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Updated: 3 hours 17 min ago

The Hillbilly Thomists

12/15/2017 - 10:39am

After four albums of sacred choral music, the Dominican brothers have tuned their banjos and turned their attention to Americana folk and bluegrass. Their hope: to spread the joy of the gospel through the joy of music. As Br. Peter Gautsch, O.P. puts it in an interview, “I do think music can enhance evangelization if done right. We’re bodily beings, so beautiful images and sounds can be good for us, can help lift our minds to God.”

“After nearly four years of performing, [The Hillbilly Thomists have] now produced their first album, and it is a veritable feast of Bluegrass banjo bliss!”, writes C. C. Pecknold for First Things. “The twelve-song album includes nineteenth- and twentieth-century bluegrass classics, such as Jefferson Hascal’s ‘Angel Band’ (prominently featured in the Cohen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?), as well as original bluegrass arrangements of hymns such as ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘What Wondrous Love Is This.'”

Matthew Becklo, writing for Word on Fire, observes that “at the center of this tapestry of traditional American music is ‘I’m a Dog,’ an original composition by Br. Justin that fits right in. It’s an easygoing, earnest song about loving and serving God, and revolves around the Dominican image of the ‘Hound of the Lord‘”

What is a hillbilly Thomist? In 1955, the southern author Flannery O’Connor said of herself, “Everybody who has read Wise Blood thinks I’m a hillbilly nihilist, whereas … I’m a hillbilly Thomist.” She said that her fiction was concerned with the ways grace is at work among people who do not have access to the sacraments. The Thomist (one who follows the thought of the Dominican St. Thomas Aquinas) believes that the invisible grace of God can be at work in visible things, just as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, in the person of Christ.

The Hillbilly Thomists has broken the top 20 of all albums on Amazon, and it has received international attention. Please considering purchasing a copy today (CD; MP3; iTunes; Google Play) and helping to spread the word. Proceeds support the Dominican brothers studying in Washington, D.C., and the album would make an excellent Christmas gift for family and friends.

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The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

12/10/2017 - 9:53pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. welcomes Mr. Tony “Mangia” Scillia to the show. They discuss the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception as well as how Catholics should be people of fasting and feasting at the appropriate times.

You can listen to the broadcast here.

Image: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo — La Purísima Inmaculada Concepción

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Martyrs’ Day at the Venerable English College

12/02/2017 - 2:23pm

On December 1, 2017, the Most Reverend J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P., delivered the following homily for Martyrs’ Day, the celebration of the English Martyrs, at the Venerable English College in Rome.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. We give thanks to God today for the blessed martyrs, illustrious alumni of this college, who attained that perfect configuration to Christ for which he himself commanded all of us to strive: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross everyday and follow me” (Lk 9:23).

With the martyrdom of Father Ralph Sherwin, who was the first, a pattern of ritualized violence was established from the start. Upon receiving the sentence of death he was inspired to intone the Easter antiphon Haec est dies: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.” On the day of his execution at Tyburn, Father Sherwin proclaimed that, “if to be a Catholic, if to be a perfect Catholic, is to be a traitor, then I am a traitor.”  As he was dying, he gasped, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, be to me a Jesus.” As he passed from this world, the crowd exclaimed: “Good Mr. Sherwin, the Lord God receive your soul” (The Forty Four, 8). Procession to the gallows, prolonged public humiliation, the harangues of their accusers, their protestation of their faith in Christ, brutal death by hanging followed by mutilation of their bodies, the jeers or the prayers of the crowd: over the years these elements repeat themselves in the martyrdom of Sherwin’s fellow Venerable alumni.

The pattern of ritualized violence that we discern in the martyrdom of these forty-four mostly young English priests between the years 1581 and 1679 offers striking parallels with that of thousands of martyrs in the first three centuries of the Christian history. In the Acts of the Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, for example, the author (possibly St. Irenaeus) wrote: “The governor brought the blessed martyrs before the tribunal to make a show and spectacle of them before the crowds,” and “though their spirits endured much throughout the long agony, they were in the end sacrificed” (quoted in Robin Darling Young, In Procession Before the World, 36-7).

