"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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Archbishop DiNoia OP at British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy Colloquium

Archbishop DiNoia OP, vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission addressed 100 British priests during the recent Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and celebrated the Mass for them. Fr. Tim Finegan wrote on his popular blog The hermeneutic of continuity:
Yesterday morning we were treated to superb presentation from Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, vice-President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, on “What is the New Evangelisation and why does it matter?” Archbishop di Noia is very widely read, and gave something of a master class on the question of evangelisation and its themes as relevant to the evangelisation of formerly Christian countries. 
Later the Archbishop was celebrant at Mass. Indicative of the richness of this Colloquium, the sermon was given by Mgr Keith Newton. The point that I particularly took away from his sermon was the responsibility given to priests for catechesis. We rightly involve lay people but must not simple devolve our priestly task of passing on the mysteries of the faith.
 Archbishop DiNoia OP also recently spoke at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary of the West (Athenaeum) in Cincinnati on the same the topic.

Archbishop DiNoia OP on why there are so many Dominican vocations.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Fr. Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP: Open to God, part II

Last time we left off with Fr. Fenwick in a bind: would he stick to his plan of founding a college in Washington or follow Bishop Carroll's advice and become a missionary in Kentucky? Apparently Fr. Fenwick was open to God's plans beyond his own; for in August 1805 we find Fr. Fenwick writing to Fr. Concanen about his work in the West:
"I have mentioned twice to you the advice and encouragement Bishop Carroll gives me — to fix our establishment in the Provience of Kentucky where every generous offer and solicitation is made to me by the Catholics of that extensive country — which I have accepted... I am labouring on the mission, raw and inexperienced as I am, charged with a numerous congregation, who had been fifteen months without a pastor till I came among them." 
Bishop Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP
On Bishop Carroll's request, Fr. Fenwick had visited Kentucky "to inform myself of its climate, situation and resources, as likewise to know the real distress and dispositions of the Catholics there." And what he found was agreeable to him, he was open and ready for whatever God had in store for his new Province: "My curiosity is perfectly satisfied and much pleased with the country and inhabitants, particularly with the fervor, zeal and liberality of the Catholics who made me every generous offer and even importunity to fix among them."

Why had Fr. Fenwick changed his mind about founding a College? For although he still writes of the prospects of opening a school in Kentucky, he no longer speaks of a institution or seminary modeled after Bornhem College. Was he just being a realist? Had he given up on his dream and mission? I think not. Rather, Fr. Fenwick saw the need of the Catholic people in Kentucky and heard God's call, not his own. He says in his letter to Fr. Concanen: "In Kentucky there is but one priest, Reverend Mr. Stephen Badin, and about 10,000 Catholics. That good and zealous man has been there near twelve years, the two or three last of which he has been the only pastor for those numerous congregations." As the Lord had said: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out larbourers into his harvest."

Fr. Fenwick saw the spiritual needs of God's people and realized that he was being called to a different task than what he initially thought. He had sailed across the Atlantic to found a Dominican seminary and college; instead he was founding parishes in rural Kentucky and preaching missions non-stop to the Catholics under his care. This became so important to Fr. Fenwick that by July 1808 his prime source of boasting was not the small school he had begun but the expansion of his congregations and of the first Church in Ohio, St. Joseph's in Somerset. In his letter to Fr. Conanaen he writes:
"We count 2,300 souls in our congregation. The chapel of the congregation is under the patronage of St. Ann, about two miles from us, where one of us serves every Sunday and Holyday... When our new church is finished we shall divide the congregation between St. Ann and St. Rose, and I hope later to have another chapel under the protection of St. Joseph. Thus you see, Revered and dear Father, we have a fair prospect before us. We only want money and members to make us more respectable in the country and to ensure the predominance of our holy Religion and even of our holy Order. Our church ... will be the first in the State and I hope equal to any in America, except the Cathedral of Baltimore, now building under the inspection of Bishop Carroll."
St. Joseph's in Somerset, Ohio
Now Fr. Fenwick's sons did make it to Washington, DC, and founded a theological college grander than he imagined. The Province fulfilled the initial will of its founder and father. But who is to say that this would have happened if Fr. Fenwick had not been open to changing directions and plans in order to serve God in the vineyard of His own choosing? Where would the Province of St. Joseph be if Fr. Fenwick had refused to be open to God's Will, even if that Will seemed opposed to all that Fr. Fenwick had previously discerned? We stand on the shoulders of a giant in Fr. Fenwick, a giant because he was humble enough to submit his will and plans to God and follow the Holy Spirit, breathing where He wills, even over the rural frontiers of Kentucky and Ohio.

