"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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Friars Celebrate Mass on EWTN & Record Vocations Boom TV Show (UPDATED)

Fr. Andrew Hofer OP, Master of Students at the Dominican House of Studes and Fr. Benedict Croell OP, Director of Vocations for the Eastern Province Dominicans were invited to EWTN in Birmingham, Alabama on July 31, 2013.

They celebrated the daily Mass broadcast LIVE. Fr. Hofer preached the homily and Fr. Croell was the celebrant for the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

They were interviewed on a new television show called "Vocations Boom TV" to be aired at a future date.  "Vocations Boom" already produces an excellent LIVE radio show which airs weekly on EWTN's Global Catholic Radio, talking about the amazing increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life throughout the United States.  Please pray for their efforts!  Here is Fr. Hofer's homily:

On August 8 eighteen men will be vested in the Dominican habit of St. Dominic at St. Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati.  On August 10 nine friars will make their Solemn Profession of Vows at the Dominican House of Studies and on August 15 eight friars will make their Simple Profession of Vows in Cincinnati. Once the 18 men enter novitiate, there will be 70 friars in formation for the Province of St. Joseph.  We give thanks to God for His generosity!

See also, story on The Catholic Beat.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dominican Parish Leads the Way in Teaching NFP

Natural Family Planning at St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Virginia
by Fr. Luke Clark OP, Pastor
Every July, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) celebrates Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week.  This week is picked to coincide with the anniversary of the release of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI.  As the nation celebrates NFP Awareness Week, I would like to share the story of one of our Province’s NFP programs, centered at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, VA.
At its beginnings in 1997, the NFP ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish had very modest goals.  Our one instructor and the parish staff hoped that this program would provide NFP classes for parishioners, as well as the greater Central Virginia area, and also provide introductory information for the large numbers of engaged couples whom the parish prepares for marriage.
Almost seventeen years later, the St. Thomas NFP Ministry has grown exponentially.   All couples preparing for marriage through the parish (10% of the total for our diocese) receive a full course in NFP instruction.  To meet this demand, the parish now has five active NFP instructors teaching three different methods.  These include two different models of Sympto-Thermal as well as Creighton Model Fertility Care. In recent years, we have provided instruction to approximately 1% of the total number of persons taught NFP in the nation, as reported to the US Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB.)  These are numbers from just one parish that rival or exceed total numbers from many dioceses!  Over the years, ten instructors have received either their initial training or their preceptorship through the parish and moved on to teach in other locations, much like St. Dominic sending out his friars.
Each year St. Thomas Aquinas Parish’s NFP commitment continues to grow in new ways.  Exciting for us here in Charlottesville has been the growth of the medical aspects of NFP to assist our parishioners in obtaining the best women’s health care that is also ethically sound.  Two of our parishioners were trained in 2011-12 as Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro) Medical Consultants at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, NE.  Their training was funded both by our parish and the Richmond Diocese. This six month certification process allows these physicians to work with the latest NFP research to assist couples with infertility and menstrual cycle abnormalities.   They are supported by the services coordinated by yet another parishioner at a hospital in Richmond.  There is a NaPro fellowship trained surgeon there who can do advanced surgeries to help women with reproductive system concerns.
One of our physicians keeps a photo board with baby photos of the children who have been successfully carried to term with the assistance of NaPro Technology.  Some of these babies are from parish families—others are from throughout Virginia.  All the families are grateful that these services are available locally.  They used to have to drive to Pennsylvania or even fly to Omaha to have these evaluations and treatments done.
How does one parish develop a program like this with only volunteers?  This question has been asked many times over the years and the answer is multifaceted.  Karen Poehailos MD, CFCMC, parish NFP coordinator and NaPro Medical Consultant, attributes a large part of the success to the friars at the parish and their willingness to step forward as needed to offer both vision and practical assistance.  Despite having busy schedules, they are always ready to provide help and support for varied tasks like assisting with the start up of a diocesan NFP program, creating slides for presentations on marital theology, funding instructor training materials, attending ice cream socials for NFP week, and providing the financial support for national conferences to keep the program on the cutting edge of advances.
It has also been evident that God clearly wants this.  Many of our greatest successes came when we simply moved forward with trust in Divine Providence even though the job seemed overwhelming.  For any task, the right volunteer always stepped forward—whether to be trained as an instructor or to help other parishes increase their outreach by serving on the Diocesan NFP Advisory Board.  The door to a stronger medical model opened when a Fertility Care instructor, LaDean Barnes CFCP, moved into the parish a few years ago and started providing referrals and instruction to support Medical Consultants.   LaDean was instrumental in recruiting the NaPro surgeon who lends so much to the medical services offered here.
As a part of its mission, our parish has taken a leadership role in sharing its resources with the Diocese of Richmond.  The Diocesan NFP program had its start in St. Thomas’ library over a decade ago.  In 2010, Dr. Poehailos was named by Bishop Francis DiLorenzo as the NFP Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.  Our instructors teach women from Charlottesville, Richmond, and surrounding counties in the Diocese.
Dr. Poehailos commented, “The timing on all this has been amazing.  Over the past several years, our pastor and parish staff have been working very hard to make the new St. Thomas Aquinas Priory a reality—and we celebrated its dedication this past March.  The friars assigned here provide services not only to the parish, but also to the University of Virginia community, the local hospitals, and surrounding parishes, including our mission parish of St. George in Scottsville.  I feel our NFP work has paralleled this increasing outreach and influence of the Order in Central Virginia.   We’ve not only been able to have NFP work grow here, but have gone out to plant the seeds elsewhere in the Diocese.  It’s Veritas at its finest.  This teaching is the Truth, and God has positioned us well with the right persons and resources to preach the message.”
NFP Awareness Week is celebrated from July 20-27, 2013.  For more information on NFP services in your area, search www.usccb.org/nfp.  For more information on the St. Thomas Aquinas NFP Ministry, www.stauva.org/nfp.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Priesthood as the Book of Christ - a Homily by Fr. Thomas Joseph White OP

