After the enriching Asia-Pacific Region Dominican Family Retreat, 140 Dominican delegates composed of nuns, friars, sisters, and members of the Lay Dominican Fraternities gathered for the Asia-Pacific Region Leaders’ Conference held on October 15-16, 2015. It was conducted at the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, OP Building of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Br. Vincent Lự Viễn Hà, Socius of the Master for Asia-Pacific, presided over the Opening Eucharistic Celebration. It was followed by the talk on Leadership for a New Evangelization by Br. Vivian Boland, OP, Vicar of the Master of the Order, and by the presentation on the Jubilee celebration of the Order by Br. Franklin Buitrago Rojas, OP, Secretary General of the Order and Coordinator of the Jubilee.

The second day of the conference began with the Holy Mass presided over by Br. John Kusumalayam, OP, of the Province of India. Br. Javier Gonzalez, OP, of the Holy Rosary Province, in his moving homily, urged the Dominican leaders that inasmuch as the Jubilee is a time of joy and renewal, it will only be complete if Dominicans have the humility to acknowledge their past and present mistakes. After the plenary assembly, the leaders met separately as branches of the Dominican Family. They discussed the various concerns affecting the members of the Region within the context of the 8th Centenary of the Order. Each branch shared to the assembly their updates and affairs through their representatives: Sr. Mary Augustine, OP, for the nuns, Br. Pascal Paulus, OP, for the friars, Sr. Mary Constance Tran, OP, for the sisters and Dr. Belen Tangco, OP, for the Lay Dominican Fraternities.  Sr. Cecilia Espenilla, OP, also delivered a report on the donations given by the Dominican Family International for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.

Together with the report of the Socius for Asia-Pacific delivered by Br. Vincent, the following officials from the General Curia also conveyed their updates: Br. Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, OP, Promoter General of the Rosary; Br. Rui Carlos Antunes e Almeida Lopes, OP, Promoter General for Laity; Br. Orlando Rueda Acevedo, OP, Socius for the Apostolic Life; Sr. Marie Therese Clement, OP, Coordinator of the Dominican Sisters International (DSI); and Sr. Celestina Veloso Freitas, OP, International Promoter for Justice and Peace of the DSI.

The two-day conference concluded with a heritage tour around the University, facilitated by the UST Public Affairs Office.  The delegates decided that the next leadership conference in the region shall be held in October 2018 in India.

By Br. Felix F. delos Reyes Jr., OP


(12 November 2015)