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Dominican Order: 800th anniversary is an opportunity, not just a celebration

2015-11-14

In 2016, the Dominican Order will celebrate the 800th anniversary of their approval by Pope Honorius III. The order is rich in history. In fact, their mother church is a 5th century basilica in Rome.

FR. VIVIAN BOLAND
Dominican Order
"The order has lived in many different contexts, in many different social, cultural, political circumstances. I suppose the thing that has remained the same is the challenge of preaching the Gospel.”

Fr. Vivian Boland, Vicar of the Master of the Order, discussed the Dominicans' plans for the upcoming year with Rome Reports.

Their Jubilee began on November 7th, the feast day for Domincan saints. It will continue until January 21, 2017, the same day a papal bull confirmed them as a universal order of the Church.

There will be major opening and closing ceremonies, a pentiential moment during Lent, and an art exhibition. And that's just in Rome.

From Central America to Croatia, the Order will hold conferences on different aspects of preaching the Gospel. They see the Jubilee as an opportunity to renew themselves.

FR. VIVIAN BOLAND
Dominican Order
"We wanted to celebrate it to mark this anniversary, but to do it particulary with an eye to the present and to the future. Not just to clap ourselves on the back and say, 'Weren't the Dominicans great at one time?' But to say, 'What are the challenges today? What are the points of mission that we should be thinking about?'”

And with the Order spread throughout the world, they have plenty of challenges. In Africa, there are many new vocations. They're searching for ways to make them useful. In places like Europe, the difficulties are completely different.

FR. VIVIAN BOLAND
Dominican Order
"In some parts of the Order, the men are aging. The numbers are fewer. So it's becoming more urgent to identify what ought to be the priorities, what kinds of preaching we ought to be doing in the first place.”

As of 2014, there were 6,135 male religious in the Order of Preachers. About 4,400 of them are priests, and they work in dozens of countries. 

Fr. Vivian added that the recent Synod on the Family inspired him to "gain a new sense of the family to which we belong.” That is, the Dominican Order.


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