Why Didn’t Jesus Write a Book?
The Priesthood as the Book of Christ
Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

[This homily was given at the Thomistic Institute Conference for Priests, “The Priest as a Teacher of the Faith,” which took place in Nashville, TN, July 16-18, 2013.]

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

Our Lord says this extraordinary statement in chapter 11 of Matthew’s Gospel. He does not conceal from us that there is a yoke, but he says that this yoke teaches us and that we can learn from it. From his teaching we will find rest. His yoke is easy and the burden light.

This statement comes just after the one we heard yesterday. “No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27)

If you put the two statements together, then the yoke that Jesus is talking about is the yoke of faith. Faith is a gift the Son gives us to reveal the Father. Faith is a yoke that joins us to God. Faith humbles the mind and brings with it a sense of mercy and meekness of heart. Faith requires obedience of the heart and submission, but the burden is not heavy. The gift elevates us. The gift irrigates our heart with life. It transcends us, and the faith can be very obscure or dark at times. But it is a grace by which God also invites us to cooperate with him, to learn from Christ the teacher.

St. Thomas Aquinas asks the question why did Jesus not write a book. He asks
this question in the third part of the Summa Theologiae (q. 42, a. 4) He perhaps has the Koran in mind: a book dictated directly by God. The implicit question might be, why did the God-man not dictate a book himself? In any event he gives three answers to the question. First, he says, if Jesus had written a book, people would have given their religious attention only to the book and not to the person of Christ. It would have concealed him, ironically, after a certain amount of time. Second, Jesus is a teacher, yes, but he is different than any other teacher because he illumines the soul interiorly, as the Logos who created us, and as the God man who redeemed us, who clothes us interiorly with grace. So Christ is more than a human teacher because he acts directly on the soul by grace. Third, and this is more to the point for us: Christ did not write a book so that the Church could testify to him, so that human beings could come into communion with God, not alone or through themselves, but in a community of the truth.

In short Christ did not write a book so that he could be alive in the mission of the Church, and bring people to the knowledge of God through the ministers of the Gospel, enlightening their minds and hearts and enlightening the minds and hearts of those to whom they preached. We could say, then, that the priesthood is the book of Christ.

What happens as the Gospel of Matthew unfolds? Who is the hero of the faith? We see it in chapter 16: Simon Peter. “Who do men say that I am? Who do you say that I am?....You are the Christ. The Son of the living God…Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, Simon bar Jonah, but my Father in heaven. You are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church.” (Matt. 16:13-18)

Here, then, is the yoke of Christ, binding Simon Peter. Is this yoke light? Peter promises to die with Christ. He has a generous temperament. But in the end, he confronts his own weakness. He denies the Lord, and he is redeemed by the risen Christ. The Rock of Peter is a Rock built on mercy. A covenant in the sacrifice of Christ.

How does Simon Peter die? What does this binding and this yoke look like in the end? It is claimed that he said he was not worthy to die a death by crucifixion as his Lord did. And so his Roman executioners opposed to the Gospel, and perhaps behind them the hidden principalities and powers of this world…they crucified him upside down. An interesting irony of the world mocking the cross. But it is a double irony. Because God works through all that exists. He doesn’t cause sin, but he works through all events, in some way, even when his creatures culpably disobey him. God works through Pilate, God works through Judas, God works through Nero, despite them. And the deeper irony is his: even though Peter is other than Christ, and a weak man, he will become another Christ, an alter Christus, bound by the yoke of faith, and the covenant of mercy, to the sacrifice of the Cross. The Cross is stable. The world turns, the Cross stays the same. Caesar will oppose a power that rivals him, and yet, in all the machinations, Peter the fisherman, in his weakness, as if despite himself and his persecutors, is turning toward conformity to the mystery of Christ. Suspended between heaven and earth he is rotating into the mystery of the Crucified. And here too, he is teaching the mystery of the Lord.

I say all this, because this too is part of the way every priest teaches. He
participates in the priestly ministry of Peter, the Rock of faith: to communicate the truth of the Cross. But he also lives out the irony of being other than God, and other than Christ. A mere fallible and weak creature, but one in whom God has chosen to have a devastating mercy. To move into this poor creature to make him an inverted icon of the mercy of God. To conform him to the cross, both in the priest’s boldness and generosity and in his weakness and need for mercy. To be marked forever by the mystery of the Cross. To be marked forever as a minister of the blood of the covenant. That is what it is to be a priest.

