On Monday 13th February, Sr Lucina Montague greeted Dominican staff as they gathered to celebrate the launch of the 2017 centenary prayer book. She spoke of her arrival in Portstewart in 1962 and the appropriateness and relevance of the date chosen to launch the first in our series of Centenary events as the feast day of the blessed Jordan of Saxony, the successor to St Dominic.
Sr Lucina, on behalf of the Dominican sisters, spoke of how the 2017 prayer book spoke of a continuation of the ethos established here in 1917 and how the spirit of St Dominic continues to live on in the works of his followers. She told staff that the publication, a labour of love for the school’s RE department was “ something valuable to be proud of and a publication that will set before our young people the influences, challenges and responsibilities that lie before them, and ourselves as 21st Dominicans.”
She spoke of the belief of Meister Eckhart, a key figure from within the Dominican tradition, who compared prayers to “God’s coughs”- his way of letting us know he is there! She thanked the RE department, Mrs McLernon , Miss Smyth and Miss Willighan and in particular Miss Rainey for steering the prayer book , our retirees Mr Gilmore and Mrs Gillen for their input , Ms Ronan and Mr Fleming and the Centenary Committee and concluded by reminding staff : “ There are three distinct phases to our centenary celebrations; anticipation, celebration and prolongation. Enjoy all that we are going to do over the course of the next twelve months as a Dominican family and community and be a part of it”.
Our school chaplain, Fr Raymond McCullagh, concluded the celebration by reading the powerful Prayer of Abandonment written more than 100 years ago by Charles De Foucauld.
Miss Rainey, the school’s liturgical co-ordinator explained: “Dominican College has, for the past century been a place of prayer and reflection for Dominican Sisters, staff and students, and it is our hope that this book will help continue this tradition into the next phase of the school’s future.
The RE department have been working on this publication for the last 6 months and the book was specifically designed for our young people as they face the challenges of life. We viewed the publication as a challenge in terms of balancing the spiritual legacy of the Dominican tradition with the pressures and demands of C21st life for our young Dominicans.
We hope that whatever Christian background our pupils are from, or whether they are of faith or no faith, that they will find the book relevant, informative and inspiring.
St Padre Pio believed that prayer is the oxygen for the soul” and it is our hope that this small, powerful book of prayer and reflection will help breathe new life into the conversation between God and our spiritual selves.”
The Dominican prayer book is divided into categories to make it easier to access as they journey through the different experiences of life. There are quotes and reflections from people of all faiths around the world and throughout history.
All our pupils are familiar with the Veritas motto but there are two other mottos which are equally intrinsic to Dominican education: Contemplare et Contemplata aliis Tradere (To contemplate and to give others the fruit of contemplation ) and Laudare, Benidicere, Praedicare ( To praise, to bless, to teach).
The school is delighted to be able to offer the book as gift from the school to mark the Centenary year and Ms Ronan told our 2017 cohort of pupils at a special assembly on February 14th that they were special pupils within the history of the school and that the centenary gift would remind them, wherever they would go in the world and whatever they would choose to do in their life beyond school, that they would remain part of the Dominican family here in Portstewart.
Fr Raymond explained to our pupils that prayer is “becoming present to yourself in the presence of God” and he celebrated the “ big work that has gone into a small book of wisdom, reflection and prayers designed to help us along the various phases of life’s journey”.
Additional copies of the book of prayer and reflection will be on sale for £5.00 from the school and copies will be available at the various milestone events along our year of centenary celebrations.
From website of Dominican College, Portstewart – http://www.dcpni.net