Repeated many times in every part of the Roman Empire,  this public spectacle became for Christians a kind of  “public liturgy ultimately aimed at the defeat of powers opposed to God and at the conversion of the world” (ibid. 59). At the center of this public liturgy was the re-enactment of the sacrifice of Christ. “[E]arly Christians commonly thought of martyrdom as a reproduction of the Passion of Jesus, so much so that they brought out so prominently in their martyrologies all the detailed similarities between the death of the martyr and that of Christ: the essential core of martyrdom is the proclamation of faith in Jesus as the Son of God—that is, the Christian’s adoption of Jesus’s own testimony about himself” (Servaise Pinckaers, The Spirituality of Martyrdom, 47).

Moreover, Christ is so absolutely central to the liturgy of martyrdom that he is made present—as a eucharistic sacrifice, in effect, to the eyes of faith. In the words of Karl Rahner, “If in the liturgy of the Mass the death of the Lord and our death in him, is mystically celebrated and if, in this celebration, the Church attains the perfect ritual fulfilment of her nature, the same thing happens in death by Christian martyrdom in which the Lord continues until the end of time to suffer and to triumph….” (On the Theology of Death, 105). Just recall Sherwin’s final words: “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, be to me a Jesus.”

Martyrdom in the Church must thus be distinguished from any other type of voluntary death for an ideal, an ideology, or a cause. Christian martyrdom is not merely one of the many cases in the world of ‘defending one’s convictions to the death.’ Nor is martyrdom simply an instrument for the dissemination of the Christian message of the faith or for the consolidation of the identity of the Christian community. “In martyrdom…we have an indissoluble unity of testimony and what is testified, guaranteed by God’s gracious dispensation. Here there is accomplished with absolute validity and perfection what is testified: authentic Christian life as victorious grace of God. The testimony makes present what is testified and what is testified creates for itself its own authentic attestation” (ibid. 104).

The liturgical and indeed quasi-sacramental character of Christian martyrdom opens up for us something massively important at the core of our celebration and our appropriation of the mystery of this great feast. Not for nothing did the story of the martyrs of this college begin with the words of the Easter antiphon on the lips of the first martyr: Haec est dies quam fecit Dominus, exaltemus et laetemur in ea. For In martyrdom we have not only a praiseworthy heroic witness to the faith, but, “in procession before the world,” a witness in which the very content of the witness is made present. Thus in Christian martyrdom, the perfect configuration of the martyr to Christ is by grace both achieved and revealed.

As we celebrate today the martyrdom of Saint Ralph Sherwin and his fellow Venerable alumni, we can see in the spirituality of martyrdom the primordial spirituality of all Christian life. “To all Jesus said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will find it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’” (Lk 9:23-25). Here Christ is addressing not only potential martyrs, but all of us.       Only the perfect image of God who is the Person of the Son could constitute the principle and pattern for the transformation and fulfilment of every human person who has ever lived. And the more we are conformed to his image, the more authentically to we become our true selves.

“The Christian ideal of sanctity emerges directly from the spirituality of martyrdom” (Pinckaers, 34). It is this profound truth that is not merely witnessed to but is actually realized and made manifest in the death of Christian martyrs. To become sharers in the communion of divine life, we must become like the Son so that the Father sees and loves in us what he sees and loves in Christ. We become conformed to Christ in order to be “at home” in the shared life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Above all, “if you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:13). Certainly during episodes of suffering, trial and self-denial, but not only in them, taking up the cross each day encompasses the whole of every Christian’s life. Throughout this continuous sequela Christi, the Holy Spirit is at work shaping in us—Christian martyrs and all the rest of us as well—a transformation that is finally nothing less than a perfect configuration to Christ. This is the meaning of Christian sanctification.

Rightly could  say Origen to his community in Alexandria: “I have no doubt that in this community there are a number of Christians—God alone knows them—who before him, according to the testimony of their consciences, are already martyrs, who are ready, as soon as it is asked of them, to shed their blood for Christ. I have no doubt that there are amongst us many who have already taken their cross upon themselves and have followed him” (Hom. In Num. 10:2). And rightly too may a preacher make Origen’s words his own today in the chapel of the Pontifical Seminary of Martyrs. “Your feast day is not indeed in the calendar,” declared St. Augustine,  “but your crown is ready and waiting for you” (Sermon 306E).

Image: Stained glass window of St. Ralph Sherwin.

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The 1st Sunday of Advent

12/01/2017 - 7:09pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. John Baptist Hoang, O.P. discuss how the season of Advent can help us prepare for the birth of Our Savior.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Gerard van Honthorst — Adoration of the Shepherds

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Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

11/22/2017 - 5:50pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Donald Haggerty of the Archdiocese of New York, discuss the readings for the Feast of Christ the King and Fr. Donald’s latest book, “Conversion.”

