kaufmann, lecturer in politics and sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Popular wisdom proposes that the West will become more secular and liberal in the years ahead and that religion will be driven to extinction. However, his findings show that religion is far more robust than many secular thinkers ever predicted. The fact that religious believers have higher birth rates indicate that they will have a strong influence on the composition of Western populations in the decades ahead.

Dr Kaufmann is the author of the book, "Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?"

I bought a copy on the night. That was the easy part. Trying to find the time to read it is proving more difficult!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Invocation 2010

With some friends in the "Chill Out Tent"

I'm in England at the moment after spending a super weekend at the first ever national vocation discernment festival at Oscott College in Birmingham, Invocation 2010. As many as 400 people attended.

It was a very busy weekend with talks, workshops, presentations and, above all, prayer. I participated in the Questions and Answers workshop.

The large gathering in the main tent for a keynote presentation.

I wish more people had a chance to see so many young people discerning a religious vocation. It was very encouraging.

If you have ever thought of a religious vocation feel free to give me a shout at
With the Sisters of St Paul at our display.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rewarding Faithful Service

Even though I'm the vocations director for the Presentation Brothers I also have other jobs. One of these is to act as the Chairman of the Board of Management of Greenmount National School in Cork city.

This week I travelled to Cork to join in honouring Mrs Anna Herick, Deputy Principal, who is retiring.

The Presentation Brothers have traditionally been associated with education and that tradition continues today due to the commitment and professionalism of people like Anna.

Happy retirement Anna!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Knock 2010

I'm back in Dublin today after a super weekend at the Knock Summer Festival.

Several hundred young people from all over Ireland gathered for the festival which started on Friday evening with a presentation by our communications director, Andrew O'Connell.

A highlight for me was the chance to listen to and meet Sr Helen Prejan (left). You might remember her from the movie "Dead Man Walking".

It really was a great sign of hope for the future of the Church in Ireland.

All in all it was an amazing few days.
1. With friends from the Legion of Mary.
2. With Sr Eileen Linehan and Sr Maureen Condon of Vocations Ireland.
3. With some friends from Cork.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life after Lourdes...

I'm back at my desk again after an incredible week at Lourdes.
Like many pilgrims, I struggle to find the words to adequately describe the experience of the past few days.
There is an atmosphere of prayer at the shrine which I've experienced no where else.
It's also a place to go to if you need your faith in young people restored. There are hundreds of them there- helping others.
And it's a place where the sick are treated like VIPs.
Here are some pics from the week...

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Lourdes...

I'm not at my desk this week. I'm on pilgrimage in Lourdes with the Irish Pilgrimage Trust. A group of 35 have joined the IPT from St Joseph's Parish in Glasthule.

It's my first time there so I'm excited.

I promise to remember those of you who are discerning your vocation in life at the Grotto.

More on my return!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

At Prayer...

Prayer is a central part of my life as a brother. Each morning we spend some time in private prayer in the chapel in our house. Then we pray the Divine Office together as a community.

We also start the day with Mass. I often find that these couple of hours in the morning help me to get through the toughest parts of the day ahead.

We're very blessed to have the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel. It's wonderful to be able to pay a visit at different times throughout the day.
If the life of a religious brother interests you, feel free to get in touch by emailing me at