"Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me!" Mt. 19:21

"Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me!" Mt. 19:21

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Parents Weekend in the Novitiate (Part II) - God's Grace at Work

Please read first "Parents Weekend in the Novitiate (Part I)."

Song is "Roll Away Your Stone" by Mumford & Sons
Please say a prayer for our novices and for Dominican Vocations.


Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we can find
Don’t leave me alone at this time,
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside
You told me that I would find a home,
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal,
And all the while my character it steals
The darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
It seems as if all my bridges have been burned,
You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive at the restart
The darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
The darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
The darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I seek
Stars hide your fires,
And these here are my desires
And I will give them up to you this time around
And so, I’ll be found with my steak stuck in this ground
Marking its territory of this newly impassioned soul
But you, you’ve come too far this time
You have neither reason nor rhyme
With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine

Friday, October 28, 2011

Future Persecution of the Church?

Last August my eight classmates and I went on retreat for five days in preparation for solemn vows.   The retreat master, a Dominican priest, posed the question of whether or not we would be willing to go to jail for the sake of the Gospel. This was a serious question.  Others are also asking the same.

Russell Shaw has just written a piece entitled: "Are we seeing the beginning of religious persecution in America?"  He points out how the government is backing certain ideas and supporting legal cases that could make it difficult for the Church to operate as she currently does.

As Catholics, and religious in particular (and for those of you considering a vocation to the Order of Preachers), this should make us pause and consider our motivations in following Christ and how far we will go in order to do this.  If the government were to legally declare the Catholic Church as discriminatory because of non-ordination of women to the priesthood or any number of other issues...what might happen?

As we preach to people in our parishes, campus ministries, hospitals, Providence College, etc., we have to wonder where they will stand.  Will they hear the Church's teachings and listen to the Lord speaking through the mouth of the preacher?  Will they stand up for the freedom of religion and for the right to believe in Truth?  How will we help them to hear the truth of the Gospel?

This issue may be intensifying (as both Archbishop Dolan's words and the verdict of the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case seem to indicate).  Are we ready?

"Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"  (1 Cor. 9:16)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parents Weekend in the Novitiate (Part I)

The Dominican Constitutions say:  "The novitiate is time of probation during which the novices come to understand more clearly the nature of a divine and Dominican vocation." (#177)  

Certainly there are challenges and trials both in community and personally as the novice friar "puts on Christ" and takes the new identity of a friar preacher. It is a deepening of his Baptismal consecration and a concrete, year-long preparation to profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience - to be more closely consecrated to Christ for the sake of the Gospel.

Say a prayer for the 2011 Novitiate class
That being said, for one weekend during our canonical year of novitiate (two weekends this year since there are so many novices), parents come to visit to see their sons for the first time in the habit of our Holy Father St. Dominic.  It is a time of great joy for the parents/family to be brought into the larger Dominican family. 

Here one of the fathers joins two of the novices to provide entertainment for the families after Mass last Sunday in the refectory.  For the second parents' weekend and the brothers below singing "Roll Away Your Stone" from Mumford & Sons click here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From the Lives of the Brethren: The Fruit of the Blessed Virgin’s Prayers


During our formal meals at the Dominican House of Studies, we have a reading during part of the meal. Last night, we began reading the Lives of the Brethren, which is a whole host of stories about the founding of the Order, St. Dominic (1 and 2), Bl. Jordan, the development of the Order, and the departure of the brethren through death.

The whole work begins with a ‘tribute’ to the Blessed Virgin Mary describing how the Order of Preachers came to be due to her powerful intercession. It is a beautiful story, and is still true in our own day and age:


“It is clear from a careful study of holy Scripture, that the blessed Virgin is a compassionate advocate and powerful helper of mankind. By her prayers the fire of God's wrath kindled against sinners is tempered lest they perish, and countless blessings are showered down upon the world. Rightly therefore is she compared to a cloud between the consuming fire of God's justice and guilty man, softening by her tender influence the heat of his wrath. She is a vessel of loving kindness; and God allows his ire against sinners to be appeased through her and pours forth by her the waters of his compassion in blessings. One of the examples of this is the fact, revealed to many of God's servants, that this great Order was raised up by Almighty God's mercy for the salvation of souls, through her all-prevailing intercession.

Before the Order [of Preachers] had as yet sprung up, a certain monk, a man of upright and holy life according to the rule of his Order, during three whole days and nights was rapt in ecstasy, scarcely giving token of feeling or life. While his brethren and bystanders were considering what should be done, he regained consciousness as if waking from a deep sleep. When all asked in wonder what had been amiss, and whether he had seen any marvel, he gave no reply but this: ‘I was a little while in ecstasy,’ whereas he had been so during three days and nights, nor would he for a long while mention what had been shown him. Some years later, when our Order had obtained a sure footing, and our brethren were scattered abroad on their ministry, two of them chanced to come into the neighborhood to preach. On beholding them this monk began to make diligent enquiries as to their Order, name, and manner of life, since their habit was new to him. Their preaching being over, he drew them aside, and summoning other wise and sober persons, spoke thus to them: ‘I feel, brethren, that the hour is come for me to reveal the secrets which the Lord was pleased in his goodness to unfold to me and about which I have hitherto been silent, for I now see that they have come to pass.