You can listen to the broadcast here.

Image: This statue of Christ the King is from the reredos of the Dominican church of St. Vincent Ferrer in NYC.
Photo: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

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Come, Share Your Master’s Joy

11/19/2017 - 3:54pm

On this week’s Word to Life Podcast, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Luke Hoyt, O.P. reflect on the joy of living life in and with God. Additionally, today (11/19) is the World Day of the Poor—you learn more about this initiative here.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Joyful Dominicans

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Parable of the Ten Virgins

11/11/2017 - 9:43pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Sebastian White, O.P., chaplain at NYU’s Catholic Center, discuss the readings for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

You can listen to the podcast here.

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Common Priesthood of All Believers

11/04/2017 - 8:55pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. welcomes Fr. Augustine Dada from Ondo, Nigeria who is currently serving in the Archdiocese of New York. Our hosts discuss the “common priesthood of all believers” and the readings for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: John Singer Sargent — Padre Sebastiano

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Saint Jude: Patron of the Impossible Causes

10/27/2017 - 3:09pm

On this special San Francisco edition of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. is joined by two fellow Dominican Friars from the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus: Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P., Pastor of St. Dominic’s Church and Fr. Dismas Sayre, O.P., Director of the Saint Jude Shrine in San Francisco.

On today’s podcast, the friars discuss the readings for tomorrow’s Feast of Sts. Simon & Jude and elaborate on the history of devotion to Saint Jude, the Patron of Impossible Causes.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Saint Jude Shrine in San Fransisco

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All Saints’ Vigils Throughout the Province

10/23/2017 - 8:08pm

For nearly twenty years, the friars at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC have been hosting an annual Vigil of All Saints on October 31st. More recently, Dominicans in other cities have begun to host their own Vigils. This year, All Saints’ Vigils will take place in New York, Maryland, and Connecticut in addition to the District of Columbia. These gatherings usually feature hymns, psalms, readings from the lives and writings of the saints, and candle-lit processions accompanied by the Litany of the Saints.

In Washington, DC at the Dominican House of Studies, the Vigil will focus on the Witness of the Martyrs. The evening will feature readings by or about St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Peter of Verona, O.P. (also known as St. Peter Martyr), St. Maria Goretti, and Bl. Stanley Rother (the recently beatified first martyr from the US). Br. Isaiah Beiter, O.P. will preach.

In New York City at the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena, the Vigil will feature readings by or about several saints of the modern world: Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., Venerable Solanus Casey, O.F.M. Cap., Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and St. John Paul II. After each reading, musical settings of the Ave Maria from the time and place of each saint will be sung. Fr. Agustino, C.F.R. will preach at the Vigil.

In Baltimore, MD, the Vigil will take place at Sts. Philip and James University Parish.

In New Haven, CT at St. Joseph Church (part of the Dominican parish of St. Mary), the Vigil will be focused on the theme “Ascent to Glory.” All You Saints of God: Pray for us!

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Render unto Caesar

10/20/2017 - 6:30pm

This edition of the Word to Life Podcast welcomes back from Nashville, TN special guests Fr. Charlie Strobel founder of Room In The Inn and the Campus for Human Development homeless and poor outreach apostolate as well as playwrite and producer Jim Reyland and actor Barry Scott. We will be discussing the play Stand, now in its third tour since 2012. Written by Jim Reyland to portray the befriending of the homeless and addicted man “Johnny” played by Barry Scott. Our conversation is in light of the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time’s Gospel, how we can take a Stand against the plague of homelessness in our modern day and age.

For more information:

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Domingos Sequeira — Caesar’s Coin (1790)

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Centennial of the Founding of St. Pius V Parish

10/18/2017 - 9:41am

On October 15, 2017, the Parish of St. Pius V in Providence, RI began their celebration of the Centennial of the founding of the Parish. The Very Reverend Kenneth Letoile, O.P., preached the following homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. (An audio version is also available here.)

Brothers and Sisters, it is a great joy for me to be with you today as we officially inaugurate the centenary celebration of the founding of St. Pius V parish. I would like to thank your pastor, Fr. Augustine Judd, for extending a gracious invitation to me to preside and preach on this special occasion. Along with all of us, it is a welcome opportunity for me to give thanks to God for calling my family to this “Holy Mountain” in 1953. For 60 years of the 100 we celebrate,  my family experienced the loving care of the Good Shepherd here at St. Pius V Parish.

