The Way of the Dominican Preacher: Go and Do Likewise!
Saint Louis, Missouri, October 10-14, 2016
This October, as a celebration of the 800th Jubilee of the Order of Preachers (“Dominicans”), 61 invited participants from 22 countries participated in a Dominican Jubilee Colloquium on Preaching in Saint Louis, Missouri-a global event hosted by Aquinas Institute of Theology of the Province of St. Albert the Great USA, the Institut für Pastoralhomilek of the Province of Teutonia (Germany), and the Institute of Preaching of the Province of the Philippines. The goals of the colloquium were to celebrate the Jubilee as a global Order of Preachers and to take a step toward building an international network of relationships to promote preaching in the Roman Catholic Church. Keynote presentations by Fr. Bruno Cadoré, O.P., Sr. Sarah Böhmer, O.P., and Mary N. Erika Bolaños, O.P. were open to the public at St. Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship.
“Dominican Preaching Today: a Renewed Mission of Evangelization”
In the first keynote address, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, O.P., Master of the Order, reminded listeners that being sent in compassion like the Samaritan or St. Catherine of Siena is essential to our preaching. In the words of Luke’s Gospel: “Go and do likewise.”
Fr. Bruno said: “Dominican preaching is not an activity that can be described in terms of its ‘function’. Rather, it is the life of a community that is presented to its members as a veritable ‘school of the evangelical and apostolic life’.” He went on to discuss three characteristics of such a community of preaching-as a community of encounter, at the service of the conversation about God, in search of the kingdom.
“Tame the Dragon: Dominican Sisters Preaching”
In the second keynote address, Sr. Sara Böhmer, O.P., General Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany (Waldniel, Germany)-a former Dominican Sisters International representative and a theologian and economist-spoke of a legend in which Martha tames a dragon which had been terrorizing a small city: “This was her way, her very feminine way of preaching. I think that she is the one who preferably should be the patron of the Dominican sisters!”
Sr. Sara framed the preaching mission of Dominican apostolic sisters in terms of three challenges of income, study, and self-confidence as Dominicans. “We are not the friars, and we should not want to be. We are Dominican sisters. We have our specific charisms, our proper missions, our proper possibilities of preaching and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God. It would lead to a certain impoverishment of the Order if we would give this up. . . . Together, we form the image of Christ. But we do this in diversity, because this diversity is richness, a gift to the Order and to the Church.”
“The Preaching Mission of a Dominican Lay Woman: A Personal Profession of Faith-Life”
In the third keynote address, lay Dominican Mary N. Erika Bolaños, O.P. – professor of theology at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila-gave a ringing personal testimony of the life, spirituality, challenges, and mission of the Dominican Laity in the Philippines as they are prepared and sent as lay catechists and evangelists to oftentimes remote islands and villages on behalf of the Gospel.
“The Dominican Laity is called to embrace the richness of vocation, to transform the world in which they live, and to participate in the world through the charisms-gifts of the spirit-they are given.”
“The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of preaching. It is the imitation of Christ as expressed in a solid prayer life, simplicity of lifestyle, respect for human dignity, and a compassionate participation in the works of justice and charity.”
Over the next three years, follow-up conferences will be held in order to invite Dominican participation from more countries and additional regions of the world in a global Dominican preaching network-2017 in the Philippines, 2018 in Germany, and 2019 in North America. Participants will be invited into ongoing conversation and sharing about the preaching mission of the Order, using the Order’s social media site, Atrium, and further opportunities also will be explored.
The steering committee for this project includes:
Aquinas Institute of Theology: Gregory Heille, O.P. (Province of St. Albert the Great USA), and Megan McElroy, O.P. (Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Institut für Pastoralhomilek (Province of Teutonia): Manfred Entrich, O.P., Andreas Bordowski, O.P., Kerstin-Marie Berretz, O.P., and Johannes Schläffer, O.P.
The Institute of Preaching (Province of the Philippines): Clarence Marquez, O.P.