Part I of this post CLICK HERE

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP: Open to God, part I

Bernard of Chartres, according to John of Salisbury, described his theological work by saying: "We are like dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants...carried high and raised up by their giant size." Sir Isaac Newton said the same in describing his achievements in natural philosophy: "If I have seen further it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." Even today the two pound coin in England carries this quote around its edge.

Bishop Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP
I would hazard to say that if we of the Province of St. Joseph are enjoying recent success in vocations and in the ministry of the Province in general it is no less because we too stand on the shoulders of giants. The "giant of giants," gigantissimus, of the Province is, of course, Bishop Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP. Although there are many reasons for this ascription to him I will focus on what is the most important in my mind: openness to God.

Edward Dominic Fenwick, OP, was born in 1768 in southern Maryland. At the age of 16 he set out for Belgium for his studies and entered the Order of Preachers in 1790, entering the word "Americanus" after his name in his profession. Fenwick desired eagerly to return to the United States to be a missionary; specifically he intended to found a college, an institution of higher learning modeled after Bornhem College in Belgium. Writing to Fr. Luke Concanen, OP, assistant to the Master of the Order, Fenwick made his intentions clear: "My design is to begin with a little school by way of a nursery to raise young plants in for the vineyard of the Lord. This has always been my intention, to begin with a school or to execute the plan of Bornhem College and Convent in miniature." Fr. Fenwick's plan for a missionary Province in America was to be centered around a Dominican College, complete with scholars and preachers to continue the great Dominican intellectual charism. None of this is surprising or shocking; that part would be left to what happened upon his arrival in America.

Fr. Fenwick had alerted Bishop John Carroll of his intentions to "execute in miniture the plan of Bornhem College and Convent," hopefully in the capital itself. Apparently this message was not as clearly stated as Fenwick had hoped, for he writes to Bishop Carroll after their first meeting in December, 1804:
"I must observe for the present that it is totally owning to my inaccuracy and inattention, which I am sorry for, if Your Lordship did not clearly understand from my letters the chief and primary object of my coming over to be that of establishing the Order of St. Dominic by any possible means which might hereafter afford assistance to the mission in my native country at large, and that I conceived the only way establishing it would be in a college or convent. For this purpose alone, My Lord, I applied and with great difficulty obtained permission of my Superiors." 
Bornhem College, Belgium
It appears that while Fr. Fenwick desired to found a College in Washington, Bishop Carroll had other ideas for his new Catholic help in his country: to go out West and work the missionary territories of Kentucky and Ohio. Here was the first great challenge of the Province: what would Fr. Fenwick do? Would he set in his heels and demand a College in Maryland as he had raised money and support for? Or would he go out West and become a missionary to the natives, a task he was wholly unprepared for and undesirous of? What was to be the fate of Fr. Fenwick's vision for the Dominicans in America?

Part II of this post CLICK HERE

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Power of Preaching

Raphael - The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (1515)
The feasts of Apostles and Evangelists always catch my attention in a way that most other saints’ feast days do not. I think this is because they make particularly good patrons for Dominicans: we Friars Preachers live an apostolic life of preaching the Gospel.