While today’s gospel has its challenges for this occasion, it also has a backdrop of profound beauty: the symbol of the wedding banquet. It speaks of God’s eternal desire to be united with us in a loving, intimate and life-giving union. The mysterious guest without the wedding garment (the garment is a symbol of being clothed in Christ at baptism) rejects the effusive, extravagant love of his host. Contrary to this rejection, our patron saint, Pius V, our location in the city of Providence and our spiritual legacy as a parish and school served by the Order of Preachers, has, for 100 years enabled the parishioners of St. Pius to joyfully accept the Kings’s invitation and gladly put on the Lord Jesus Christ in word and loving deed. Let’s look at each.

Our Patron Saint

As we enter our church, there is a striking mosaic of St. Pius V praying the rosary for victory of the Christian forces in the Battle of Lepanto, Oct. 7, 1571. As you undoubtedly recall from my 75th anniversary homily, I wonder if the fact that our parish was founded near the end of  World War I was the reason that Pope St. Pius V was the Dominican saint chosen to be our patron.

His patronage conveyed the promise of victory and peace through fervent prayer. St. Pius had asked all of Christian Europe to pray the rosary. October 7th then became the feast of the Holy Rosary, the rosary that is beautifully proclaimed in our radiant stained glass window. What our patron saint teaches us, then is the central importance of turning to God in prayer to sustain us in all the struggles, challenges and mysteries of our lives. When we do so, we experience God fulfilling his promise in today’s first reading:  “On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils al peoples… He will wipe away the tears of every face.” For one hundred years our brothers and sisters have followed the example of St. Pius V and have experienced in this parish a peace the world cannot give.

The City Where We Serve

Parishes are located in every corner of God’s world and each setting provides its own set of gifts and challenges. (We continue to remember those whose parishes are still trying to recover from the natural disasters of recent weeks.) Ours, of course, is a city parish, which at this time makes these words of St. Paul from today’s second reading apt: “I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.” St. Pius was a parish of abundance before I-95 changed the demographics of Rhode Island in the late 50s. The parish I lived in during my early years at St. Pius school had the people and resources to put twelve different kinds of Italian marble and life-sized mosaics depicting the stations of the cross in our beautiful church. After I-95 was built, suburban churches received many of those parishioners and resources. But here is an important silver lining in this demographic change. St. Paul puts it this way: “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Notice, the invitees with the farm and business rejected the king’s invitation. At this time in our parish’s history we recognize more easily the truth of our radical dependence on the “glorious riches of Jesus Christ” and so we are eager to come in from the streets of our city so that God can gift us with the wedding garment of his Son. Isn’t that what Providence means?

The Order of Preachers

For one hundred years now, Dominican friars and sisters, members of the Order of Preachers, have responded to the call of the Good Shepard to care for the people of St. Pius Parish and school. In 1216, St Dominic, represented by this beautiful statue to my left, founded his Order to bring the light, clarity and challenge of God’s  saving truth to the church of his time. All of us who wear his white habit strive to continue his mission today. But I would like to expand our usual understanding of what it means to be a preacher to include all of us, ordained, consecrated religious and laity alike, who call St. Pius our spiritual home. To broaden our call to preach, we can look to the servants in the gospel. They are the ones who make the connection between the gracious king and the potential guests. They speak the words of invitation, first rejected and then accepted. To be a Dominican parish, then, means to realize our call to serve our King by extending his invitation to all we meet. In 1988, a year before I was assigned to St. Pius, St. John Paul II wrote these words: “The lay faithful precisely because they are members of the church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the gospel” (Christifideles Laici, 33). These words do not refer to pulpit preaching, but to the reality that the laity who share in the charism of St. Dominic are called to be the bridge to Jesus’ marriage banquet  for those who do not know him or who have grown indifferent. We need to have the courage to raise the faith question and extend the invitation trusting that we are sent by our loving God to all of his beloved children with deeds and words of love, compassion and concern.