During the time that I was caught up in rapture I saw our Lady, Mary the Mother of God, during those three days and nights, upon bended knees and with clasped hands, pleading with her Son on behalf of mankind, and beseeching him to forbear yet a while that the world might repent. But although during all that time he spoke never a word, at length upon the third day he yielded and made answer: 'My own Mother, what can I, or what ought I to do further for the race of men? I sent them patriarchs for their salvation, and for a brief space of time they gave ear unto them; I sent them prophets, and for a while they did penance. After that I myself went unto them, and I gave them apostles, but me they crucified and them they killed. I have since sent them martyrs, confessors, and doctors, and many more, yet despite their toil the world has not amended; nevertheless, at thy prayer -- for it is not beseeming that I deny thee aught -- I will send unto them preachers and men of truth, through whom the world shall be enlightened and reclaimed. If it so prove, it is well; but if not, there remains no further remedy, but I will myself come in judgment and be avenged upon them.’”


May the Lord continue to raise up “men of truth” in the Order of Preachers “through whom the world shall be enlightened and reclaimed.”

Our Lady, Queen of Preachers, pray for us!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dominican House of Studies Offers Training in Dominican Rite







Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, O.P. who is currently studying for a degree in Canon Law at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum), has been with us here in Washington DC to offer some tutorials for the student brothers and for the priests to learn to celebrate the Dominican rite of the Mass.

If you click below it will take you to the story on our provincial website with more photos from the tutorial and the Mass itself.








Dominican Saints 101: Bl. Agnes of Jesus

Because of the launch of the new Provincial website, the posts on "Dominican Saints 101" will now be posted on the provincial website.  I'll make sure to include a link to them on this site too.  I'm also in the process of moving the older Dominican Saints posts to the provincial blog.  But, likewise, they will also have a link here.

That being said, enjoy the newest post on Bl. Agnes of Jesus.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Upcoming OP Events & "On the Road Again!"

Happy Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist!  I wanted to alert you all to some excellent events to learn more about the Dominicans and a possible vocation.  (in case you missed my last letter to the men discerning with us, here it is)

October 21-22, 2011  Thomistic Circles:  Christian Marriage - Nature & Sacrament 
Some excellent scholars from great institutions throughout the world will be here to talk & discuss this important topic.  You might be asking: "Why would the vocation director for the Dominicans be suggesting that I attend a conference on marriage?!  Well Blessed John Paul II once said somewhere:  "When I was a seminarian I came to love marital love." This later would find great fruit in his writing the Theology of the Body.  Most of the men who come to us would also make excellent husbands & fathers. The renewal of Christian Marriage should be a high priority for any preacher of the Word!

October 31, 2011  Vigil of All Saints at 7:30PM
Arrive early, last year some 400 young adults/people were here. It is an inspiring Christian alternative to Halloween. Join us as we honor the Saints (including some Dominicans) with the Readings, Night Prayer (compline & some Dominican chant), Reliquary Procession, & the Litany of the Saints. Priests will be available for Confessions. Light refreshments follow...and usually there is a lot of good food as well!

December 2-4, 2011  Vocation Weekend
We have just a handful of spaces left.  It is a great opportunity to meet our friars, to pray with us and learn more about a vocation to the Order of Preachers.


Activities of the Vocation Director
1) This week we are doing the first of our official training for the Dominican Rite for our friars here at the Dominican House of Studies.  
2) This weekend I am off to Cincinnati once again to attend a young adult conference (Oct. 22) after celebrating Mass and speaking to the college Knights of Columbus at George Washington University (Oct. 21).  My talk will be: A Knight's Sword: Our Lady's Rosary.  The K of C are an excellent organization that you should consider joining.  Fr. Michael McGiveney, their founder, is buried in our Dominican church, St. Mary's in New Haven, CT.  (Sunday Oct. 23 I will celebrate/preach the 12:30PM Mass at St. Gertrude in Cincinnati)
3) Sunday, October 30 at Holy Name Church in Columbus, Ohio I will be celebrating and preaching the 10AM Mass for the students from Ohio State University.  After the Mass the Ann Arbor Dominican Sisters and I will be giving a presentation to the students on the Dominican Spiritual Life.
4) I will be at the All Saints Vigil on October 31. A few men aspiring from Franciscan University and Columbia University will be staying with us that night. If you would like to come let me know now.
5) November 1-5 I will be the supply priest at our parish, St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville, Ohio.
6) November 5-6 I will be helping with Masses at our university parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlottesville, VA.
7) November 8-10 I will be at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Fairfax, VA to preach their 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion.
8) November 9 I will be doing the 5PM Mass at George Mason University.
9) November 13 I will be doing the 5PM student Mass at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  The Ann Arbor Sisters & I will be speaking to the students about Dominican life afterwards.
10) November 17 I will be doing the Serra Club Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral and giving them a talk about how to promote vocations.
11) November 19 I will do the 4:30PM Vigil Mass at Nativity of our Lord in Broomfield, Colorado (my hometown!) with a Reunion for all Alumni of Nativity of Our Lord School right after.


