2016 marks the 800th Anniversary of the Dominicans as the Order of Preachers. What a remarkable moment in our history!
Why do we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries? In an obvious way, these milestones acknowledge our past, our history, and our accomplishments. Or for many of us, simply that we survived another year. Yet, we do not celebrate alone. Our family and friends send us good wishes and throw parties in our honor (if we’re lucky). And though we celebrate at the end of each year, we do not do so with closure in mind. Rather, we celebrate to move forward. We celebrate to remind ourselves of what is important, and it often reinvigorates us with renewed hope for the future.
As the Dominican Order opened its 800th Jubilee in November, we Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great (Central Province, USA) have challenged ourselves to seek renewal. In doing so, we will celebrate the entire upcoming year with the theme “Sent to preach the Gospel.” Believing that we are all sent to make a difference for good in the world, we invite you to participate in the jubilee as well, by asking yourself, “What am I sent to do?”
We know St. Dominic was a man of profound courage, vision, determination, and stamina. He preached to the people of his time, in a style and language they could understand, demonstrating genuine concern and love for them. Early on, he sent his young followers out to combat heresy and share the Word of God. Today, we priests and brothers, religious and laypeople, must ask ourselves how we can continue St. Dominic’s mission.
In the Central Province, Dominicans are sent to preach the Gospel, but also to teach tomorrow’s Catholic leaders, to advocate for the underserved, and to study the Word and pray deeply with it, so we can share it more fully with the world around us. We share our mission with you, the teachers, advocates, students, and those for whom we pray every day. Just as we will do, we ask you to reflect upon your gifts of time, treasure, and talent. Think of the role you can play in this jubilee.
We invite you to connect with us throughout this next year, and tell us, “What are you sent to do?” As we thank God for the privilege of 800 years of blessing, so we pray for continued peace and blessing in your lives.
Sincerely yours in St. Dominic,
Fr. James V. Marchionda, O.P.