Solemn Profession bro. Philip Mulryne OP

The Irish Province celebrates the Solemn Profession of Br. Philip Mulryne OP. Solemn profession is  the final step in becoming fully a Dominican. The vow of obedience is made until death, unlike the vow of simple profession which is made for a specific period of time.

Br. Philip will continue his studies leading to his ordination to the diaconate and eventually, with the help of God and his brothers, to his ordination as a priest. Please pray for Br. Philip and Brs Jesse and Matthew who renewed their simple vows today.

Solemn Profession of Br. Philip Mulryne O.P.

On Sunday 11th September, Br. Philip Mulryne O.P. will make Solemn Profession “until death” in the Dominican Order. The profession will be made during Mass in St. Saviour’s Church, Dominick Street, Dublin, at 11.30 a.m. Fr. Gregory Carroll O.P., Provincial, will celebrate the Mass.

Thanks be to God.

Election of Fr. Gregory Carroll OP as Prior Provincial

The brethren of the Irish Province are delighted to announce the election of Fr. Gregory Carroll OP as Prior Provincial.

Having courageously led the province for the past four years, Fr. Gregory has been re-elected by his brothers to serve for a second term. Since being given the responsibility of leading the Province at a difficult time in its history, Fr. Gregory has already overseen an initial reorganisation of the province so that collectively, Irish Dominicans will be better able to meet the challenges of preaching the Gospel in the current climate.

His brothers wish him well and assure him of their prayers as he continues to lead the province to a bright and glorious future.

Fr Gregory Carroll, who was elected to a second four-year term as Prior Provincial of the Irish Dominicans on Friday, 2nd September, is the eldest of five children (two boys and three girls). Born in 1948, he received his schooling in his native Naas, Co. Kildare, first in the Convent of Mercy, and then the CBS. In his teen-age years he was active in the Order of Malta in Naas and in the junior St Vincent de Paul Society.

Joining the Dominican Order 50 years ago, he made profession of first vows in 1967 and was ordained priest in 1973, serving, first, in St Mary’s, Cork. He has been novice master for the Dominicans in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, and student master in Dublin. He also served as provincial bursar and most recently he was prior of St Saviour’s Priory, Dublin, the house of formation of the Irish Dominicans, where he was also parish priest.

Since the 1970s, Fr Gregory has worked with Worldwide Marriage Encounter, holding leadership roles at one time, and now presenting weekends when he is available, contributing also to Engaged Encounter weekends.


Dominican Chapter and Assembly 2016

The Provincial Chapter began on Monday 29th August with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by the prior of the Tallaght priory in which the Chapter is being held, fr Donal Roche OP.  fr Paul Lawlor OP, ministering in Teheran  in the sermon, drew on his experience of witness within an Islamic culture, and to the study of archaeology opening our minds to how  the Church became incarnate in different cultures. Archaeology also teaches the need to be careful in interpreting evidence and how ‘we learn that we have an incredible capacity to fool ourselves into thinking that things are what we wish them to be. Over and over again, the curved wall of a bathhouse was interpreted as the apse of a church and a bath was seen as a baptistery…  Very often it is non-believers who, while they may have their own prejudices, confront our presuppositions and lead us to a deeper understanding of the situation before us.’ In his conclusion he recognized ‘that at present there seem to be different emphases about how to be a Dominican but in the tradition of tolerance we are called to dialogue, to friendship and respect; never to be dismissive of the other.  We seek to balance our response to the needs we see around us while striving for a continuity in the way of life, to listen to each other in our desire to live the life inspired by our father St Dominic.’

The Assembly spent Monday afternoon on an open forum discussing the report of the pre-chapter commission, ‘Community and Preaching: Our Dominican Mission and Identity in Ireland today’. After Vespers, the brothers assembled for a festive dinner in the refectory, a thoroughly enjoyable occasion beautifully catered by the Tallaght staff.