In the Office of Readings for today’s feast of St. Luke (the topic of praying the Liturgy of the Hours will have to be reserved for another post—until then, just think about two good reasons to pray it, at least in part: 1. Dominicans pray it; 2. It’s almost entirely Scripture, and praying with Scripture is a very good idea), St. Gregory the Great remarks on how preaching flows forth from Christ’s own actions and from charity, and I think he is worth quoting in full:

Beloved brothers, our Lord and Savior sometimes gives us instruction by words and sometimes by actions. His very deeds are our commands; and whenever he acts silently he is teaching us what we should do. For example, he sends his disciples out to preach two by two, because the precept of charity is twofold—love of God and of one’s neighbor. 
The Lord sends his disciples out to preach in twos in order to teach us silently that whoever fails in charity toward his neighbor should by no means take upon himself the office of preaching. 
Rightly is it said that he sent them ahead of him into every city and place where he himself was to go. For the Lord follows after the preachers, because preaching goes ahead to prepare the way, and then when the words of exhortation have gone ahead and established truth in our minds, the Lord comes to live within us. To those who preach Isaiah says: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God. And the psalmist tells them: Make a way for him who rises above the sunset. The Lord rises above the sunset because from that very place where he slept in death, he rose again and manifested a greater glory. He rises above the sunset because in his resurrection he trampled underfoot the death which he endured. Therefore, we make a way for him who rises above the sunset when we preach his glory to you, so that when he himself follows after us, he may illumine you with his love. 
Let us listen now to his words as he sends his preachers forth: The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. That the harvest is good but the laborers are few cannot be said without a heavy heart, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Indeed, see how full the world is of priests, but yet in God’s harvest a true laborer is rarely to be found; although we have accepted the priestly office we do not fulfill its demands. 
Think over, my beloved brothers, think over his words: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest. Pray for us so that we may be able to labor worthily on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, that after we have taken up the office of preaching our silence may not bring us condemnation from the just judge.

The increase in vocations that the Province of St. Joseph is experiencing is not explicable in a certain or definite way; we can only conjecture as to why more men are entering the Order, and why they’re doing it here. Now, it would be difficult to make the claim that in today’s culture the harvest is lacking. As Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P. said at the beginning of the last Provincial Chapter, the world “is dying to hear [the Truth] and dying from not hearing it.” In today’s world, as in St. Gregory's, “although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it.” But maybe that is beginning to change. Maybe the Lord is preparing to send more laborers into his harvest. And maybe he is asking you to be one of his laborers.

It is important to point out the danger of getting caught up in the excitement of a movement and hastily jumping on board, driven by visions of greatness. It must said that if one enters religious life or the seminary for reasons of personal aggrandizement, he sets himself up not only for failure and misery, but also for being faced with the reality of being unable to sustain that zeal, growing weary, and bringing “condemnation from the just judge.” Personal advancement is not and cannot be what we as preachers are about. No, we preach for the salvation of souls.

In this task, charity is essential; if true charity is absent from someone, he should not preach—St. Gregory tells us this plainly. Instead, we can follow the example of St. Dominic, who, when asked what book had taught him the most, replied, "The book of charity." The response to God’s invitation to become a Preacher must not be pridefully but humbly accepted, it must not be constrained but free, it must be not out of self-love but self-emptying love—for God and for our neighbor. The reason we preach is because the world needs to hear the truth, and it needs it badly, and “when the words of exhortation have gone ahead and established truth in our minds, the Lord comes to live within us.” If the Lord is asking you to be a laborer in his harvest, a preacher of his truth, and a follower of him, give thanks!—and "put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch" (Lk 5:4).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Official Studentate Photo for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph

(click on photo to enlarge)
Official Studentate Photograph of the Province of St. Joseph
Dominican House of Studies Fall 2012

Top Row (left to right): Br. Joseph-Anthony Kress, Br. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, Br. Luke Hoyt,
Br. Vincent Ferrer Bagan, Br. Leo Camurati, Br. Ambrose Little, Br. Timothy Danaher, Br.
Thomas Davenport, Br. Leo Checkai, Br. Gregory Pine, Br. Dominic Verner, Br. Tomás Martín
Rosado, Br. Charles Shonk, Br. Clement Dickie, Br. Peter Joseph Gautsch, Br. Matthew Carroll,
Br. Albert Duggan

