Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blessings for 2012!

Wishing you and your loved ones every blessing for 2012!

For those discerning a vocation may the year to come be a time of decision and peace.
Feel free to contact me for an informal chat at

Friday, December 9, 2011

A bit of a change....

Hello everyone and, firstly, my apologies for not posting an update for some time.

In September I was asked to take on a new assignment - chaplain at Presentation College Bray. Needless to say, that is taking up most of my time now.

In the Presentation Brothers, we have always prioritised vocations ministry. We passionately believe that the Lord is calling men to be religious brothers today. We also feel that our congregation and its charism provides a valid and exciting way of living that call today. In order to do vocations ministry justice, I'm handing over the reigns to Br Anthony O'Sullivan. Br Anthony is based in Cork and will be free to travel around Ireland and England meeting men interested in furthering their discernment.

You can still follow my work by keeping an eye on our congregation website,, finding us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking out our YouTube channel -

Working as a vocations director in Ireland over the past three years has been interesting, to put it mildly. But I can honestly say that it's been among the most rewarding and blessed periods of my life.

Thanks to you all for reading the blog, for your comments and your prayers.

If you want to give me a farewell gift then please encourage a friend to consider the vocation of a Presentation Brother.

God reward you all!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Garden View

How does your garden grow?

Br Majella was busy with his camera lately and he took some nice shots of the garden of the Brothers House here in Dublin. Br Eunan gets the credit for keeping it neat and tidy.

You can see all the pics on our Facebook page

Saturday, September 17, 2011

12 Months Later

It's hard to think that a year has passed since those magical days when our Holy Father came to visit the faithful in Britain. I was there! Here are some highlights from Day One...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Come, follow me...

"Come, follow me..."

To conclude this little meditation on the Sunday readings of August 28th I want to focus on the Gospel that we heard that day. It was from St Matthew.

Christ outlines in very clear and startling terms what is demanded of his followers. And, as before, I'll let the words speak for themselves...

"If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.What then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life?"

Advice from St Paul

St Paul

I mentioned earlier in the week that last Sunday's Mass Readings were very rich with advice for a discerner.

Take a look at the Second Reading, from St Paul to the Romans. Again, it speaks for itself:

"Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do."

When discerners ask me how they can know the will of God, I often point them to this passage. St Paul's advice is to put on a "new mind". That new mind is in imitation of Christ. This is a big aid to those who are discerning. The more one lives the Christian life, the more the will of God should be easier to discern. And, of course, one cannot begin to think of religious life until one is already living the Christian life...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jeremiah on Vocations

The Prophet Jeremiah

As I listened to last Sunday's Mass readings and Gospel I wondered if they had been written especially for discerners!

The words speak for themselves. Take a look at the First Reading from the prophet Jeremiah which I think might be of help to anyone who is intimidated by the challenge of being a Christian in a hostile environment or who has been trying to put the idea of a vocation out of their heads...

"You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.

I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

World Youth Day success...

An aerial view of the 1.5 million who turned out for the closing Mass of World Youth Day in Madrid.

The 26th World Youth Day has come to an end. What a great success it turned out to be.

There are some lovely video clips of the ceremonies available via our Congregation homepage. Take a look here. If you have the time, take a look at some of Pope Benedict's addresses too. Always well worth reading.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World Youth Day begins

The 26th World Youth Day opens in Madrid this evening.

Many people will tell you that they heard more clearly the voice of Christ calling them to religious life during a World Youth Day.

Let us pray that God will bless the young people gathering in Madrid, their supervisors, the organisers and our Holy Father who will arrive on Thursday.

You can listen to the World Youth Day hymn, "Firm in the Faith", below....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vision 2012 Discernment Guide

The front cover of Vision 2012

I received in the post today Vision 2012 - the Discernment Guide published by the National Religious Vocations Conference (NRVC) in America. This publication comes out every year and is circulated across the USA and other countries. In this year's issues there is an article I wrote about my call to religious life. As I re-read it this morning, one line stood out:

"After two decades as a brother I can honestly say that this is a life of potential and promise, of excitement and adventure".