Tuesday 30 August the morning and early afternoon were spent discussing the pre-chapter reports on ‘Vocations and Formation’, ‘Studies and the Province’s Intellectual Mission’, ‘Finance’, turning, after lunch, to ‘Governance and Accountability’. The later afternoon brought one of the high points of the Chapter so far, inspiring addresses by leaders within the Dominican Family: Sister Máiréad Mullen, Prioress of Siena Monastery, Drogheda, Sister Martina Phelan, Prioress of the Mission Area of Ireland of the Cabra Sisters; and Mrs Patricia Kelly, President of the Lay Dominicans of Ireland. All three speakers were grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Assembly as well as for the history of cooperation within the Dominican Family.

Sister Máiréad reminded us of how in the Dominican Family each part has its own function. She quoted the blessing of the veil at the solemn profession of a Dominican nun, in which she is described as ‘a house of prayer and a temple of intercession’. At the very heart of Dominic’s life was a profound contemplative love of God, which made him open to sharing the word. In response to a question of what to say to a young woman to interest her in entering a Dominican monastery, she said that the nun must fall in love with Jesus so that nothing else will satisfy except to adore, love and praise him.

For Sister Martina, shared with us the way the sisters have faced their challenge of moving away from school campuses run entirely by the Congregation to smaller ministries. She reminded us that changes in society bring us closer to the environment in which the Order first appeared. The first generation of Dominicans moved away from structures to walk with the people. Today’s task is a contemplative engagement with the world and with the word, sustained by the four pillars: community, prayer, mission and study. Reflecting on the broadness and flexibility of the Dominican charism, she quoted the Master of the Order telling us to go beyond the boundaries of our own safety. She informed us that the Nashville sisters, now in Limerick, will attend the next Dominican Family event. And when asked what she would say to a young woman about joining the Order, she told of her own vocation. While working in Dublin, she visited a friend in Kilkenny and at the Black Abbey she met one of the friars and told him of a sense of searching. Francis McNamara OP advised her to visit Cabra, and when she did so she had an immediate sense of belonging.

Patricia Kelly gave a moving and detailed account of events organised by the Lay Dominicans to celebrate the Jubilee and of how partnership with other parts of the Family made those events successful. She pleaded for a re-founding of the Dominican Youth Movement in Ireland, and that we revive the joint vocations committee.

After Vespers and supper, the Assembly resumed with an open forum on ‘Our Hopes for This Provincial Chapter’. Many speakers appealed for clear decisions, and for re-energising our commitment to preaching. To sustain that preaching we need both the contemplative spirit so beautifully articulated by Sister Máiréad and a detailed understanding of contemporary culture. A number of speakers stressed the value of involvement in schools as a means of evangelising present-day culture. We need also to develop our capacity to evaluate what we do. The Assembly ended with Compline

Newtownards, Castlewellan and Carlingford

Led by Fr. Noel Mc Keown, O.P, assisted by Mr. Anthony Russell, teacher, lecturer, writer and historian, a bus load of interested people left the Dominican church in Newry on Sunday, June 12, at 9.00 a.m., heading for Newtownards, County Down. En route, information was given on places of interest over the bus intercom.

We arrived at the former Dominican Priory in Newtownards at about 10.30. Waiting to meet us was Mr. Martin Keery of the N.I. Department of the Environment who gave an excellent history of the site which began in 1244. The walls of the original church are still standing along with a side isle and bell tower which were added later. The tower has recently been renovated and full attention is being given to maintain the site as best as possible. We gathered from Mr. Keery that the local Anglican parish hold a service in the building every year on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Columba after whom the priory is named. Contact has been made with our Anglican friends and a warm welcome receved for the next service there.

The bus driver had ascertained on the internet that public toilets were available at nearby Comber, so we headed off in that direction where we found toilets in excellent condition with an attendant at hand.

Time to think of food !

