Diamond Jubilee of Dominican Twin Brothers, Peter and Isidore Clarke, OP

Peter and Isidore Clarke, OP

Frs Peter and Isidore Clarke are twin brothers and Dominicans friars of the English Province. Today, 11th May 2017, they celebrated 60years in the priesthood. There is a short reflection from fr Isidore.  

Sixty years ago I designed my ordination card, with this quotation from St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians, “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” (1 Cor. 4.1)

That’s what ordination to the priesthood meant to me then. That’s what it still means to me, sixty years later.

On 11th May 1957 my twin brother, Peter, and I were ordained priests. We became servants of Christ, entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed -entrusted with the Ministries of Word and Sacrament. As ministers of the Word we had been called to proclaim the Good News of Salvation. As ministers of the sacraments Christ has empowered us to make His sacrifice on the cross present in every celebration of the Holy Mass. We have been called to be ministers of His Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have seen and personally experienced the peace which the Sacrament of the Sick has brought to me and to other sick people. Our calling is to love God and people and, with His help, bring them together. For me as a priest it has been my joy and privilege to help people to meet Jesus.

But that is a daunting task. Instinctively we say, “Why me? Lord I’m not worthy.” But if God had to wait until we became perfect, before He entrusted the priestly ministry to anyone, He would never have any priests! But He has entrusted His work to us vessels of clay. We have His reassurance that when He calls us to do something He always gives us the strength to carry out His will -provided we pray for His help. St. Paul even reassures us that God choses the foolish of this world to confound the wise. We crazy twin brothers adequately meet this particular requirement. Whether or not we’ve confound any of the wise, God only knows!

Is being a priest a worthwhile, fulfilling life? Without hesitation both of us, after sixty years, would definitely reply, “Yes, Yes, Yes!” Certainly, there are difficulties and setbacks. But that is true of any worthwhile walk of life. We’ve been ordained to share in Christ’s priesthood and to identify with Him in His sacrifice on the cross, made present at every Mass we offer. For Christ and for us, that means self-giving and sometimes painful self-sacrifice.

But what could be more worthwhile than being God’s ministers in helping people on the road to salvation. And this causes me great concern. Peter and I, together with many other elderly priests, are getting near the end of our lives. If you are to continue to have Mass, Confession, and all the other mysteries of God, you are going to need more priests. Today I take this opportunity to urge you to pray for vocations. I urge young men to ask themselves whether God is calling them to serve Him and you in the priesthood. Do not be afraid to say “Yes.” God needs you; His people need you.

Finally, I want our Anniversary to be a day of thanksgiving. First of all, to God in calling us to the priesthood, and then in supporting us throughout the ups and downs of our ministry. Next, I want to thank all the people who have helped us over the years -our family and friends, our Dominican communities, and you, the extended members of our Dominican family. Without your support we could not have coped.

I have posted one of my paintings on Facebook. This is based on the risen

Lord accompanying the disciples on the road to Emmaus and opening their minds and hearts to the Scriptures. That is what He is doing for Peter and me, on our journey through life. Through the Scripture He has touched our minds and hearts and changed our lives. Though we’ve now been separated by the Atlantic for 58 years the Lord has always been with Twin Clarke Unlimited, drawing us close to Him, close to each other. Skype helps us to be especially aware of being united in the Lord. Now we can sing the breviary together, co-operate on sermons, broadcasts and Newspaper articles. I thank God and our parents for blessing me with a Dominican twin.

To Peter on our jubilee day, I say, “Thanks, ower Kid!”

Before this becomes like an Oscar acceptance speech I better stop, with the words from Psalm 115. 1, which have guided our priesthood and inspired today’s celebration.

“Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory!”

 Isidore O.P.


(11 May 2017)