Monday 10 September 2012

The Capuchin could be you?

From Br Bryan Shortall's blog 'tired of all the bad news'

A Plug for Vocations

In 1528, Br. Matthew of Bascia had a dream to reform the Franciscan Order with a view to trying to re-discover the original vision of St. Francis of Assisi.

He found himself and a few Franciscan followers trying to live the gospel again in great simplicity and poverty.  When the friars were seen on the streets in their habits with long hoods, and wearing long beards, the people called them ‘Scappuccini’ or hermits.  Eventually, the name was refined to Cappuccini and the name became synonymous with the Capuchin Friars.  Soon, this new Franciscan reform spread throughout the world and the friars came toIreland in the seventeenth century.
One of the more famous Irish Capuchins was Fr. Theobald Mathew (1790-1856). He ministered at a time of great deprivation in Ireland and introduced a campaign of Temperance in the mid 1800’s.  Between 1838 and 1843, Fr. Mathew criss-crossed Ireland and enrolled 6 million members in his Temperance Association.  He was hailed in the U.S.A. in 1849 by the Mayor of New York and by the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C.   His statue stands at the top of St. Patrick’s Street in Cork and near the top of O’Connell Street in Dublin as a tribute by the people of Ireland to his Temperance Association which is still in existence today.  
After Fr. Mathew’s death in 1856, Ireland was in the throes of the Great Famine and during those years there was a mass exodus of Irish people to Great BritainAustralia, and the U.S.A.  Tragically, the population was cut in half during that time and the Capuchin Province of Ireland was suppressed and then re-established in 1885 by Fr. Seraphin Van Damme ofBruges.  The Order established a Secondary School for Boys hoping to join the Order at Rochestown in Cork.  Soon the ‘Seraphic Seminary’ was going from strength to strength and many boys joined the order from the School.
Today, in Ireland, we are to be found in Donegal, Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Cork. We work in a variety of ministries; schools, hospitals, industrial chaplaincies, sea- farers, third-level, homeless, parish, justice and peace.
We are all part of the Family of God and God calls us to do something great for him in life.  It may be to marriage and family life, it may be to serve him as a single person.  However, some are called to serve God and his people in Religious life.  This is not something we hear about every day and particularly in our world of today which hits us with so many other messages competing for our attention.  
If you are someone who has been wondering what it might be like to join the Capuchin Order, you may have heard of us or seen us dressed in brown habits and sandals.  A vocation to religious life begins in normal ways.  It is an attraction or a curiosity to find out more about the priesthood or religious life.  There are no apparitions or claps of thunder.  There are ways in which you can find out more about this.  You can contact us at any of our friaries.  There is a Vocations Director attached to every friary and he can be contacted there. You can also gain the support of family and close friends, and though this may be daunting at first, it is important to feel supported as you discern what it is God wants you to as a first step, pray to be shown you what it is God wants you to do.  Also; have a look at our blog or website for more information about what it is we do.
If you feel that you may be more than curious about our Capuchin Franciscan way of life, as a brother or as a priest, and you would like to have a chat about this you are welcome to contact;
Br. Terence Harrington, ofm.cap. Vocations Director
Ph:             086 323 0638      
International Ph:             +353 86 323 0638       

P.S. See the website/blog for the next Vocations Discernment Weekends in Dublin...

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