by Fr KEVIN TOOMEY, OP
Next year Dominicans worldwide celebrate 800 years since the establishment of the Order of Preachers by St Dominic de Guzmán.
November 7 marked the beginning of a year of jubilee that will continue until January 21, 2017.
What are the Dominicans celebrating?
Dominicans wish to remember their ancestors and the good things they have done over eight centuries. These men and women form a litany of saints: Some have had extraordinary lives and are celebrated; others, most of them, have lived unheralded, ordinary lives of faith as lay people, friars, sisters and nuns.
Think of Martin de Porres and his gift of looking after the poor of 16th century Lima; Catherine of Siena, an advocate for civil peace in Europe while caring for the sick; Bartolomé de las Casas, who challenged the Spanish Crown to ensure that the humanity and rights of indigenous peoples in the “New World” were recognised; Bishop Pierre Claverie of Oran, whose courage in befriending the Muslim people of Algeria brought him martyrdom in 1996.
Locally, we remember Fr Eugene O’Sullivan, whose pioneering liturgical work helped make Vatican II an Aotearoan reality and other deceased Dominicans.
Many readers will have been educated by or worked alongside the Dominican Sisters, and have had contact with the friars through university chaplaincies and parish ministry.
These past 15 years have seen the development of the Dominican family in various parts of New Zealand — lay people, sisters and friars working together — exploring and recapturing the insight, spirit and Gospel focus of Dominic in their lives, prayer and mission endeavours. Throughout this Jubilee 800 year there will be celebrations up and down the country.
More information, www.dominicans.org.nz