Each person on the bus was given a copy of the lunch menu, orders were taken and phoned into Castlewellan. That was our next port of call, half way between Comber and Newry. Lunch was ready when we arrived at about 1.00 p.m. Everyone enjoyed the meal and it was all set for part two of the journey. The next stop was only a mile or so down the road! Retreating Irish forces had set fire to the priory in Newtownards to prevent it falling into the hands of advancing English troops. The brethren had to flee and ended up in a little whitewashed cottage on the main road from Castlewellan into Newry.

A photo of this cottage is in the possession the owner of a bungalow built on the site of the cottage. The latter was removed to make way for the new building.

There were two Mass rocks in the vicinity which would have been used by the brethren. Only one has survived.

From there, we hit the trail for Carlingford in County Louth. The Office of Public works of the Irish Republic has restored this 14th century foundation. Members the public can walk straight in. It is in very good condition. Given Irish weather and the fact that the church has no roof or glass in the windows, it was deemed advisable to say Mass in the nearby parish church. We were welcomed by the parish priest, Fr, Brian McRaois. Our visit to Carlingford also included a tour of the local heritage centre which had a feature on the priory.

St.Dominic’s Day

Bishop Kevin Doran, of Elphin, joined the Dominican Community of Holy Cross, Sligo, in celebrating St.Dominic’s Day. As the Order celebrates its 800th anniversary, Bishop Kevin took the opportunity to highlight the contribution of the Dominicans to the Sligo area down through the years and expressed his thanks to the Order for their generousity in the Friars’ past and present contribution to the life of the Diocese of Elphin.

After the Mass, 108 of those involved in the life of the Friary, as well as members of the local clergy and religious congregations, joined the Community in the Sligo Park Hotel for lunch.

Urlaur Pattern Day

On August 4th, the traditional Feast Day of St.Dominic, the people of the Parish of Kilmovee (Achonary Diocese) in Co.Mayo, gathered at the old Dominican Church (known as the ‘Abbey’) on the shores of Lake Urlaur to celebrate their Pattern Day, which has being running since 1915.

To mark the 800th Jubilee of the Order, Fr.Vincent Sherlock PP invited the Dominicans of Sligo to attend this Mass to commemorate the area’s long time connection to the Friars. Present at the Mass was the great-grand niece of the last Prior of Urlaur, Fr.Sharkey OP, who is buried in the grounds of the Abbey.

Fr.Joe Bulman OP joined with Fr. Sherlock PP, Fr.John Maloney CC and Fr.Dominic Towey for the concelebrated Mass. ‘Pattern Day’ in Urlaur starts with the concelebrated Mass in the Abbey and then the rest of the day is filled with music, sports, novelty events, food and concludes with the Parish dance. Though sometimes overcast, the day did remain dry and was a great event.

Arrival of our Nashville Sisters

On Friday 19th August our Dominican sisters of Saint Cecilia were welcomed at Shannon airport by Sister Eileen Lenihan R.S.J., vicar for religious for the diocese of Limerick and Fr Frank Downes O.P. On arrival at the priory of Saint Saviour’s, Glentworth Street they were welcomed by Bishop Brendan Leahy D.D., bishop of Limerick.

We gathered in the community oratory to give thanks for the safe arrival of the sisters and then proceeded to the icon of Saint Dominic in the main hallway where we had a service of prayer beginning with the Regina Coeli followed Isaiah 43:1- 7. Bishop Brendan blessed the keys of the priory and in his presence and that of Sister Eileen and the sisters Fr Frank presented the keys to Sister Mara Grace Gore O.P. (mission superior). We prayed the Lord’s prayer and concluded with the O Lumen.

We gathered in the community refectory for a light breakfast filled with good humour and fun despite over two hours delay at Boston airport before departure for Shannon.
Fr Frank showed the sisters around the priory. He celebrated the 1pm Mass in the church at which the sisters were graciously welcomed by Fr Richard Keane (administrator pro tem) and the congregation.

