A talk delivered to the Guild of Catholic Scholars

A talk delivered to the Guild of Catholic Scholars in St. Saviour’s Priory, Dublin, on Saturday, 1st, February. In it Fr. Terence Crotty, lecturer on Scripture in the Dominican Studium, Dublin, shows how Scholarship on the Bible has happily changed and evolved in recent decades in a way that gives greater and greater support for Christian Faith, as we should except from this sacred book.

Fenning Collection

Ms Marie Jennings, a professional librarian, is currently creating an electronic catalogue of the private library of the late Fr Hugh Fenning, O.P., S.T.M. The collection is located at St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, and contains approximately forty-eight shelves of printed books and pamphlets on Irish Dominican history, Irish Church history, and Irish local and general history, with annotations. It also contains bound volumes of offprints, photocopies of articles, and a number of journals. The items will be catalogued to international standards and classified using the Dewey Decimal System. The catalogue will be searchable by author, keyword, and subject, and provenance information will also be noted. Extra subject headings or tags will be added where there is relevance to the Dominican Order. The photographs are intended to provide an indication of the progress of the project since it began on 10 January with funding approved by the provincial and his council.

The history of the Irish Dominicans at home and abroad was the focus of Fr Fenning’s research and publication for more than fifty years, affording him the subject for his doctoral thesis and for his tome on the eighteenth-century history of the province. He was also the author of a fine collection of scholarly yet popular historical accounts of various foundation of the Dominican Order in Ireland and of the obituaries of his brethren.

Conferring of the S.T.B.

On the 28th January 2020, the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Frs. Matthew Farrell OP and Jesse Maingot OP received their Bachelor of Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degrees. This is a graduate-level academic degree in theology awarded after four years of theological studies at the Dominican Studium in Dublin.

The degree was awarded by the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome to which the Dominican Studium in Dublin is affiliated. They were presented with their parchments by Fr. Joseph Dineen OP, the Regent of Studies of the Province of Ireland, in the presence of Fr. Gregory Carroll OP, Prior Provincial of the Province of Ireland.

Turning Wounds into Wisdom

Dominican Publications have recently published a book of sermons by Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway. It covers every Sunday of the three-year lectionary cycle, and all the sermons are focussed on enabling readers to see the face of Christ. More information can be found on the website.

Rosary Pilgrimage to Knock

The annual Rosary Pilgrimage to Knock takes place this year on the 13th of October.

The ceremonies begin at 2:30pm in the basilica. The preacher this year is Fr. Paul Murray OP.

Many Dominican Priory’s around the country organise busses to take part in the pilgrimage.


Paul Brendan Murray was born on 26 November 1947 and grew up in County Down. He joined the Irish Province of the Friars of the Order of Preachers in 1966 and took profession in 1967. Already a notable and promising poet, his first volume of poetry, Ritual Poems, was published in the early 1970s. Paul was ordained priest in 1973, one of a group of eight Dominicans ordained priest that day. (The group included Fr Gregory Carroll, current Provincial of Ireland, and Fr Mark O’Brien, who has served as Provincial of the Australian Province of the Order.)

After further post-graduate studies, notably on the poetic work of T. S. Eliot, Paul began teaching in the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, Rome, the ‘Angelicum’, and after living in the Priory of San Clemente he transferred residence to the Convitto, a community located nearer the university campus. Paul’s life is one of preaching, teaching, as well as travelling to give lectures and retreats all over the globe. He works also in a consultative role for a Vatican department, and is visiting professor at Notre Dame University in Sydney, Australia.

He would have known Mother Teresa of Calcutta quite well, and personally, and has been called upon to offer counselling and support to many who are major international figures (not only in the Church). He has written extensively on the spiritual teaching of St Catherine of Siena, who has inspired many writers and teachers even in our own day, including Paul himself. His latest book, God’s Spies, was published by T&T Clark, and deals with a number of internationally renowned authors and their search for the true meaning of life. These ‘spies’ include Dante, Michelangelo and Shakespeare, among other poets. In a lengthy review of Murray’s new book, in Spirituality, Thomas McCarthy described it as ‘a gem’, and spoke of how highly he valued the insights described between its covers.


Reception of the Habits

The Feast Day of the Irish Province is the Exaltation of the Cross, celebrated on September the 14th. This is the traditional day that the new noviciate starts and the new Novices receive their habit, as they start their journey as a Dominican. This year four men joined the noviciate and received the habit during the 11 o’clock Mass.