By way of conclusion, then, my prayer is that the  intersession and example of St Pius V, our mission field in the  city of Providence and our shared legacy in the Order of Preachers  will send us forth into this centenary year with the grace to make the words of St. Paul in today’s second reading our own: “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”

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Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau Receives Ave Maria Dissertation Prize

10/18/2017 - 9:25am

Fr. Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., recently visited Ave Maria University in Florida to receive the 2016 Dissertation Prize from the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal:

Fr. Aquinas’ dissertation “Charles De Koninck’s Defense of the Primacy of the Common Good”, is essentially a commentary on the important work of Charles De Koninck written in defense of the common good as the highest kind of good.

Fr. Aquinas gave students and faculty a presentation on his dissertation research and summarized the question at stake as “Is the particular good subject to the common good or vice versa”. De Koninck gave a trenchant defense that the particular good is subject to the common good, and Fr. Aquinas, in turn, defends De Koninck’s account.

Fr. Aquinas shares this honor with two other friars of the Province of St. Joseph: Fr. John Baptist Ku, O.P., who received the prize in 2010, and Fr. Dominic Langevin, O.P., who received it in 2013.

Congratulations, Fr. Aquinas!

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The Centenary of the Miracle of the Sun

10/13/2017 - 5:10pm

Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Thomas More Garrett, O.P. host today’s episode of Word to Life. Topics include: the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun, the Parable of the Great Banquet, and the St. John Paul II Society.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Pope Francis & Our Lady of Fatima

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Our Lady of the Rosary

10/13/2017 - 4:25pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR discuss the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the readings for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Caravaggio — Madonna of the Rosary

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The Feast of Holy Father Francis

10/11/2017 - 1:52pm

On this episode of Word to Life, Fr. John Maria Devaney, O.P. & Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR discuss the traditions surrounding the Feast of Holy Father St. Francis. Additionally, we hear a snippet of Fr. Stan’s song for Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Image: Fra Angelico — The Meeting of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis of Assisi

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St. Louis Bertrand and the Martyrdom of Moving

10/09/2017 - 1:10pm

Today the Dominican Order celebrated the feast of St. Louis Bertrand. In this reflection, Fr. Louis Bertrand Lemoine, O.P. highlights an important aspect of his patron saint’s legacy. Fr. Louis Bertrand presently serves as a Parochial Vicar at St. Louis Bertrand Church in Louisville, KY.

St. Louis Bertrand is most often remembered as a great missionary, or perhaps for the miracles he performed, or as one who embraced penance. However, he is less remembered for suffering one of the more banal forms of martyrdom — the martyrdom of moving.

Louis began his life in Spain, and then had a fruitful ministry as a missionary in the New World. However, he was not meant to finish his days there; instead, he returned to Spain, and there lived the rest of his life.

St. Louis Bertrand’s extraordinary renown as a missionary should not obscure another key facet of his sanctity — his patient suffering in the face of having to move to different assignments.

The martyrdom of moving involves no bloodshed, no pagan magistrates, and none of the other usual elements of Christian martyrdom. However, it is a martyrdom nonetheless, since moving to a new assignment always involves dying.

Even though St. Louis Bertrand desired to enter the missionary field, we can nonetheless imagine the ways he suffered as a result of leaving his native land, the place when he began his religious life, and his loved ones, to undertake an arduous journey to an uncertain future. Then, when he returned to Spain, he had to leave behind the scores of people he had baptized, and for whom he no doubt had developed great affection. How could he not suffer — he was a spiritual father leaving behind thousands of children.

This martyrdom of moving is more or less inevitable in the way of life St. Dominic left to St. Louis Bertrand and all his sons. Dominican itinerancy seems exciting to the inexperienced, in the way a young person might get excited at the prospect of joining the Navy to “see the world.”

However, like the poisonous draught served to Louis, Dominicans for 800 years have found the itinerancy of our life to be a bitter drink at times, made harder to stomach by the hiddenness of its sufferings. In the history of the Church, some have even fled the religious life just to avoid reassignment.

Yes, moving is a martyrdom. I remember one friar preaching at a Mass on his final weekend before departing for a new assignment. To many loved ones whom he had grown to know and love over the course of his assignment, he said quite simply, “It’s hard for us, too.” It’s hard to leave those whom you love; it’s hard to die to your own dreams for your vocation; it’s hard to leave behind a loving community of the faithful, and to become a stranger yet again.

But if moving is a martyrdom, then it must also be a seed that bears fruit. If it is suffered with love, then it is another way to “fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church,” as St. Paul would say. St. Louis Bertrand suffered his itinerancy with love, and with zeal for the souls of the New World.