Please keep me in your prayers as I do each of you!  Here also is our latest update from our office of advancement which serves also as a good update of what has been happening in our province.  In case you missed it I just returned from a trip to Nashville and back through our province with stops in Steubenville, OH & Wilmington, DE.  If you would like to meet with me, give me a call - the 800 number also rings my mobile.  By the way, I have already begun to do application interviews.  If you feel the Lord might be calling you to enter our next novitiate class, let's talk!
On the Road Again!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Update from the Novitiate

Happy Feast of St. Teresa of Avila!


I was recently at our novitiate at St. Gertrude in Cincinnati.  We had a group of students from a Catholic school in Kentucky who had a talk with some of the novices about the Dominicans.  The others were away for their ministry which starts two months into the novitiate one day a week for a few hours. Please pray for our novices that the Lord might make them Preachers of the Word!


Yesterday I was at Franciscan University of Steubenville for their annual vocation fair with some 80 religious communities and dioceses from all over the US.  

I am currently at our parish, St. Patrick's in Columbus, Ohio. Tomorrow I will go to Bowling Green State University for Masses and talk and then Monday to Delaware for an application interview and then back to DC on October 18.  Please say a prayer for our efforts!

If you would like to come visit us or come for the All Saints Vigil on October 31, please do let me know.  We also still have a few spaces left for the December 2-4, 2011 vocation weekend.  From our last vocation weekend, you will find Fr. Basil's excellent talk on Sacred Study as an Observance.

In case you missed my last email to the men discerning with us, here you will find my last letter.

Did you know our Province has a Facebook page?  And I just started a Dominican Vocations FB page.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sacred Study with Fr. Basil Cole

On Saturday, Oct. 1, Fr. Basil Cole, OP, Prior of of St. Gertrude Priory and Professor of Theology at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinnati, gave a talk at the vocations weekend titled: "Sacred Study as a Religious Observance in the Dominican Tradition."
He especially highlighted the connection between study, contemplation, and preaching - which flow one to the next and the next and then back again - as being interrelated and interdependent.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dominican Saints 101: St. Louis Bertrand

Please check out Bro. Peter Martyr's post on St. Louis Bertrand by clicking on the image which will take you to our new provincial website located at:  www.DominicanFriars.org

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Website for the Province of St. Joseph

On this Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, you will notice the new website for the Province of St. Joseph.  Fr. Gabriel Gillen OP also shows what is possible when you have an IPad!  Please say a prayer for our friars' efforts on the world wide web and Kindly Light Media. There is new content being posted each day. The basic information about vocations will continue to be posted on this new site and new stories of interest on the "Dominican Daily" (scroll down to bottom of website & enter your email).

Also just to let you know, my blog here will continue to have different content and be more directed to those who are actively discerning a vocation to Dominicans.  Both our Provincial website (www.DominicanFriars.org) and this blog BOTH would be important to follow and will help you to learn more about the Order of Preachers.

Please say a prayer also for our efforts on the vocations front!  
1) We had our Kentucky vocations event last night with the Nashville Dominican Sisters.  
2) Today we went to celebrate the Dominican Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary at Holy Angels Academy in Louisville. 
3) Today I am en route to visit my nephews at Vanderbilt in Nashville and to help Fraternus with a Youth retreat this weekend.  I will also be visiting the Nashville Dominican Sisters' Motherhouse.
4) We have our New England Vocation event on October 11 at Boston College with Fr. Nicanor Austriaco OP and Fr. Romanus Cessario OP & and the same night Fr. Thomas Joseph White OP will be speaking about St. Dominic & "The Radicality of Living the Gospel in the World" at Theology on Tap in our Nation's Capital.
5) I will be going to the Franciscan University of Steubenville Vocation Day on October 14.
6) Then on October 16, I will be speaking at Bowling Green State University's Catholic campus ministry at their "Going Deeper" series on consecrated religious life and the special relation that a priest & religious has to the Church.
7) On October 17, Fr. James Brent OP will speak on "How Angels & Demons affect Relationships" at Theology on Tap in Old Town Alexandria (Arlington Diocese).
8) I will be stopping along the way at our parishes in Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus and Youngstown. If you would like to talk, give me a call!   (mobile: 202-642-3597)
9) Today I offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for all of you and your intentions. Thank you for your prayers for vocations.

Dominican Saints 101: Our Lady of the Rosary

This post has now been moved to the Provincial Blog.  Enjoy.