St Dominic’s new feast day was celebrated by Dominicans with Masses around the country on August 3.
The Dominican family is also commemorating 800 years of Dominican life this year with a national gathering in Auckland on November 18 – 20.
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference designated August 3 on the national liturgical calendar as St Dominic’s Memorial Day, the same day observed by Australian Catholics. Previously, St Dominic’s feast day was on August 7.
Fr Kevin Toomey, OP, who gave the homily at the Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland, said the Dominican family is growing in some parts of the world, mainly Africa and Asia.
“I believe that it is quite simply the power of God’s Word alive and well in our lives which keeps us going and being faithful as possible to the apostolic way that Dominic set out for us,” he said.
In New Zealand, the Order of Preachers are comprised of four mostly elderly friars and 39 sisters.
“I know that despite the sisters and friars aging and our few vocations, every Dominican in New Zealand believes that Dominic’s work for God will continue,” Fr Toomey said.
He noted the members of the lay Dominican family group are “younger and much more numerous”.
“Together, we enter into the work of preaching the truth of the Gospel in a great variety of ways, with a strong desire to serve,” he said.
He said interpreting and re-interpreting the Gospel in each generation allowed the Dominican charism to survive and flourish for 800 years.
“It has faltered sometimes, but has revived, and that ebb and flow continues today,” he said.
Five Dominican schools in Dunedin gathered at a Mass at the Holy Name Church on August 3.
In Palmerston North, Bishop Charles Drennan celebrated Mass on July 31 at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit with New Zealand Sign Language interpreters.