Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow...

Me giving Br Eunan a hand in our front garden
Every brother has his own pastime or hobby. Mine is sport- Gaelic Football and rugby. For Brother Eunan it's gardening. Every day when the weather is good enough you'll find him at work in the flower beds.
As you can see from the picture our garden isn't too pretty at this time of year. It looks bleak and barren. But the work that Brother Eunan does during these weeks will mean that when summer arrives the garden will look quite beautiful.
Nurturing your vocation is like that. Often, despite all our praying and reflecting, we can feel that there is no clear direction for our lives. The process can feel grey and fruitless.
Discerning a vocation takes patience and time- two things that are in short supply today.
If you're praying and reflecting about a vocation to religious life and feel like you're getting nowhere, just keep at it. The effort you're putting into it now will bear fruit in time.
Spring afterall is just around the corner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember that thou art dust...

Distributing ashes in St Joseph's, Glasthule on Ash Wednesday

What is it about Ash Wednesday? People flock to the church in huge numbers on this day every year to mark the beginning of Lent. Maybe it has more to do with marking themselves - with the ashes. Symbols still speak volumes.

Maybe it has to do with the honesty of the day. "Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return". Can't get more honest than that. You certainly won't get that message from our media which is obsessed with celebrity and beauty. All passing.

Our local church was packed for 10am Mass and later, when I went to the University Chapel at UCD, the story was the same. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin celebrated the 1.05pm Mass.

Distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday - just one of the jobs of a Presentation Brother!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

All in a day's work...

Installing a new printer in the community office in Dublin. Br Valerius gives me a hand.

I had great plans to do some work in the office this morning but when I sat down at the computer I noticed that the printer was on the blink. The cable pulling the cartridge had snapped.
It turns out it couldn't be repaired so a new one had to be bought. The whole experience took up the whole morning. So much for getting some work done!
But why am I telling you about my printer?
Here's why-
As a vocations director I meet regularly with men who want to talk about following a religious vocation.
After several meetings I often invite these men to spend some time in our community in Dublin to see what this life is like from the inside.
The men who come to these "live in" experiences often tell me that they are surprised to discover that we have to spend as much time as anyone else dealing with the nuisances of daily life- broken printers, leaking radiators, you name it...
You see there is sometimes an impression that religious life has none of the problems of ordinary life.
But religious life is no escape from the small stresses of ordinary living. This is no refuge from reality.

Being a Brother is an extraordinary vocation but it's important to remember that it is always lived in the midst of very ordinary, daily challenges!
If you're interested in talking about a religious vocation feel free to get in touch. Leave a comment or email me at prescall@eircom.net

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Loving Lourdes...

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at our house at Mount St Joseph in Cork city

February 11th is the Feastday of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Presentation Brothers have traditionally had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Our name, "Presentation" Brothers, is taken from the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. We celebrate that feast on November 21st each year.

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is also a day dedicated to prayer for the sick. So, let's remember our sick loved ones during these days and ask Mary, our Mother, to intercede for them.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

St Bernadette, pray for us!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Follow the Leader...

With Br Martin, our Congregation Leader, at Mount St Joseph in Cork

Last week I spent some time in Cork. One of the meetings I had was with our Congregation Leader, Br Martin Kenneally.
"What's a Congregation Leader?" I hear you say. The Congregation Leader, formerly known as the "Superior General" is the man who has the daunting task of leading the entire Congregation of the Presentation Brothers. The Congregation Leader has a Congregation Leadership Team (CLT) to assist him in this task.
You can read more information about our Leadership structure here.

He is elected by the Brothers at a General Chapter which takes place every six years. Our next Chapter is in the summer of 2011. A Chapter is a gathering of the Brothers and lay colleagues from all over the world. It's serious business. The plans for the coming six years are prayed about and decided on during the Chapter.

Our current Congregation Leader, Br Martin Kenneally, is a former vocations director and he has a great understanding of the challenges which we face. He also has great enthusiasm for promoting religious brotherhood. It's great to have someone to bounce ideas off. We're lucky to have him!