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A new construction...

Two years of planning and hard work, 65,000 bricks, 60 tonnes of cement, a Delegation of enthusiastic sisters with their praying communities plus one very big act of faith later saw the solemn opening and blessing of the Divine Master Prayer Centre on the 15th of August 2009, liturgical celebration of the Assumption of our Lady.

 The Eucharist was presided over by Rt. Rev. Bishop Dr. Eamon Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, who was joined by concelebrant priests from  the surrounding areas of Dublin, various parts of the country as well as from Italy, India and Africa. So too, family members, religious sisters and brothers, friends of the community and benefactors joined with the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in an open-air Mass, creating an atmosphere of great joy, happiness and gratitude. This is testimony to a Church built not just from bricks and mortar but a spiritual house, a living community which is the network of support and friendship which surrounds this religious community. Even the unpredictable Irish weather could not dampen the hearty spirits, and the sun shone for the event!

In an era where many religious orders are having to close communities and convents, the sisters are expanding their mission, creatively reading the signs of the times and especially of the Irish Church to see where they can be more effective with their lives of prayer and active ministry. The Centre will be home to the community of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, with the adjoining house “Bethany” offering respite and spiritual renewal and care for priests in need. It also offers the opportunity for those who wish to make days of spiritual retreat and reflection, taking time out from the business of life. The Centre, in addition to the present structure of the Liturgical

Centre, renowned for its provision of beautiful liturgical goods and Church furnishings, many of which are made by the sisters themselves, will also promote that the liturgy be celebrated with dignity and in beauty. All this is in a climate of prayer and tranquillity where visitors to the Centre can pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel of Adoration and join in the community’s prayer and liturgical life.

 By constructing this Centre, as consecrated women, the sisters commit themselves to break open the alabaster jar of their lives, just like the woman at Bethany in St. John’s Gospel, and to let the perfume of their service to the world break free and touch the lives of many people. It is a delicate footprint of God in the community’s life that as the construction of this Centre began in June 2008, His Holiness Benedict XVI indicted the Year of Priesthood. It was a confirmation of the ministry of the sisters and the project of the new Centre which they hope will be a modern-day Bethany for many priests in need of affirmation and support. Citing the Pope’s latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, Bishop Walsh during his homily at the opening of the Centre, extended the challenge: “only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism”.

Also present for the celebration was the Mother General of the Institute, Sr. M. Regina Cesarato, who came from Rome for the occasion. The liturgy celebrated the diversity of the multi-cultural Delegation in Ireland with a dance of welcome during the entrance procession by two Indian sisters, as well as the Prayer of the Faithful in the various languages. Currently, the Delegation is composed of sisters from Ireland, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Italy, Spain and Mexico.

Saturday was an eventful moment for yet another reason. During the Eucharist, the assembly celebrated God’s continuous calling to consecrated life, visibly seen in the renewal of vows of two members of the Pauline Family. Sr. M. Veena Lobo renewed her vows within the Congregation of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, whilst Brian O’ Keefe renewed his vows as a member of the Institute of St. Gabriel the Archangel. The Pauline Family is made up of 10 different Institutes of which four are present in Ireland. The celebration was followed by refreshments and light entertainment and all present were invited to visit the Centre.

 The sisters are extremely grateful to all those who have supported them in many ways and believed in the dream to build the Centre which will be a beacon of light and hope in a society searching for meaning. Bishop Walsh recalled how the icon of Mary, a familiar landmark on the South Dublin dual carriageway, “invites commuters to reflect on the Divine thirst within each traveller on the road”.  Now along with this icon of Mary, an  8-foot statue of Jesus the Divine Master which arrived accurately on the morning of the blessing, is situated outside the Centre and welcomes ‘those who are weary and burdened’ to come and restore their lives in prayer.

See the journey of the construction!.....