Dominican Fathers and Brothers
WHO ARE THE DOMINICAN FRIARS?
The friars are members of the Order of Preachers, AKA "The Dominicans" and they are members of the Western Dominican Province. There are many provinces throughout the world, which together comprise the Order. The Order of Preachers was founded in 1216 by St. Dominic de Guzman in response to a then desperate need for informed preaching. Against a heresy which denied the dignity of our humanity, St. Dominic trained a group of preachers who would serve the Church in its affirmation of the world as the place where Christ is discovered. He adapted the structure monasticism so that his Friars, vowed to poverty, chastity, and obedience, were nevertheless free to move wherever their preaching was needed. The Dominicans enjoy both contemplation and activity, apostolic and monastic traditions. Dominic fostered the discipline of study, so that what was preached would he part of the Church's sustained reflection on the mystery of Christ. And he began a tradition of spirituality that is rooted in community life, liturgical and common prayer, and personal meditation -- a spirituality which is meant to bear the fruit of an active apostolate And bear fruit it has: in the centuries since its origin, the Order has numbered among its members theologians, mystics, Doctors of the Church, workers among the poor, popes, saints and innumerable men and women who have left less tangible traces of their work. What was new with St. Dominic has continued to call forth new members, with new hopes to address new needs.They are the ORDER OF PREACHERS; they must preach that Jesus is Lord and Brother. This is their mission and duty. This is their special vocation.
WHAT DO THE DOMINICAN FRIARS DO?
The work of the friars takes many forms, as their men try to respond to the particular needs of the Church. They staff parishes and participate in campus ministries at both secular and Catholic schools of higher education; they are engaged in various forms of the preaching apostolate, such as specialized retreats, missions and workshops; they publish; they are chaplains to hospitals and convents; and they have a mission in Mexicali, Mexico with missionaries in various places around the world.There is no talent or interest which is unimportant, since each Dominican gives of his own capabilities to further his salvation and that of those among whom he ministers. Moreover, each ministry is believed valuable, for each allows God's presence to become more evident and celebrated in the world."Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all the members have the same function ...we have gifts that differ according to the favor bestowed on each of us."
Golden Jubilee for the Dominicans - Bishop Bernard O'Grady op
50 years ago, a priest, a brother, four sisters and two lay nurses came to the then British Protectorate. All six belonged to the Dominican family and arrived at Nila in 1956. Four of the pioneers are still alive and two will be joining in the celebrations in Gizo on Saturday and Sunday, the 17th and 18th June, 2006. Several church and other dignitaries from the Solomon Islands and overseas are expected to join in the celebrations. Members of the Dominican Family, mainly the friars, sisters and lay people are involved in various kinds of pastoral ministry throughout the Diocese of Gizo. These include; educational works such as teaching in schools, administration and parish pastoral work. Priests, brothers and sisters join forces and form pastoral teams to visit the villages and the numerous logging camps that are not always easily accessible and most often demand outboard powered canoe trips. The church has been blessed by several priestly and religious vocations. Many persons are in formation both at Holy Spirit Seminary, Bomana, PNG and at the Holy Name of Mary Seminary, Tenaru, Solomon Islands. Several sisters assist in educational and other ministries. This has been the most significant development of the church since the arrival of the Australian sisters in 1956. The congregation now is fully localized and has the right to elect its own leader and council as well as appoint their own formation team. Lay catechists were a basic part of the early church evangelized by the Marist congregations. After Vatican II, lay ministries to assist in pastoral work received even greater prominence. To foster pastoral training, a formation centre was established at Moli in the 1960s. The lay church workers have been a very powerful force in the Diocese of Gizo. The Diocesan renewal, during the past eight years, which culminated in the Diocesan Pastoral Assembly in 2005, owes much of its success to the commitment and hardwork of these lay people. The Golden Jubilee celebrations opened with the Eucharistic celebration at St. Peter's Cathedral, Gizo on 17th June, 2005.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRIEST AND A BROTHER?
All Dominican friars share a common brotherhood in the spirit and charism of St. Dominic. While a Dominican may be involved in a variety of ministries, the ministry of one called to ordained priesthood is primarily focused on preaching, the Eucharist and the other sacraments from which the Church draws its life. The celebration of the Eucharist is both the source and the deepest expression of our preaching, for it is when we all share the one Bread and the one Cup that we most profoundly "proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes." (I COL 11:26)Dominican Brothers have felt Christ's call to "Come, follow me," though they have not felt that answering this invitation meant, for them, becoming priests. Theirs is not a half-way response to Christ, but rather a full-hearted response to what they are called to do. Because they are not called to ordination, they pursue a specialized apostolate complementary to the work of their priest-brothers, enhancing the preaching ideal of the Order. Dominican Brothers are involved in: specialized preaching, religious education and catechetical formation, pastoral administration and campus ministry, domestic service to the community (maintenance, cooking, etc.), as well as professional and technical ministries (social work, classroom teaching, academic/provincial administration, health care, creative arts, etc.).
HOW DOES ONE KNOW?
With most of us, God seldom uses extraordinary means to tell us our vocation in life. The Dominican lifestyle is monastic in tradition, yet apostolic in ministry. The life as a friar is more than belonging to a group, it is a radical way of living in community for the preaching of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Mature reflection, prayer and guidance will finally determine the decision. Discovering God's will for each of us is one of the great challenges of maturity. One is also encouraged to seek the advice of a spiritual director or confessor. Read "A Guide to Discernment".
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recess of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
- T. E. Lawrence