I would recommend any person discerning a vocation to get a copy and reflect on the stories of the contributors and their decision to answer the call to follow Christ. You can see the magazine here.

What is our vocation?

Mary's Assumption by Rubens

The past few days have been a reminder to me of what a true vocation is all about.

I attended the funeral mass of a husband and wife who died 48 hours apart. They were devoted to each other and their family for over 50 years - it was a true vocation. Their calling was to be a married couple. May they rest in peace.

We are all called to a vocation in life (be it married, religious/priesthood or single), but we must listen to the call of God and try to be true to it.

Vocation is a calling and we should answer this call just as the Virgin Mary did when the Angel appeared to her and told her that she would be the Mother of Jesus. How many of us listen with an open mind, an open heart and an open will to this call and follow Mary's example?

I will celebrate 24 years in religious life on the 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption, and I want to thank God and His Blessed Mother for giving me the strength and courage to continue with my vocation.

Our Lady of the Presentation, pray for us.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Professions in Dublin!

Br Cletus kneels as he makes his first profession of vows

We had a great celebration in Dublin recently when three young men made their First Profession at the end of our Congregation Chapter at the Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre in Swords.

Br Andrew Saul (Our Lady of the Americas Province), Br Cletus Gubil (West Africa Province) and Br Philip Tengan (West Africa Province) had completed their novitiate and were ready to make a one year commitment to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Needless to say it was a joyful occasion and it was wonderful to see these three young men take the next step on their vocation journey.

You can see some photos from the event on our congregation website

Friday, July 1, 2011

A time to pause...

I haven't been posting very much lately.

My father went to his Eternal Reward recently. After the initial shock and deep sadness at losing a parent there has been plenty of work at home over the last few weeks.

I ask you to keep me in the prayers and pray for the happy repose of my dad, Raymond.

Talk soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

InVocation 2011

This weekend hundreds of young adults will gather at Oscott College in Birmingham for the second annual InVocation discernment festival.

Our Communications Director, Andrew O'Connell, will be speaking there.

Let's keep all the young people who attend in our prayers. Let's pray that the experiences and prayers of the weekend will make their path clearer and their decision easier.

You can read all about it on the official website.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who are you becoming...?

This clip portrays pretty well what many discerners experience as they struggle to figure out what it is that God is calling them to do with their lives.
I'll return to it again over the next few days but for now just take a look...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May - the month of Mary...

The month of May has traditionally been a time of special devotion to the Mother of God. We, Presentation Brothers, are named after the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

Here is a beautiful hymn to Mary that I came across and thought I'd share with you on this the last day of Mary's month.

Let's seek her intercession for all those who are discerning their vocation. Let today's young men and women echo her words, "Be it done unto me according to thy Word".

Monday, May 16, 2011

World Day of Prayer for Vocations - Supporting Discerners

Come, Follow Me...

The theme for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations which took place yesterday was fostering vocations in the local Church.

There is a challenge there for all of us to make sure that we are supporting and encouraging those who feel called to religious life.

I'll let the words of the Pope speak for themselves on the matter:

"Particularly in these times, when the voice of the Lord seems to be drowned out by “other voices” and his invitation to follow him by the gift of one’s own life may seem too difficult, every Christian community, evItalicery member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations. It is important to encourage and support those who show clear signs of a call to priestly life and religious consecration, and to enable them to feel the warmth of the whole community as they respond “yes” to God and the Church."

-Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 2011.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

World Day of Prayer for Vocations - Practical Advice

Come, Follow Me...

Following Christ has always been challenging.

Pope Benedict, in his message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, offers the following advice:

"It is no less challenging to follow Christ today. It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his."

What does this mean in practical terms for the one who is discerning a vocation to religious life? Well, it means making an effort to attend Mass as often as possible, ideally daily.
It means setting aside time to read, meditate and pray with Scripture .
It means time in silent prayer trying to discern the will of the Father.
All of this is not easy.