May we give thanks for the presence of Christ among us, and within us. Christ the teacher. May we ask him to illumine our minds and hearts, and may we (both by all that we do and despite all we fail to do), draw others into the light of Christ, where alone they and we can find rest and peace. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 Simple Profession of Vows in Cincinnati

The Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Joseph
joyfully announce the Simple Profession of their friars

(click to enlarge)

Brother Rodrigo Isaac Augustine Morales
Brother Brandon Nicholas Schneider
Brother Luke Antoninus Maria Samy
Brother Justin Mary Bolger
Brother Ludwig John Paul Kern
Brother Patrick Joseph Martin Hagan
Brother Leo Norbert Keliher
Brother John Dominic Bouck

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Thursday, the fifteenth of August,
in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen,
at half after eleven o’clock in the morning
Saint Gertrude Church
Madeira, Ohio
This summer the Dominican Province of St. Joseph
is organizing regional vocation events - you are invited!

*read about those accepted for the 2013 novitiate class - click here

There are opportunities to meet our friars in houses throughout our province.  If you have not made a vocation weekend yet in Washington DC, you should contact Fr. Benedict OP now to reserve your space. Did you know our vocation weekends next academic year are already starting to fill? It is important to RSVP for each of these events.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two Dominicans Speak: The Scourge of Contraception

Contraception is a topic that brings heated arguments, even among Catholics.  Many Catholics have not taken a close look at the issues and choose rather to remain ignorant.  Next weekend is NFP Awareness week in the USA.

Here are two excellent articles about the issue by Dominicans.  Because St. Thomas Aquinas enlightens the way Dominicans speak and write on moral issues, the hope is to help people see the the Truth and desire it for themselves.

See if you are able to see such a way of teaching and preaching in these two excellent articles on contraception.  The world needs more preachers of Truth - come join us!

The first is from the papal theologian, Fr. Wojciech Giertych OP:
On contraception and the coming violence: Interview with Pope’s personal theologian

The second is from our own, Fr. James Brent OP who teaches Philosophy at Catholic University of America:
Made for Radiance  - Fr. Brent's article (PDF)
*from the blog, Incarnation and Modernity

Diaconate Ordination in September


On September 7, 2013 in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, two of our friars will be ordained to the transitional diaconate.   Please pray for Bro. Cajetan Cuddy OP (left) of Pennsylvania & Bro. Cassian Derbes OP  (right) of Louisiana.

Bro. Cajetan & Bro. Cassian will join will join their six brothers who were ordained earlier this year.  They will serve in various capacities in N. Virginia and Washington DC while continuing their studies towards the priesthood.

Next vocation weekend at the Dominican House of Studies

This summer the Dominican Province of St. Joseph is organizing regional vocation events - you are invited!  

*read about those accepted for the 2013 novitiate class - click here

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Archbishop DiNoia OP to Speak at September 2013 Vocation Weekend

We are especially happy to announce that Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia OP, vice-president of the pontifical commission, Ecclesia Dei will speak at our September 27-30, 2013 vocation weekend at the Dominican House of Studies on "Critical Challenges to Catholic Faith: The New Evangelization in a Secular Age"

*our recent vocation videos:
Five Paths to the Priesthood

Leaving all Things Behind (almost 35,000 views)

This summer the Dominican Province of St. Joseph is organizing regional vocation events - you are invited!  

*read about those accepted for the 2013 novitiate class - click here

These men will be vested in the habit of our founder on his feast day,
          August 8, 2013 at St. Gertrude priory in Cincinnati in a private ceremony. The friars' conventual Mass follows at 11:30AM in St. Gertrude church.
You are invited

+next Vocation Weekend will be September 27-30, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dominicans and the Renewal of Thomism: The Doctrine of God "One and Triune"

These days 100+ friars from all over the world are attending an international conference on the renewal of Thomism at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC. Our Thomistic Institute is sponsoring the event with other provinces of the Order of Preachers. The talks have been enlightening with "high-hitter" Dominicans from many of our institutions throughout the world including: the Ecole Biblique, Angelicum, University of Fribourg and others. Click on the image below to see the photos.

~join us for our Summer 2013 Vocation Events~

+next Vocation Weekend will be September 27-30, 2013

They will be vested in the habit of our founder on his feast day,
          August 8, 2013 at St. Gertrude priory in Cincinnati in a private ceremony. The friars' conventual Mass follows at 11:30AM in St. Gertrude church.
You are invited!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dominican Friars Science and Spirituality Lecture Series in Connecticut


Monday July 8th at 7pm in the Parish Hall
"St. Thomas & St. Thérèse: The Great Thinker and the Little Flower"
-with Bro. Cajetan Cuddy, OP 

Monday July 15th at 7pm in the Parish Hall
"Beyond Physics: Is there a limit to what science can know?"
-with Bro. Thomas Davenport, OP