Microsoft Word - August 4-6 Flyer.docx

International Congress for the Mission of the Dominican Order

From January 17th through the 21st, over 600 members of the Dominican Family from all over the world joined together to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the order, to reflect on the past and think towards the future mission of the order. The congress brought together people of all different walks of life, languages, cultures, ages, ideas and beliefs. All parts of the Dominican Family were present in order to discuss and reflect on the theme phrase “Sent to Preach the Gospel”. The conference aimed not to answer questions, but to create conversation and spark contemplation and to generate new questions about what mission means in the 21st century and for future focus and direction.

Each day, the prayer was shared in a different language, and although the words may have been foreign, the spirit of the prayer was understood by all. The language barriers were broken down by this spirit of community.

The three main days of the conference broke down the phrase “Sent to Preach the Gospel”. Each day a different word from the phrase was brought into focus. The first day focused around the word GOSPEL, the second around the word PREACH, and the third around the word SENT.

2Rome pic 1Each day keynote addresses were given by members and friends of the family to spark discussion during the small group workshops. People from throughout the world were broken up into smaller language groups to discuss the theme for the day within the context of their focus and ministry. At days end, the members of the congress returned together to take part in a panel discussion. This involved hearing from presenters and giving members of the congress, as well as those around the world watching via live stream video, opportunity to respond to the presenters and ask questions.

On the first day of the conference, we focused on naming the issues that face the world today and how Dominicans can respond to these “signs of the times” The keynote address of the first day revolved around seeing each human as a “gospel and sacred text” and to interact with humanity in a way that allows us to bring God to those we meet. These discussions will serve as a focus for serious reflection in the coming months by the scientific committee and will be published to allow for future contemplation of these issues. After the panel discussion, the congress moved together throughout Rome on a pilgrimage to the evenings mass being celebrated in Santa Sabina.

Roem pic 3Day 2 focused on preaching utilizing the Media, Non-Governmental Officials, Preaching as Dialogue, and Education. The keynote address stressed how preaching is an encounter with the other, and the formal and informal nature of preaching through body language and common conversation. As a show of interreligious community and dialogue, members of the congress prayed with the Jewish community of Rome in the Roman Synagogue. This was a very inspiring and deeply powerful moment in the conference and spoke to the theme of humanity and connectedness that went throughout the congress.

Day 3 centered on the theme of being sent and what that means to each of us. The keynote address posed the questions, “To what are we sent? To where are we sent? What does it really mean to be sent?” Small group conversations focused on how we are each sent and where we are sent to. Fr. Bruno spoke on how being sent should be seen as a deep listening to the will of God and to watch, wait, and assist in the birth and rebirth of humanity.

In addition, Sister Luma Kudhar from Iraq and a Dominican Sister from Nigeria shared their stories of being sent and their responses to the signs of the times especially in areas filled with trouble and violence. These were some of the most powerful presentations of the congress and caused an overwhelming response of the congress members to stand and applaud showing the support and compassion of the international family and putting in perspective the real mission of the Dominican Order to find practical and new ways to bring the Gospel to the world.

Rme pic 4On workshop day, the focus was on reflection and prayer. The small group discussions centered on how each individual felt their call, how they feel they are being sent and what they heard and experienced throughout the conference. The panel on this day represented four different parts of the Dominican Family; Friars, Contemplative Nuns, Apostolic Sisters, and the Dominican Laity. Friar Bruno gave three convictions that should be kept; preaching, fraternity, and encounter. He said “The conviction of preaching is not limited to the liturgical homily, but is seen in different modes of expression to bring God who is longing to have a conversation with humanity and that preaching leads us to the heart of the world. It is in the encounter with the other where this conversation can be made, and this compels us to leave our bubbles and comforts with a sense of urgency to respond to the issues of the time.”

As part of this closing prayer, each individual wrote their feelings of being sent and where they are being called. These were collected and, as a closing ritual, each individual chose another person’s card in order to pray for his or her intentions of mission as we all prepared to return to our home communities and countries. This was a powerful exercise in communal prayer and the interconnectedness of the family and its reliance on the prayers of each other.

At the culmination of the congress, all members were invited to participate in a Papal Mass concelebrated by Dominican friars celebrating the closing of the 800th Jubilee of the Order. Over 2500 people were present from throughout the world to participate and pray together for the future of the order.  The spirit of community was alive and well and the discussions and conversations shared gave everyone great hope that the PREACHING DOES AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!

Submitted by: Andrew Abberton (Dominican Young Adult/Molloy Chapter)

Microsoft Word - August 4-6 Flyer.docx

Dominican Young Adults Siena Heights Chapter

Picture4The Adrian Dominican Young Adults worked in collaboration with Siena Heights University’s Campus Ministry Director, Tom Puszczewicz to provide blankets to the guests at Share the Warmth.