In some ways, the most banal sufferings in life are the hardest to bear. Yet, those who suffer the martyrdom of moving do not suffer alone. How many other countless Dominicans, over these past 800 years, have also suffered the martyrdom of moving in silence?

Yet, if we suffer when we move, then it means that the way of life left to us St. Dominic is working. The point of religious life is to teach us to love, and if it hurts to leave those whom we serve, then we have begun to learn how to love.

Photo: St. Louis Bertrand (left) in the Colonade of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

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Dominican Cooperator Brother Formation

10/04/2017 - 10:45am

Introduction on Cooperator Brotherhood

Check out a great article recently published in Catholic World Report.

Read about famous Dominican Blesseds and Saints who were cooperator brothers.


Preaching the Gospel to the whole world Do you have a desire to intensify your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to share this relationship in service to your brothers and sisters in Christ in the world today? Are you interested in being poor, joyful, disciplined, learned, rooted in prayer and eager to live the life of a Dominican cooperator brother? Are you interested in joining us in continuing the great tradition of the Dominican Order through contemplation and sharing the fruits of that contemplation in service to others? Are you ready to take the risk of following the path and vision of St. Dominic in order to spread the Gospel message of true compassion and healing wherever people are in need? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, God may be calling you to become a Dominican cooperator brother   Who Are We? Dominican Cooperator Brothers in the Order of Friars Preachers are men consecrated to the Word whose vocation is rooted in and given full expression through Solemn Profession. We are men who have freely, without condition or limitation, heard and responded to God’s call to come preach with Him. We believe that our lived expression of the Dominican vocation, through the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, is centered in, and radically dependent, on a common life devoted to prayer and liturgy, study and scholarship, preaching and other ministries, and especially by caring for one another in community. We are committed, courageous, free, happy and in the process of being perfected by God’s grace. We freely endure suffering and loss and willingly become vulnerable in our personal transformation in order to cooperate with God’s Word and then share this Word with our brothers in community and with the world. We are inheritors of Dominic’s vision and the charism of our Order. We model the life and ministry of Saints like Martin dePorres and Juan Macias who cared for their brothers and the unwanted of their day. Our Dominican vocation:  What does it mean to have a vocation as a Dominican cooperator brother?  The vocation of the Dominican brother is at the very core of  Dominican life. Modeled after St. Dominic, our life is:
  • centered in our universal call to holiness and our mission within that call to bring ourselves and others into an intimate relationship with Jesus.
  • a mystery unfolding which provides a unique witness that all Dominican friars, both ordained and non-ordained, are first and foremost consecrated religious bound together as “friars” (brothers) by our common religious profession.
  • through our vows, the means by which we become full inheritors of St. Dominic’s vision and unrestricted sharers in the charism of his Order. What is unique about the ministry of the Dominican Cooperator Brother? Our ministry is joined with that of our priest-brothers,
  • the dynamic expression of St. Dominic’s vision. It empowers us to enter into the lives of people and travel to places wherever the Holy Preaching is desperately needed.
  • exciting, challenging and life-giving because it is imbued and driven by the power of God’s Word. Our lifelong commitment through the vows and regular observance together with  our various ministries cooperate with this Word to transform our hearts and minds, as well as those of our brothers in community, and all those to whom they are sent.
  • preaching from many pulpits, Brothers respond not merely with words – but with the Word of God that lives in our hearts.  We are called by Divine Providence to be contemplative preachers in the Third Millennium and are, by profession, committed and obligated to the Holy Preaching, to one another and to the whole world.
The Formation Program for Cooperator Brothers: The formation program for men who are called to Dominican life and ministry as Cooperator Brothers consists of several phases: The Aspirancy This provides the opportunity for interested men to discern their vocation while remaining at home and in their current employment or career activities. The length of this phase depends on the needs of the individual and the assessment by the Director of Vocations. During this phase, suitable aspirants are invited to formally apply for admission to the Province. CLICK HERE FOR ASPIRANCY GUIDELINES The Novitiate If the aspirant is accepted by the vocation council and provincial, a two week residential program immediately precedes the beginning of the Novitiate.The Novitiate is the formal beginning of Dominican life during which the novice comes to a better understanding of his vocation as a Dominican Cooperator Brother, the nature of Dominican life and ministry, liturgy and prayer, and the history of the Order.  The novice is clothed with the Dominican habit at the beginning of the Novitiate. At the conclusion of this one year period the novice petitions for permission to make Simple Profession of Vows, for a period up to three years. Ministry Formation Program This builds on the foundation began in the Novitiate and focuses on the continued preparation for community life and ministry. Student cooperator brothers will participate with student clerical brothers in a common formation program for Dominican life and mission under the direction of the Master of Students and his assistants that includes preaching, the common life, study, spiritual direction, living the evangelical counsels, liturgy and prayer, and pastoral competencies and behaviors of public ministers.. The specific formation program for ministries of cooperator brothers, i.e. preaching, community and professional (described below), is under the direction of the Master of Cooperator Brothers who is charged with the responsibility to assess the interests and competencies of the Brothers and to facilitate their preparation for ministry in collaboration with the Master of Students, the Prior Provincial and the Regent of Studies. The Ministry Formation Program extends for five years following the completion of the Novitiate. Three years following First Profession of Vows, Brothers petition again to make Solemn Profession which binds them to the Order for life. Ministries of Cooperators Brothers: Responding to the mission and needs of the Province of St. Joseph, the Church and the talents of the brother, three options for ministries may be pursued:
  • 1. Preaching Ministries: religious education programs, catechetical formation, campus and parochial ministries, retreats and workshops, lay evangelization, pastoral counseling;
  • 2. Community Ministries: financial management and supervision, maintenance and services of buildings and properties, health care of the brothers, food service management, sacristans, musicians, liturgical planners, stewards of devotional shrines;
  • 3. Professional Ministries: social work, counseling, health care services, administration and management, teaching, pastoral administration, communications media and the internet, artistic design.

