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Religious orders 'need full-time vocations directors'

Figures from the Catholic Church in Ireland have linked relative success in attracting vocations with maintaining full-time vocations directors.

The Irish Independent yesterday reported that the Dominicans and the Redemptorists are bucking an otherwise bleak national trend which shows most religious orders attracting no vocations. The Redemptorists and the Dominicans have each attracted two new entrants this year.

In addition, both congregations have a relatively high number of men in training, again in contrast with most other orders. The Dominicans have 12 in training and the Redemptorists have 10.

Dominican Fr Gerard Dunne, who is the incoming director of Vocations Ireland, an organisation set up by the congregations to explore ways of attracting vocations, attributed the relative success of the two congregations to two factors.

The first, he said, was that "to the best of my knowledge, the Dominicans and the Redemptorists are the only orders with full-time vocations directors".

A second reason was that "the traditional, older and long-established orders have recaptured the imagination of some young people.

"The vocations we attract tend to be from men in their late 20s or early 30s and they have thought out the issues of meaning and purpose. They also tend to be from some kind of a faith background."

Fr Dunne said they were attracted to the purpose of the Dominicans, which was "sound doctrinal preaching based on the theology of St Thomas Aquinas".

The latest vocations figures for religious orders were released at the annual general meeting of Vocations Ireland, which took place in All Hallows College, Dublin, on Saturday.

Religious orders 'need professional recruiters' (Irish Independent 11/10/04)

Vocations outlook daunting but not bleak, says vocations official (Catholic News Service 8/10/04)
Embrace your call to holiness, cherish asceticism (Vatican Information Service 11/10/04)
John L. Allen: Preview of the World Congress on Consecrated Life (National Catholic Reporter 8/10/04)
Vocations flourish in the Pacific Islands (CathNews 3/9/04)
Catholic Vocations, Archdiocese of Melbourne
Pope says hurting world is a reason to pray for vocations (CathNews 14/7/04)

12 Oct 2004