High school preachers honor Brother Joe Kilikevice, OP

hspreachers_2011_brjoeBy Sister Mary Soher, OP
Director, Dominican High School Preaching Conference

The Sister Patricia Brady award for extraordinary service and contributions in furthering the traditions and charism of the Dominican Order was presented to Brother Joseph Kilikevice, OP, at the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference, June 29, 2011 by the participants of the 2011 preaching conference. A donation on behalf of the participants of the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference is being made in Brother Joe’s name to the Shem Center in support of the wonderful ministry that is done as part of the interfaith dialogue response of the Order.

Sister Pat Brady (Adrian) was the driving force behind the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference. In 1997, she attended a gathering of young adults in Barcelona, Spain. It was the International Dominican Young Adult movement and there were young adults from over 20 countries, all alive and on fire with the Dominican charism. In most countries, the young adults learn about the Dominican spirit in their parishes. However, Sister Pat is a former high school teacher and principal. Returning to the U.S. with the dream of someday seeing her country represented at another international gathering, Sister Pat connected with her first love, high school students. In 1999, the first preaching conference “happened” at Queen of Peace High School in Burbank, Illinois. Thirty-four students from 17 schools participated in a program to learn about our Dominican traditions and the preaching charism.

In 2008, Sister Pat retired as director of the conference and now is the director of the Dominican Association of Secondary schools. She is working to share the traditions and charism of the Order on the administration and faculty side in schools. As a tribute to what she began and made flourish, the Sister Patricia Brady Award was created to honor her and others who take seriously the mission of the Order—to go preach the Gospel.

Sister Pat had gathered a wide variety of Dominicans to share their passions with the students. These presenters included saints and social justice preachers, artists and liturgists, drivers to make airport runs, and volunteers making copies and getting snacks. However, the conference also had someone very special; someone who believes with every fiber of his being in the incredible creativity of God to name God’s self in a multitude of ways. Some of these ways make dialogue difficult, and yet, he has found a way to welcome all peoples, Brother Joseph Kilikevice of the Province of St. Albert the Great.

Brother Joe has shared his preaching mission every year of the high school preaching conference. Nine years ago when Sister Gina Fleming (Amityville) began the college preaching conference, Brother Joe was on the top of the list to invite to which he responded with a generous yes.

In the itinerant spirit of Dominic, Brother Joe goes where he is called. He has been called to many places including Regina Dominican High School, Marian Catholic High School, and Fenwick High School. However, Illinois and Michigan only begin his travels. St. Agnes and St. Pius have invited him to Texas, Dominican University California has invited him to the San Francisco area and Barry University brought him down to Miami, just to name a few.

Where do Dominicans preach? Where don’t they!

In the name of the several hundred young people who have experienced the creative and peace-filled presence of Brother Joe, we raise our voices in a crescendo of grateful thanks. Encouraging each of us to realize the power of dance and music as a medium of peace and harmony, Brother Joe has taught us that world understanding begins with a willing, open and accepting heart. He has truly released the Spirit in each of us. Namaste, Brother Joe.

—Sister Patricia Brady