From left to right: Br. Bruno Mary Kelleher; Br. Nathan Peer; Fr. Gregory Carroll OP,  Prior Provincial; Br. Mark Murphy; Br. Laurence Augustine Rigney & Fr. Philip Mulryne OP, Master of Novices.

Please keep our novices (and those discerning a vocation) in your prayers, that the Lord might continue to bless them and give them the graces that they require to keep following His call!

Please find some photos of the event below.

Fr Gabriel Harty, O.P.

Fr Gabriel Harty, O.P.
The Rosary Priest of Ireland
1921 – 2019

Fr Gabriel Harty, a friar of the Order of Preachers, was born in Dublin on 31 July 1921, the second of three children born to John Joseph Harty and Margaret Gleeson. He was baptised in St Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, Dublin, on 4 August, the feast day of St Dominic, and named Thomas. His father, a clerk in the Munster and Leinster Bank, and later a furniture salesman for Pim Brothers & Co., South Great George’s Street, Dublin, acquired a furniture shop at 8 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin, after a win in the Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstake. His mother died from tuberculosis when Fr Gabriel was two years of age and his father subsequently married Delia Kissane, a primary school teacher and an Irish language enthusiast.

As a child, Fr Gabriel attended the national schools at Straffan and Leixlip of which his stepmother was principal before continuing his primary education at Scoil Colmcille, Marlborough Street, Dublin, where all the teachers were Gaelgóirí and all instruction was through the medium of Irish. As to his secondary education, after a single day at O’Connell’s CBS, North Richmond Street, Dublin, where he struggled with subjects taught as Béarla, he transferred to Coláiste Mhuire, Parnell Square, Dublin.

The bells of the ‘Angelus’

The influence of his confessor, Fr Pius Cleary, O.P., Prior, St Saviour’s Priory, Dublin, and ‘the silent splendour’ of Br Pius McArdle, O.P., prompted a visit to St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, in 1938, a visit that came to an unfortunate end when Fr Gabriel proved unable to recite the Angelus, in English, with Fr Dominic ‘Matt’ Fahy, O.P., the Master of Students.

A priest in the Archdiocese of Dublin

That same year, Fr Gabriel entered Holy Cross College, the seminary for the Archdiocese of Dublin, where a series of bursaries eased the financial burden education for the priesthood placed on his family. For three years, he attended University College Dublin in Earlsfort Terrace for a degree in philosophy. He then studied theology in the seminary for four years, admitting some years later that he found ‘the way theology was done … exceedingly dull.’ On the other hand, his years in the seminary afforded him a first contact with the Servant of God Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary. On 26 May 1945, Fr Gabriel was ordained to the priesthood in the seminary chapel by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, C.S.Sp.In the months immediately after his ordination to the priesthood, Fr Gabriel assisted as a chaplain to Mountjoy Prison. His first official assignment was as chaplain to the Dominican Convent, Eccles Street, Dublin, a role he managed to combine with the duties of spiritual director of the presidium of the Legion of Mary at the Morning Star Hostel. After a year, he was appointed chaplain to St Gerard’s Boys’ School, Bray, regarded as one of the plums of the diocese. In these first years of priesthood, his perusal of The Inner Life of the Very Reverend Père Lacordaire, O.P. by Fr Bernard Chocarne, O.P., made a profound impression on Fr Gabriel, revived his interest in the Dominican Order, and prompted him to approach the archbishop regarding a vocation to religious life. In response, the archbishop appointed him to the Parish of the Most Precious Blood, Cabra, in 1948 to gain a deeper experience of parochial ministry, advising, ‘My son, make not haste in a time of cloud.’

A lapsed secular

A year later, Fr Gabriel, ‘a lapsed secular,’ received the habit at St Mary’s Priory, Cork, on 14 September 1949. As a priest, he was allowed to choose his own name in religion and he chose the name Gabriel. After his first profession on 15 September 1950, he was assigned to St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, where he studied philosophy for one year and theology for another. In the course of a canonical visitation conducted by Fr Emmanuel Suarez, O.P., the Master General, Fr Gabriel disclosed a great interest in our Lady and the Rosary. So, to prepare him for the work of promoting the Rosary he was assigned to Collegio San Clemente, Rome, in 1952 in order to attend the Institute of Spirituality at the Pontifical International Athenæum of the Dominican Order, the Angelicum, where he obtained a diploma to which he never again referred! In addition to his lectures at the Institute of Spirituality, Fr Gabriel diligently sought out theological treatises on the Rosary and its representation in art until his year in Rome came to an end with an instruction from the Master General to go to Lourdes to prepare for the work of preaching the Rosary. After his arrival in Lourdes, a railway strike paralysed the whole transport system in France and so Fr Gabriel spent six weeks in Lourdes, arriving back in Tallaght just in time to pronounce his solemn profession on 15 September 1953.