Share the Warmth is an ecumenical homeless shelter open nightly in Adrian, MI from October through April. The building belongs to the Salvation Army, but a collaboration of local churches make sure the shelter stays open.

The guests are men and women over 18 looking for a safe and warm place to stay overnight.  The shelter opens at 6:30 p.m. and averages 25 guests per night. The Dominican Young Adults organized a service project on campus for all students to help put together tie blankets for the center’s guests. Some students stopped by for a few moments while others stayed to see the project to completion.

This service opportunity is a great fit for the Siena community because it allows students to give whatever time they have available in an accessible area. The community looks forward to this service opportunity every year.

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Microsoft Word - August 4-6 Flyer.docx

El Salvador

For the past 4 years, employees and students from Dominican College in Blauvelt, New York and Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York have travelled to El Salvador to assist Dominican Sister of Amityville, Flor de Maria Buruca, in running a faith based camp for the children in the small village of Sol Naciente.  This year, January 2nd thru January 11th, 9 students and 4 employees once again had the privilege of participating in this life changing experience! 

20170102_175213Elizabeth Meittinis, a student from Molloy College and a member of Dominican Young Adult Molloy Chapter and the current Coordinator for Mission for DYA-USA was one of the students on the trip.  Forty five children, ages 3 to 12, attended this camp.  Some teenagers and adults from the community also participated as camp counselors and were a big help to all of us from the United States!! 

This faith based camp is deeply rooted in Dominican Life and Spirituality.  The theme for the camp was Catherine of Siena’s famous quote, “Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire!”  Each morning the children took time in song and prayer before being greeted by St. Catherine of Siena (played by a student from Molloy College) for the “religion lesson” for the day.  Each day focused on a different aspect of Catherine’s life.  The children were given homework assignments that corresponded with the focus for the day.  This short session always ended with the singing of “This Little Light of Mine” in English and in Spanish and with four short phrases, in English and in Spanish, taught to the students from both colleges by Dominican Sister of Blauvelt, Barbara McEneany.

The phrases “Raise the praise, Minimize the criticize, Increase the peace, and Silence the violence”, as well as the song, will be remembered by the children and the students as well!

20170106_142057After the opening session, the children were then divided into 3 groups and alternated going to music, arts and crafts and sports.  Each group had a student that was fluent in Spanish to act as a translator for the other students.  After lunch, all of the children participated in a Community Service Project.  This year the children helped to beautify the garden outside the chapel where the camp took place.  They gathered materials from around the neighborhood like plastic bottles and rocks and used these to create fences and enclosures for the plants.  What an example for those of us from the United States who tend to waste materials that can be used for other purposes!

The camp ended with a beautiful closing mass in which 4 children were baptized and 4 children received First Communion.  The chapel was decorated so beautifully by members of the Sol Naciente community.  At the end of the mass, the children who attended the camp all received certificates and the students and mentors from the colleges received a Dominican Cross and a beautiful plate with St. Catherine painted on it.  The tears flowed from all as we said good-bye to the children and the beautiful people of Sol Naciente!!!!

Besides the camp, each day we journeyed to different places in El Salvador and visited the people.  The highlight for all of us was the celebration of “Los Reyes”, the Three Kings!  The children from the small town of La Union led a procession through the streets to a house where mass was celebrated and then bags of food were distributed to the people.  The students helped in preparing these food bags the night before and in the distribution.  We also had a great time celebrating with the people dancing, singing and watching the children enjoy a piñata!

We also visited some of the historic places in El Salvador.  Visiting where Blessed Oscar Romero lived and was murdered, the Jesuit University where the Jesuits and their cook and the cook’s daughter were murdered, the wall in San Salvador that lists the names of all that were murdered, and where the MaryKnoll sisters are buried, deeply touched our hearts and souls and made us acutely aware of the terrible injustice this country faced and continues to face in so many ways!

20170108_151300In San Salvador, we felt right at home in the church of El Rosario in San Salvador which is a parish run by Dominican Friars.

The time went by very quickly and I know we all left El Salvador with a greater appreciation of the culture and the people!  Our fears of not speaking the language quickly disappeared as we realized that the language of love breaks through all fears and obstacles! For Elizabeth Meittinis, our Dominican Young Adult member, this trip and being with Flor certainly deepened her commitment to our Dominican Life and Charism.

I truly believe this experience of collaboration deepened everyone’s understanding of Dominican Life and Spirituality.  It was a time of living out the 4 pillars of Dominican Life in a very tangible way!

Submitted by:

Diane Capuano, O.P