Come Preach with us 

For nearly eight hundred years, Dominican Cooperator Brothers, impelled with the power and grace of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity, have followed the vision of St. Dominic and “gone forth into the whole world to proclaim the good news to all creation” (Mk 16:25). As Dominican Cooperator Brothers we freely and generously bring to others the gifts of our presence and our lives vowed to the Order’s mission of evangelization through preaching. The greatest gift we as Dominican Cooperator Brothers are privileged to bring to the encounter with others is the very person of Jesus in the Eucharist made flesh in them. In your discernment please listen patiently, pray persistently, then come and preach with us!

+ click here for how to prepare to enter

(A Personal Message from Fr. Benedict Croell OP, Director of Vocations)

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Knowledge of Self and Knowledge of God

09/29/2017 - 9:43am

Fr. Carleton Jones, O.P., recently gave a lecture at the Church of St. Thomas Apostle in Washington, DC on “Knowledge of Self and Knowledge of God in St. Catherine of Siena and Bl. John Henry Newman.” The lecture, sponsored by the DC Oratorians in Formation, was part of a series titled Newman and the Church Today, exploring the legacy of the great 19th century Oratorian. To listen to Fr. Jones’s talk, click here.

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St. John Paul II Society Events in New York City

09/29/2017 - 9:34am

The St. John Paul II Society, a spiritual society under the care of the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph, is sponsoring several events at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York City in the month of October.

On Wednesday, October 11, at 7:30 pm, the St. John Paul II Society will host a Holy Hour together with the Frassati Fellowship of NYC. Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator of St. John Paul II’s cause for canonization, will preach. Relics of Fatima visionary St. Jacinta Marto, a piece of the dress she wore during the apparition and a bandage from her final illness, will be presented for veneration together with a relic of St. John Paul II.

On Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 pm, the Society will host a Mass for the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer. The Mass will be celebrated by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bernardito C. Auza, Titular Archbishop of Suacia and Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator of St. John Paul II’s cause for canonization, will preach.

Beginning on October 13, the Society will sponsor a novena of Masses leading up to the Feast of St. John Paul II on October 22. Intentions may be added to the novena here.

An exhibition of the works of Dominican priest and sculptor Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P, will be on display at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer through October 15. The exhibit includes four pieces permanently present in the church as well as a special display of maquettes related to McGlynn’s statue of Our Lady of Fatima on loan from Providence College. Fr. Thomas McGlynn, O.P., 1906-1977 was a Dominican Priest and trained sculptor who viewed his art as part of his apostolic mission. The exhibit, sponsored by the St. John Paul II Society and made possible through the cooperation of Providence College, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and the dedication of the Shrine of the St. John Paul II Society.

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