Frank Downes O.P.


Photograph L to R:
Sister Eileen Lenihan R.S.J., ( vicar for religious for the diocese of Limerick); Fr Francis Downes O.P., (Prior); Sister Mara Grace Gore O.P., (mission superior); Sister Beatrice O.P., Bishop Brendan Leahy D.D., Sister Rose Miriam O.P., Sister Caitriona O.P.

Sligo “Jubilee Commemoration Day”

On 2nd July, the Dominican Laity in Sligo hosted a commemoration day in hour of the 800th anniversary of the Foundation of the Order.

Members from the Chapters in Carlow, Kilkenny, Galway, Cork, Dublin and Tralee attended. The day began with light refreshments followed by Morning Prayer. The rest of the day was spent visiting the historical Dominican Foundations in Sligo – the Abbey – where the group received an informative and extremely interesting guided tour. Then onto Pound Street and from there to the “Old Church” on High Street. The group also went to Tobernalt Holy Well where Mass had been celebrated during the Penal Days. Throughout the day the group accompanied by the local Dominican Friars.
The day concluded at 5.00pm with concelebrated Mass in the ‘Friary Church’.

Sincere thanks is due to Joan Geraghty (President, Sligo Chapter) who organised the day.

Special pilgrimage to celebrate the 800th Jubilee

The communities of Portumna, Lorrha and Boula were visited on Saturday 6 August by a large group of Dominican followers from the Claddagh in Galway on a special pilgrimage to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Dominican Order. For the first time in nearly three hundred years a Dominican friar, Fr Donal Sweeney prior of the Claddagh Community, stood in the ruins of Portumna priory, a site associated with the Dominican Order since 1414.

A large crowd from each community gathered at all of the three sites to greet the group of pilgrims from Galway and to take part in the historic celebrations.

Sr Padraidin O.P. led the large gathering at Portumna Abbey in prayer and song and also spoke about the life of St Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, who was born in Spain in 1170 and was canonized in 1234.

The group then headed to Lorrha Friary, built in 1269, where they were joined by a large number of local people.

The final stop of the day was in Boula where St Dominic’s Day Mass was celebrated in St Peter & Paul’s Church at 6pm by the Dominican Fathers for the first time in 117 years.

For this historic occasion, the large crowd gathered at Boula Hall from where they walked to the church symbolising the route used in bygone days. The church was full to capacity, people delighted to be part of this wonderful celebration. Fr Lawless welcomed everyone, including Galway city Mayor Noel Larkin who is from Boula and where he went to school. Mass was concelebrated by six priests led by Fr Donal Sweeney. The Choir, under the baton of Jarlath Keady added hugely to the occasion. Their solos and harmonies getting a huge round of applause from the congregation.

Following mass everyone gathered in Boula Hall where the committee, under the chairmanship of Patrick Donohue, and the community at large provided refreshments and food. It was a great social occasion and a testament to the strength of the local community.

The Dominican Fathers departed their priory in Portumna Abbey in the early 18thcentury to Boula, where they hoped to be free from observation. The place of retreat of the fugitive priests was soon discovered and a warrant issued for their arrest.

In 1830 the present Boula Church was built by Fr Taaffe, O.P. near the site of a small thatched Dominican Chapel which stood at the rear of the present National School.

In the spring of 1899 an order was made to the Provincial Dominican Council to close the smaller houses of the Order in Ireland, Boula was on the list. The sad news was received with consternation by the community. The third Sunday of April 1899, the Holy Sacrifice was offered in Boula for the last time by a Dominican. On the following morning amid scenes of profound sorrow the three Dominican Friars left Boula for St Xaviour’s Priory, Dublin.

Before their departure, the Dominicans presented to the Parish of Portumna their lovely Gothic church, free of all debt. And so ended the ministry of the Friars of Portumna, bringing to a close almost 500 years of religious ministry in Portumna. This exciting reunion 117 years later rekindled that link.