Middle Row (left to right): Br. Edmund McCullough, Br. Philip Neri Reese, Br. Athanasius
Murphy, Br. Humbert Kilanowski, Br. Raymund Snyder, Br. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, Br. Peter
Totleben, Br. Joseph-Mary Hertzog, Br. Mario Calabrese, Br. Boniface Endorf, Br. Cassian
Derbes, Br. Cajetan Cuddy, Br. John Devaney, Br. Bonaventure Chapman, Br. Joachim Kenney,
Br. Bernard Timothy, Br. Pier Giorgio Dengler, Br. Patrick Briscoe, Br. Aquinas Beale, Br.
Mannes Matous, Br. Raphael Forbing, Br. Alan Piper

Bottom Row (left to right): Br. Louis Bertrand Lemoine, Br. John Baptist Hoang, Br. Innocent
Smith, Br. Thomas More Garrett, Br. Dominic Bump, Fr. John Baptist Ku (assistant master), Fr.
Andrew Hofer (master of students), Fr. Allen Moran (assistant master), Br. Henry Stephan, Br.
Sebastian White, Br. Gabriel Torretta, Br. Michael Mary Weibley, Br. John Sica

Not pictured: Br. Reginald Lynch, diaconate year at St. Patrick’s, Columbus


Archbishop Augustine DiNoia OP: "Why are there so many Dominican vocations?"

(this photo does not include the 30 senior friars also living at the Dominican House of Studies)

Say a prayer for our Novices in Cincinnati

*another VOCATION VIDEO: "Leaving All Things Behind"

Next Vocation Weekend

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Announcing the All Saints Vigil 2012 at the Dominican House of Studies

Update!! (again)  The All Saints Vigil is back on as originally scheduled!

On Wednesday October 31, 2012 at 7:30PM join us as we honor the Saints with Readings, Night Prayer, Reliquary Procession, & the Litany of the Saints.

Priests will be available for Confessions.  A Reception follows.

Men discerning a vocation should contact: Fr. Benedict Croell OP vocations@dominicanfriars.org.

More information on our provincial website.

Check out our Dominican schola who will be singing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Rosary as a Tool for Prayer

Not too long ago I was asked to give a talk at a Rosary Conference, and the topic assigned to me was "The Rosary as a Tool for Prayer." I never thought of the rosary as a tool, but the more I thought of it the more tools I began to recognize.

First there is the drill of the Joyful Mysteries. The drill goes right into our hardened hearts so that we can feel as God intended for us. The abundance of God's presence in the mystery of the Incarnation fills us with joy.

The pliers of the Luminous Mysteries pry open our hands in generosity to others. The great gifts that have been given to us cannot be held on to, they are to be given to others just as they were first given to us.

The hammer of the Sorrowful Mysteries pounds away at our head to help us understand the damage of our sin and the cost of our salvation. We are meant to think about the mysteries of our faith deeply and profoundly.

Finally, there is the screwdriver that anchors us in place before the Glorious Mysteries. We look intently into the these mysteries because they not only remind  us of the promises of Christ  but by his grace they help us desire the fulfillment of those promises in our lives.

By James M. Sullivan, O.P. 
Reprinted from MAGNIFICAT, October 2012, Vol. 14, No. 8, p. 9
With permission of MAGNIFICAT® 
To order call 1-866-273-5215 
Web site: www.magnificat.com 
All rights reserved.

*Fr. James M. Sullivan, O.P. serves as novice master for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph at Saint Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thank You! Helping More Young Men Learn about St. Dominic

Recently we added on the right side of this blog (then scroll down) a wish list of books for the young men who contact us about a vocation to the Order of Preachers.

Well our first book just arrived...the classic biography: The Life of St. Dominic by Fr. Bede Jarrett OP.  There was no name on the invoice, so I don't know who you are.  But THANK YOU and I am celebrating Mass for your intentions.  The one thing I can do to thank you: to pray for you.

We normally purchase books in bulk to reduce the cost, but it seems that we quickly run out, even to the point that I ask the man to read the book, and then give it back to me when they come for a vocation weekend (or pass it along to another young men considering a vocation, leaving my card in it of course!).

From the number of hits on this blog (~350 yesterday), I know everyone on here is not considering a vocation - but I know you are with us and praying for us.  Well your prayers are working. Our next vocation weekend (November 9-11) is already 3/4 full!

If you are interested in making a donation directly to our province that would be tax deductible, please click here.  THANKS BE TO GOD!