The Dominicans in Ireland Today
The main works or apostolates
Preaching, from the very name of the Order of Preachers, is the primary apostolate of the Dominican Order. Preaching can mean several things: oral preaching in churches, lectures on spiritual or religious matters, courses in study groups and so forth.
All our active priests are involved in preaching very frequently in the priories and from the priories in other churches. There are many special occasion sermons and lots of parish retreats and missions, retreats to priests and religious sisters, school retreats and special group retreats.
Retreats would play a very important part of the preaching ministry. These can be held in Retreat Houses and the Irish Province has two of these. One is in Tallaght, the St. Joseph Retreat House, and the other in Cork, the Montenotte Retreat House. These would hold a retreat for one, three, eight or ten days each. Many school retreats are given. They would also have lectures or courses. For example, during Lent The Priory Institute (to be mentioned further on) will conduct three lectures on marriage and four on the Bible during Lent.
Then we can include writings: books, articles in magazines, newspapers, etc. One priest, fr. Wilfrid Harrington published three books last year and has almost sixty books to his credit. He lives in Tallaght. Two other priests assigned here have written eight or ten books each. Another has published dozens of Official Documents that were written by the Holy Father or one of his committees in Rome. A priest here in Tallaght produces a monthly free newspaper called “Alive” with a circulation of more than a quarter of a million copies. Three Irish Dominicans ran a weekly twenty–page Catholic newspaper for more than thirty years in Trinidad and Tobago and for another twenty or thirty years one managed a publishing house. One priest works with “Concern” and writes daily in various newspapers.
The Irish Province uses the internet. There are about thirty web pages.
Dominican Publications publishes four Catholic periodicals: Doctrine and Life, Spirituality, Religious Life Review and Scripture in Church. This is in addition to the many books and pamphlets they prduce.
Study plays an important, indeed essential, part of preaching and this is emphasised. Each individual is formed to be a life–long student, particularly of scripture studies, theology and other aspects of the Catholic faith. St. Saviour’s Priory, Dublin, is the House of Studies; the novitiate is in St. Mary’s Priory, Cork. San Clemente, Rome, is a Priory where students and priests reside while attending various Roman Universities, Where there are students there must be professors and we have eighteen professors between Rome and Dublin, excluding those who are retired.
There is a large secondary school in Newbridge, Co. Kildare and another in Trinidad in each of which priests teach.
The Priory Institute in Tallaght Priory runs courses to afford lay people the opportunity to acquire theology degrees: BA (Honours), BA (Ordinary), Diplomas in Scripture, Theology and Philosophy. The laity come together on certain weekends and follow the curriculum by correspondence.
Lectio Divina is available in a few Priories, the main one being Limerick.
Other activities worth mentioning are the St. Martin de Porres Apostolate. This produces a monthly magazine that has a circulation of over 30,000 copies. It also makes available information about popular St. Martin who was a Dominican cooperative brother. It runs a religious item shop, specialising in non–expensive items and publications.
There are missionaries in Trinidad & Tobago, India, Hong Kong, Australia, Norway and Uruguay.
The Dominican Family numbers thirty chapters of lay Dominicans.
The Rosary Apostolate spreads devotion to the Holy Rosary.
Knockadoon Camp in Co. Waterford is a holiday camp with a difference. From Jun e to September there are weekly courses in church music, theology, Irish,
St. Catherine’s Counselling Services in Tallaght Priory is a very busy place with several counsellors on duty at the same time. Hundreds of people are attended to monthly.
There are several parish priests and curates, hospital chaplains, school chaplains and course teachers, one army chaplain, prison chaplains, chaplains to Polish and Spanish laity living in Ireland, and the national chaplain to Youth 2000.
The majority of our priests look after the preaching and confessions, counselling and ministry to the sick in their homes, promoting the Rosary Confraternity and the Holy Name Society in the Priories in our houses throughout Ireland
Paschal Tiernan OP