Pilgrimage to Lough Derg

Part of the biblical theology regarding the Jubilee year always involved the people in asking for mercy while acknowledging their sins. We in Ireland have a unique opportunity within the Order to make this aspect of the Jubilee very concrete. No other province has a place like Lough Derg. Therefore when arranging the Province’s year of the Jubilee of the Order, especially during this Extraordinary Year of Mercy for the Universal Church, we decided to have a Pilgrimage to Lough Derg.

This pilgrimage will follow the schedule as practiced in Lough Derg. We will gather on the blessed island on Monday 13 June and leave on Wednesday 15 June. We invite you to join us during these days of renewal in the spirit of the preaching of grace of Our Holy father St. Dominic in the midst of this year of mercy.

“Yet we too, sons and daughters of the Church, have sinned and have hindered the Bride of Christ from shining forth in all her beauty. Our sin has impeded the Spirit’s working in the hearts of many people. Our meagre faith has meant that many have lapsed into apathy and been driven away from a true encounter with Christ.

I ask that in this year of mercy the Church, strong in the holiness which she receives from her Lord, should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters. All have sinned and none can claim righteousness before God (cf. 1 Kgs 8:46). Let it be said once more without fear: “We have sinned” (Jer 3:25), but let us keep alive the certainty that “where sin increased, grace abounded even more” (Rom 5:20).” (Pope John Paul II)

Post Lough Derk

Jubilee celebration in Belfast

On the 1st of May the Dominican Family of Belfast celebrated with great joy the 800th Jubilee of the Order. Dominican Friars first arrived in the Diocese of Down and Connor in 1244 founding a convent at Newtownards, north of Belfast City. The Priory was destroyed during the persecutions of the 1600s and the friars fled for safety living in small houses of refuge in Castlewellan and Moneyscalp. In these places they ministered to the local people often celebrating the Holy Mass on Mass Rocks hidden deep in the countryside. The last friars left in the 1840s ending a long history in the diocese. In 1870 Bishop Dorian of Down and Connor invited the Dominican Sisters to the city of Belfast to open schools for girls and in time a teacher training college was founded. To this day, St. Dominic’s and Fortwilliam College are the leading schools for the education of girls in the city and the county.

Along with the arriving of the Dominican Sisters, fraternities of Lay Dominicans were founded and to this day Belfast has four thriving Lay Dominican Chapters, at the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Dominic’s Convent, Falls Road, Fortwilliam and St. Brigid’s Parish on the Malone Road.

The celebration of the Jubilee was organised by the members of the Lay Dominicans Chapters in Belfast City. The day began with Solemn Mass at the Convent Chapel in Fortwilliam. The Principle Celebrant and Preacher was Fr. John Walsh, O.P., Promoter for the Dominican Family in Ireland and the Mass was concelebrated by Dominican friars and local clergy. Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor presided in choir and spoke after the final prayer, thanking the Order and its many branches for its contribution to the faith and education in the city and diocese. Fortwilliam College Choir accompanied the Mass with beautiful singing, much to the pleasure of congregation.

After the Mass refreshments were served in the college and a talk was given on the role of the Lay Dominican in the modern world by Mr. Damien McDonnell, O.P., President of the Lay Dominican Chapter in Kilkenny.

Following the talk vespers was sung in the choir of the Convent Chapel.

This great celebration marked not only the joy of the Lay Dominicans fraternities but also the enduring presence of the Order in the Diocese from 1244 to the present time.

Beholding the ‘gentle rain’ of God’s Mercy

On Thursday 21 April Fr. Michael Dunleavy, OP gave a lecture entitled “Beholding the ‘gentle rain’ of God’s Mercy: The Beauty of Divine Mercy envisioned by Fra Angelico. Fr. Michael is at present finishing his doctoral dissertation for the Angelicum on the life and theological insights in the works of Fra. Angelico. He lives with the brethren of the Roman Province in the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole.

The afternoon was arranged as part of the Province’s celebration of the Jubilee of the Order and the Jubilee of Mercy. The presentation focused on the wonderful works of Fra. Angelico and how they bring us to the contemplation of mercy in the presence of Our Holy Father St. Dominic. We were reminded from the liturgy that “Divine Mercy [is] the source of that authentic peace that the risen Christ offers us. The wounds of the risen and glorious Lord are the permanent signs of God’s merciful love for humanity. From them flows a spiritual light that enlightens consciences and pours into hearts comfort and hope”. Within the heritage of the Order there is a wealth of master pieces, rich in theology aiding us in our contemplation of God’s mercy. In the discussion which followed the presentation it was noted how the person of St. Dominic played a central role in the art of Fra. Angelico inviting us to make ourselves present in the story of God’s Incarnate Mercy. The afternoon concluded with a meditative presentation of the different pieces Fr. Michael had spoken about accompanied by music.

We are deeply grateful to Fr. Michael for sharing his scientific knowledge and theological insights with us. The whole afternoon was a worthy celebration of the Order and its magnificent heritage.

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History of the Irish Province

This year the Dominican Order celebrates their 800th Jubilee of the foundation of the order.

This short video gives some history of the Irish Province since the Dominicans arrived in Ireland almost 800 years ago in 1224.

Celebration of the Jubilee 800 in Newbridge College

On the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the 28th of January, the students and staff of Newbridge College came together for a Mass in the College Church to celebrate the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order.

Bishop Denis Nulty DD, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, celebrated the Mass on the occasion, and Fr. Gregory Carroll OP, the Provincial of the Irish Province,  Fr. Paul Dempsey, the parish priest of Newbridge, and members of the Dominican community also concelebrated.

Please find below some pictures taken during the Mass.

Photo’s of the Aquinas Lecture 2016 in St. Saviour’s

The Irish Studium, St. Saviour’s in Dublin, hosted and Aquinas Lecture on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The lecture was delivered by Dr. Rik Van Nieuwenove, Lecturer in Theology at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. The lecture, entitled “Contemplation, Learning and the University in Aquinas”, was followed by the celebration of Solemn Vespers in the church with the community of St. Saviour’s. An audio recording of the lecture is available.

Please find some photo’s of the event below:

Contemplation, Learning and the University in Aquinas

On the occasion of the Jubilee 800, and on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, there was a ‘Jubilee Aquinas Lecture’.

The lecture was delivered by Dr. Rik Van Nieuwenove, Lecturer in Theology at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

The lecture, entitled “Contemplation, Learning and the University in Aquinas”, was followed by the celebration of Solemn Vespers in the church with the community of St. Saviour’s.

Please find below the audio recording of the lecture. Photo’s and a short video capturing the event will follow later.