That’s why it’s important to have someone to accompany you on the journey. That’s why I’m happy to meet any man who is interested in religious life. The first meeting is over coffee and is very informal.

Just contact me at

Friday, May 13, 2011

World Day of Prayer for Vocations - Prayer

" Come, follow me..."

This Sunday, May 15th, is the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Pope Benedict's message to mark the Day of Prayer contains some good advice for those discerning a vocation and for the wider Christian community.

Over the next few days I'll post some thoughts here arising from the Pope's letter.

1. The importance of prayer.

The Pope notes that Christ spent a night in prayer before he called the first disciples by the Sea of Galilee. He says that Our Lord spent this time in "interior detachment from mundane concerns".

It's difficult to make any decision in life if you are surrounded by noise and distraction. Indeed, it can be easy to put off making a decision in these circumstances.

For this reason, every few months, I organise "Time Out" vocations weekends for men who would like to leave aside their "mundane concerns" for a few days and reflect deeply on what God might be calling them to do with their lives. If you'd like information on the next one, shoot me an email at

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blessed Edmund Mass

The sanctuary in St Joseph's Parish Church in Glasthule

There was a great turnout for the annual Blessed Edmund Rice Mass in St Joseph's Parish Church in Glasthule last week.

Pastor Emeritus, Fr Brian O'Sullivan was the Celebrant at the Mass which also included a blessing with a first-class relic of Blessed Edmund Rice.

Afterwards, the doors of the Brothers' House were thrown open to welcome the congregation for light refreshments.

Some of the volunteers who prepared the refreshments

Yours truly during the Mass

Some members of the Family Mass Group

Friends and Associates of the Brothers

Brother Majella (left) presents the relic of Blessed Edmund for Veneration

Glasthule's Senior Choir during the Mass

Some of the large attendance in the Brothers' house afterwards

Enjoying the refreshments afterwards

Deep in conversation...

Catching up in the Brothers' house after Mass

More of the large attendance

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Feast Day!

Greetings to all! Today, 5th May, is the feast of Blessed Edmund Rice, our Founder. I want to wish you all every blessing on this special day.

Edmund was a man with a vision for his time but it is also for our time. Our values and norms are often focused on ourselves and not on those on the margins. We must be willing to put Christ back in our lives and follow both Him and Edmund so that we can be a beacon of light to the world around us- to our communities, our parishes, our families and our society.

Let us focus today on the man called Blessed Edmund and see what we can do in the 21st century that would inspire more men to join us and continue the mission of Blessed Edmund.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

A brief reflection on the joy of Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Reflection for Good Friday

Cardinal Justin Rigali offers a brief reflection on Good Friday...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy overview

A nice, short overview of Holy Week...Have a look.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Preparing for Holy Week

This Sunday is Palm Sunday...
Lent is about to move into its most intense phase.

Holy Week can be a very spiritually fruitful period for someone discerning a religious vocation.

I encourage you to make plans now to follow the different ceremonies and to set time aside for private prayer and reflection.

Unite yourself with Christ in the days ahead.

We begin in a few days time with Palm Sunday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Brother's Work is Never Done...

Doing a job I never did before...
The Presentation Brothers here in Dublin are very involved in our local parish, St Joseph's Glasthule.

Br Majella helps out in the sacristy and I assist at weekends with the family mass group. All of the Brothers in our community attend mass daily in the church.
At the moment, I'm helping out with preparations for a little party scheduled for the end of Lent for the children of the parish. Today that involved painting strips of paper onto balloons...don't ask...
All I know is that these are the very small ways that as a Brother I help other people. Sometimes trivial tasks like these slow us down a little and help us to reflect on the idea of service- of giving our time for others in small ways.
Giving our time to others in small ways is a big part of being a Brother.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent begins...

Take a look at this video with a reflection for the beginning of Lent.

It's hard to believe that Lent is here again. It's late this year. We almost got used of a springtime without fasting and prayer.

The Church here in Glasthule was packed this morning as people attended Mass to receive their ashes.

