The Master of the Order of the Preachers, Fr Bruno Cadoré, has asked the Dominican family in New Zealand not to forget their charism.
In his first visit to the country as Master of the Order, Fr Cadoré said he came here to listen to his brothers and the sisters and “promote and preserve the unity of preaching among the order”.
“The main message I can have during my visitations here is to ask the brothers and sisters not to forget that they are not an island and that what they are living, preaching, listening, looking at [and] experiencing could be a part of the order and a part of the Church,” he told NZ Catholic in an interview on July 19.
“They have to share it to others in order for the Church to always be, in a certain way, born again by their experience of faith,” he said.
Fr Cadoré was accompanied by his assistant for Asia-Pacific, Fr Gerard Francisco Timoner, OP. They visited the order’s Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary which covers Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
Fr Cadoré admitted that the visit was too short, but explained that there are members of his order in 100 countries belonging to 600 communities which he has to visit twice during his 9-year term as Master.
“If we take the mathematical point of view, it’s difficult to have more than two days with the brothers. So, we do our best,” he said.
Fr Cadoré said when he visits his brothers, his purpose is to discover. “The experience of faith is so diverse.
One faith, so many different experiences. And it is important to get all these experiences because . . . by the human experiences of faith, you can discover and contemplate the grace of the Lord,” he said.
Fr Cadoré observed the Church can be diverse “because we are one”, and not the other way around.
“At the beginning and at the end of this diversity, there is one unity given by the Lord,” he said.
“The call we are receiving from the Lord is that humanity receives the promise of unity and to make this meaningful, the Church among the humanity has to be the sign of communion.”
Fr Cadoré said the Dominicans “are unity in the best way”, but added they cannot rest on their laurels.
“The main challenge after 800 years is not to think you can live by the goodness of your history, which is not a simple challenge, but also to always be awake, not to forget this charism to be preachers and be a family of preachers,” he said.
“St Dominic offers to the Church this specific charism: to discover that when you give the Gospel to others, you will receive it back and you will be, in a certain way, converted by the Gospel received by others,” he said.
Fr Cadoré said the order is doing well in general and enjoys a very good relationship with Pope Francis.
He said there are 6000 in the order worldwide of whom 1000 are in initial formation.
“We don’t need to be a good number just to be a good number. Our challenge is not to increase the order. Our challenge is to serve the Church,” he said.
Fr Cadoré is in his seventh year as Master of the Order, having been elected in 2010. He was born in the town of Le Creusot in France and was a medical doctor in Haiti before becoming a Dominican priest.