Industrial Rosary Crusade

Almost immediately Fr Gabriel was appointed assistant to Fr Gabriel Keenan, O.P., Director of the Rosary Crusade. Diverse in temperament, it soon became apparent that they operated after the manner of two goats, pulling in opposite directions. Fr Gabriel, the elder, considered the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary the basis for the apostolate of the Rosary. Fr Gabriel, the younger, found its literature uninspiring and uninviting. Again, Fr Gabriel, the elder, found it difficult to engage with the idea of a newsletter. Fr Gabriel, the younger, embraced the idea with enthusiasm and the first issue of The Rosary Letter appeared on 25 March 1954. At its height, The Rosary Letter enjoyed a circulation of 100,000 and was despatched on a vast international basis. It was also Fr Gabriel, the younger, who adopted the golden rose as the emblem of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, inspired by the statue of Our Lady of Knock. The gift of a Bedford van in 1954 prompted him to learn to drive … in a single afternoon … and enabled him to immerse himself in the emerging Industrial Rosary Crusade, a movement that fostered the daily recitation of the Rosary in hundreds of industrial and commercial centres such as the Guinness Brewery, Dublin, Jacob’s Biscuits, Dundalk, and Shannon Airport. With the Legion of Mary as his greatest ally, his imagination, commitment, and sense of adventure caused the Industrial Rosary Crusade to flourish. Indeed, it flourished to such a degree that in 1958 an office was established at 48 Parnell Square for its effective organisation and Fr Gabriel was assigned to St Saviour’s Priory, Dublin.

A difficult storm to weather

In 1966, Fr Gabriel was appointed superior of St Saviour’s Priory, Waterford. A year and a half later, he was elected prior of St Mary’s Priory, Cork, an office to which he felt utterly unsuited and from which he resigned in 1969, upon the advice of the Servant of God Frank Duff and the Most Rev. Finbar Ryan, O.P., Archbishop Emeritus of Port of Spain, Trinidad. Later that same year, the brethren at the provincial chapter entrusted to him once again the Apostolate of the Rosary and an office was established at St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght. The following year, the archbishops and bishops of Ireland appointed him the National Spiritual Director of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima. However, in the wake of Vatican Council II the Apostolate of the Rosary had a difficult storm to weather and in 1976 a disheartened Fr Gabriel repaired to Rome where years earlier he had discovered the riches of the Rosary. After a year at Collegio San Clemente, he was assigned to Corpo Santo, Lisbon, and then to the Black Abbey, Kilkenny, where he remained until assigned to Sligo in 1983. During his time at the Black Abbey, contact with the mystical writings of a member of the Dominican Laity animated Fr Gabriel with a new enthusiasm, leading to the publication of 100,000 copies of The Healing Light of the Rosary and a flourishing healing ministry associated with the Rosary.

The Rosary in hearts, hands, and homes

Unsurprisingly, Fr Gabriel was again appointed Promoter of the Apostolate of the Rosary in 1984 and assigned to St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, an assignation he retained for the next ten years except for one year in St Magdalen’s Priory, Drogheda. By the end of 1994, ill health had obliged him to request assistance in the management of the apostolate. Assigned to St Catherine’s Priory, Newry, earlier that same year, his interest in the promotion of the Rosary remained undiminished and in 1996, having celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood the previous year, he was once again appointed promoter. Assigned to St Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, in 2000, his official association with the Apostolate of the Rosary came to an end two years later leaving him with a terrible sense of loss. 

However, no longer burdened with the management of the Apostolate of the Rosary, he devoted all his physical and spiritual resources to putting the Rosary into hearts, hands, and homes, adding to the many books and pamphlets he had already published. Always adroit in the use of technology, he also launched a blog on the Rosary and although his external ministry had diminished with age, he insisted that ‘there is … inner fire, still burning within me.’