"Repent and believe the Good News" - there's a challenge for all of us.

I'm not sure yet what my own Lenten resolution will be. But I think it will involve a renewed focus on prayer. Life is just so busy nowadays that time and space for prayer can too easily be forgotten.

Speaking of prayer- please keep in mind a few men I am in touch with who are currently at the early stage of discerning a religious vocation.

And don't forget to pray for those of us who journey with them.

Happy Lent!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vocations Information Days

Have you been thinking about a religious vocation?

Do you have 101 questions to ask?

We, the Presentation Brothers, are holding an Information Day for men aged 18-40 in Dublin on Saturday 5th March 2011 and in Cork on Saturday 12th March 2011. It's an opportunity to meet a Brother and ask questions about what is involved in becoming a member of a religious order.

The Information day begins at 11am and finishes after lunch at about 2.30pm. The event is free of charge and is without obligation.

A free Vocations Information Pack will also be given to those who attend.

Most of the men I meet in my role as vocations director have been thinking about a religious vocation for some time but often the information they need is not readily available. That is the purpose of this day- to provide some advice and support to any man who would like to do something worthwhile with his life and has considered a religious vocation.

For full information, please contact me, Brother Ray Dwyer, at 01-2300824 or email

Don't forget to follow the Presentation Brothers on Facebook.

Monday, February 7, 2011

F.I.T in Church!

Members of the F.I.T group at a recent meeting.
What supports exist for men and women who are in formation with a religious congregation?

A group of religious women and men have decided to provide that support themselves and have been meeting regularly here in Dublin for the past while.

The group meets to share their experiences, their hopes, struggles and enthusiasm as they journey through their formation process.

Their new blog, Formation, Information, Transformation (F.I.T in Church) contains an impressively worded mission statement:

"Motivated by faith in Christ and the attractiveness of His call we journey in solidarity with each other. For the people of our time this is a radical counter-cultural witness moving from self-centeredness to self-giving, and from self-gratification to self-emptying. Young people are as generous today as in the past in giving their lives to God in the service of others. This life consists not only in a total dedication to prayer but also to an active service of their fellow men and women. Grounded in Christ our self-giving becomes more than a humanitarian outreach, but rather a sharing in the redemptive work of Christ the Redeemer."

Keep an eye on their blog!
F.I.T in Church!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Graduation in Hull

After the graduation in Hull

I'm just back from a few days in England. I graduated with a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Hull. For the past few years I've been studying part time for this degree and needless to say I'm delighted to have graduated. While the degree is awarded by Hull University, my lectures took place at Presentation Brothers, Mardyke House in Cork city and were run by CLEO.

CLEO stands for Christian Leadership in Education Office and was founded by Presentation Brother, Br. Matthew Feheney. Its courses have been attended by dozens of teachers from all over the Munster region over the years.
Even though my recent studies have been in the area of education my original training was in social care. It's an example of how life as a Brother takes many different twists and turns!

If the life of the Presentation Brothers interests you, just get in touch -

Monday, January 17, 2011

Still time for resolutions...

Taking down the tree in Glasthule parish church...

I was taking down the Christmas tree in St Joseph's Parish Church here in Glasthule recently and it made me cast my mind back to the day it went up last December. Christmas always seems to fly past.

Now, here we are well into a New Year. I suspect many people who made New Year Resolutions are already probably starting to falter!

I've always thought that it's safer to make your resolution after you've given yourself a chance to settle into the New Year!

On that note, maybe now's the time for you to consider thinking more deeply about your vocation in life.

What is it that you think God might be calling you to do with your gifts and talents?

What good could you do in serving God and other people?

Big questions.

Why not resolve to giving yourself some time to considering these in the next few weeks and months. As always, if I can be of any help, feel free to get in touch at

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

A Happy and Blessed New Year to you all!

This is the time of year for a fresh start- for New Year Resolutions. If you've been thinking about a vocation to religious life why not make a determined effort to explore your vocation seriously in the weeks ahead. If you would like any discernment advice just get in touch at