Saturday, 10 May 2014


"No one can come to me, unless drawn by the Father who sent me." John 6:44

Br. Bryan Shortall ofm.cap.

I've been reflecting on these words of Jesus from the Gospel of today's Mass and in particular as another back-drop to Vocation's Sunday tomorrow.

People often ask me the question; "What made you become a Capuchin?" And the truth is, it was like I had no choice, I was compelled in a sense. Like Jesus, immediately following his baptism by John in the River Jordan, he was compelled to go into the desert. I was drawn by Jesus Christ to the Capuchin Franciscan family.

I joined the Capuchin Order in September 1987 and made Perpetual vows in September 1994. Through those initial years, I studied Philosophy and Theology and worked in different ministries like in our Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless, Young Franciscans, and Second-level School Chaplaincy training. I also had the opportunity to study French in Paris over a summer time in 1992 and during the Summer of 1993 I worked with one of our Friars who was a part of the Irish Chaplaincy in London.
I was Ordained Priest in June 1997 and following some post-graduate study, I worked in School Chaplaincy in Dublin and Cork from 1997-2007, and then Hospital Chaplaincy, 2007-2010. I am currently in Parish Ministry in Dublin City's Market's Area right now.

Recently, I celebrated 25 years in the Order and I'm grateful to God that I was compelled to follow Jesus Christ as a Capuchin Franciscan. I'm also thankful that so many have inspired me and continue to do so as I go along. Could it be that God might be calling you too? Echoing the words of Jesus Christ; Pope Saint John Paul II often said; "Do not be afraid!" And he also quoted the powerful words of Saint Catherine of Siena at World Youth Day in 2000; "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze."

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life..." (John 6:68)

Monday, 5 May 2014

A Day in the Life of a Capuchin Friar....Br Martin Bennett OFM Cap

 Next Sunday, 11th May, is a day dedicated to prayer for and promotion of vocations to Priesthood and Religious life. Recently, Br Martin was asked to describe a typical day for a magazine produced to support Vocations Sunday. If you feel God is calling you to serve Him as a Capuchin Friar, please contact us. We can help you in your journey of discernment and discovery.                 


A typical day for me usually begins with a short, yet fervent, prayer - ‘Dear Lord, just five more minutes’ – prompted by the sound of my alarm at 6.15am. I join the rest of the Friars, and members of the public who join us, for meditation at 6.30am, followed by Mass and Morning Prayer at 7am.

I am in my 6th year with the Capuchin Franciscans and currently studying Theology & Philosophy in All Hallows College, Drumcondra. I live in community, or Fraternity as we call it, with 7 other Friars in Raheny. Fraternity, meaning Brotherhood, is at the core of our lives as Friars. We strive to live this out with each other, and with those we minister too, through our lives of prayer and service to the poor.

No day is the same here. As a student, during term, a lot of my time is taken up with lectures, reading and essays. Apart from this, there is always something to be done around the Friary, from grocery shopping to solving various computer problems, being the youngest, it is assumed that I am the computer expert!!

Our Friaries are open, warm and welcoming places for all who visit. Raheny, in particular, is a place of prayer and stillness for the many people who come here each day.

Our chapel is open from 6am each morning until 9pm at night, with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day. Our prayer is open to the public and, as well as in the morning, we are joined by local people for meditation, rosary and evening prayer from 5pm – 6pm each day and, in turn, they form part of our extended Fraternity.

As part of our service to the poor, under the leadership of Brother Kevin Crowley, we run the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Bow Street, serving over 700 meals each day and 1600 food parcels each Wednesday to those most in need. This is a very tangible expression of our Fraternity and follows closely in the footsteps of our founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. The Centre has been running for over 40 years and now provides, in addition to food, a Doctor, Nurse, Dentist and Chiropodist.

Since joining I have had the opportunity to live in Oxford and Zambia, working in varied apostolates with young people, drug addicts, psychiatric patients and the homeless.

I am part of our Provincial Vocations Team, which promotes our way of life, and have worked to develop our on-line presence through our Vocations Blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Our life is a life of Fraternity, prayer and service, lived in the midst of the world, offering a ‘welcome’ to all we encounter.