The truth of his words was soon to be realised. In 2013, assigned to St Malachy’s Priory, Dundalk, Fr Gabriel was appointed chaplain to St Malachy’s Girls’ School. Firmly convinced that education had to enlarge the heart as well as fill the mind, he proved to be ‘a wonderful inspiration’ to staff, pupils, and parents. Indeed, admiration for Fr Gabriel prompted one pupil to address a letter of praise in his honour to His Holiness, Pope Francis, and she was favoured with a reply from the Apostolic Palace.

A fresh and fragrant loveliness

Naturally, his years began to make themselves felt and ill health began to intrude upon his life with an insistence he could no longer ignore. A man for whom the world of the unseen was no less real that the world of the seen, Fr Gabriel died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, on 9 May 2019. After reposing in St Malachy’s Priory, his remains were removed to the church on 12 May 2019. On 13 May 2019, the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, Fr Gregory Carroll, O.P., Prior Provincial, was the celebrant of the Mass of Christian Burial at which the choir of St Malachy’s Girls’ School sang as requested by Fr Gabriel. His remains were interred in St Patrick’s Cemetery, Dundalk.

Throughout the years of his priesthood and religious life, he constantly and faithfully laboured to ensure that ‘the wild rose of the Rosary would bloom with a fresh and fragrant loveliness.’ Ní bheidh a leithéad arís ann.

By: Fr John M. Cunningham, O.P., Provincial Archivist, published in the Catholic Voice: “An obituary of the late Fr Gabriel Harty, O.P., the Rosary Priest of Ireland”, 19 July 2019.

Aquinas week

The eighth annual St Thomas Aquinas Summer School, run by the Aquinas Institute of Ireland (aquinasinstitute.ie), took place from August 4-10 at the Emmaus Centre, Swords. This session, the biggest yet, with some 50 participants from a dozen different countries, focussed on the teachings of St Thomas on the nature of virtue and vice in general, as well as specific virtues and vices.

Among the students taking part were doctoral students in philosophy and theology, as well as complete beginners, including two who recently completed their Leaving Certificate exams! As well as intensive seminars, participants heard a lecture on ‘The Virtues of Courtesy’ by Fr Alan O’Sullivan OP, and took part in a field trip to Mellifont Abbey and Drogheda, including a visit to the Dominican nuns in Siena Monastery.

Ordination of Fr. Matthew Farrell OP

Matthew Farrell, a native of Daingean, Co. Offaly, was ordained priest on Saturday, 6 July, in St Saviour’s church, Dublin, by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, of Dublin. Present at the ceremony were his three sisters, Lorraine, Michelle and Natalie, with their families, and his brother David and his family.

Father Matthew, aged 44, had a varied career before joining the Dominican Order in 2012. Immediately after secondary school he worked in the bar trade in Tullamore and in his native Daingean. Attending Athlone Institute of Technology as a mature student, he gained a degree in applied chemistry, working for seven years as a laboratory analyst. After the death of his father, he returned to Daingean to work in the family business with his brother. As a Dominican he spent a year in the noviciate in Cork before moving to the house of studies at St Saviour’s, Dublin, to study philosophy, Scripture and theology, in preparation for ministry as a priest. He made solemn vows (lifelong commitment) as a Dominican in September 2017.

Later this summer, he will move to Co. Kerry, to join the Dominican community at Holy Cross church, Tralee, and to begin his ministry as a priest there.

Father Matthew explains that by the end of secondary school he had ceased going to Mass and practising the faith in which he had been brought up. He continues: ‘When I was 24, my auntie brought me to a retreat which was ran by a lay association called Youth 2000. This sparked within me an interest in religion in general, but it was not until I was 28 that I made a decision to re-commit myself to the practice of the Catholic faith. I started to go to Mass every Sunday, went to regular monthly confessions and got involved with a Youth 2000 prayer meeting which had started in Tullamore in the parochial house.’ The outcome was, he explains: ‘I started to grow in my faith in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and faith in the power of prayer and the sacraments to help me grow closer to God.’

At the age of 37, after considering the possibility that he was being called to religious life, he entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), founded 803 years ago.

The Mass, Yesterday, Today … and Forever

Irish Dominican Liam G. Walsh, who has given his life to studying theology and teaching it – in Ireland. Rome and Fribourg – has, this May, published a book on the history and theology of the Mass. The purpose is to help readers come to an awareness that takes them beyond seeing the Mass as holy ceremonial to be regulated by rubrics, beyond seeing it only in aesthetic terms, beyond making it a way of aligning themselves to ‘progressive’ or ‘traditionalist’ camps.

Further information is available on the Dominican Publications website.