During the week of May 25th, twenty eight students from Dominican Universities/Colleges from around the country as well as 12 mentors and 25 presenters came together “Virtually” to celebrate the 20th year of the National “Preaching in Action” Conference. The participating universities/colleges included Albertus Magnus College, CT; Caldwell University, NJ; Dominican College, NY; Dominican University, CA; Edgewood College, WI; Molloy College, NY; Ohio Dominican University, OH; and Siena Heights University, MI.
Here is what some of our young participants had to say after experiencing the conference:
This conference covered the multitude of topics related to faith in the Dominican family. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone.Anne Ilardi, Caldwell University
I was blessed to be a part of the conference and would love to join Dominican Youth Movement Adult USA. I was born and raised in a Muslim country where I was not allowed to talk about the Bible outside my home or church. Now I feel the freedom to share the Gospel with the world and that’s my heart’s desire.Arooba Sholmiyet, Albertus Magnus College
This event was awesome, it brought me peace and a huge motivation to keep going and helps others to keep going.Anna Lucia, Albertus Magnus College
I would really encourage all students to do it! It was an amazing opportunity to grow spiritually while meeting amazing people.Jessica Alcala, Dominican University of California
My experience at the Dominican Preaching Conference helped me to think about the world in a new way. I am now more able to recognize injustices and both think about and act on them in a Dominican Way!Ryan Romaine, Molloy College
These young people came together to learn about our Dominican Charism of preaching and how that Charism can be incorporated into their own lives and passed on to others.
The conference began with a brief history of Dominic and the Order complete with an array of Dominican songs. There was definitely a Dominican Spirit in the air! A presentation depicting “Dominicans through the Ages” welcomed some of our Dominican Saints to the conference. St. Mary of Magdala (Pat Hanvey, OP), St. Dominic (Patrick Spedale), St. Catherine of Siena (Nancy Murray, OP), and St. Rose of Lima (Lena Pennino-Smith) spoke about their lives and their own call to preach in the early years of the Order.
The next day Bro. Herman Johnson, our Keynote speaker, spoke to them about Racism and how he experienced it growing up and also within the Order. His powerful message of love, and peace when faced with Racism in all its forms was a prelude into our Signs of the Times breakout sessions which followed. S. Arlene Flaherty (Human Trafficking and the Legacy of Racism, S. Attracta Kelly (The Immigration Issue: Who are the “Real Americans”), Srs Marcelline Koch and Mila Sandoval (Unmasking Racial Microaggressions), and S. Mary Brigid Clingman (Climate Justice: And God Saw It Was Very Good) spoke to the young people about the issues of our day and how by studying the issues they can become advocates for change in their towns, cities, and their states. They encouraged the students to get involved so that they can educate others on their college campuses.
Next up was an introduction to the other parts of the Dominican Family. Set up in a panel style, representatives from the Sisters, Dominican Laity, Associate Programs, the Nuns, Dominican Young Adults USA, and Dominican Volunteers USA spent time introducing themselves and the organization they represented. Later on in the evening, the students were able to speak to members of the different groups as well as obtain informational websites where they could find some valuable informational brochures and other materials.
Unable to incorporate a favored “Service Day” into this Virtual conference the participants met with their mentors to create a “Service Oriented” action plan that they can work on in the upcoming school year!
On the last morning of the conference the students were introduced to our Dominican Artists. Each student chose which session they would like to attend and spent the morning “Creating.” S. Sara Fairbanks (Preaching 101), Dr. Susan Miller (Poetry of the Spirit) Jessica Abejar (Preaching through prayerful movement) and S. Barbara Schwarz (Mandala’s, the light of Christ) all showed the students how they “preach” and encouraged each of them to use the gifts and talents that God gave them to do the same!
Highlighting the conference were the morning and evening prayer services. This year because of the virtual modality, students from all the participating schools had the opportunity to participate in these prayer services. We heard students proclaim the opening and closing prayers, the readings, the intercessions, and we were able to enlist alumni of past preaching conferences, going as far back as 2007, to prepare the reflections for each service. Students used their creativity, musical talents and gift of voice to lead the entire group in prayer which begins and ends each day. A virtual choir was assembled, with a total of 20 participants. All the choir participants recorded their parts of the songs and sent them in to be spliced into the wonderful music pieces you heard. This was a mighty feat to say the least, but listening to all of those voices brought tears to my eyes. The inclusive prayer services are but one of the elements of the conference that students enjoy immensely and plan on recreating on their college campuses.
At the closing prayer service, each college group presented their action plan. This plan will be implemented by those who attended when they return to their campuses in September. It was moving to witness each College/University say “As a result of our participation in the “Preaching in Action” conference we the students of (All the Colleges/Universities) will ….. The reality was that they were making a commitment to continuing the “Holy Preaching” in the many diverse ways they had created. Each then received the Dominican Cross and were commissioned to go forth and preach the “Good News” to their fellow students.
Upon leaving, these young people felt like part of our Dominican Family and will forever be connected. Wherever they go, they will be preachers of God’s love, God’s peace and God’s justice for all!
Many thanks to all who worked tirelessly to help put this conference together, you are too many to mention but you know who you are! This venture was indeed an “act of love.” To the mentors who took the time away from their summer vacation to share this experience with their students. And last but not least, to all of our new YOUNG PREACHERS ..ONCE AGAIN, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY. Have a great summer .. And don’t forget “Preach With Your Lives”, it is the only pulpit you will ever need.
To view the video’s of the different sessions from this year’s conference go to
Click the link below