28-29 September 2013

The annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima reminds us of our Dominican identity: we are a great family living the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Spirit of St Dominic.

At Fatima, we gather to pray, listen and sing and also to praise, bless and preach. In a special way, we are preparing ourselves for the Jubilee of 2016 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Dominican Order (22 December 1216). In 2016 we will celebrate 800 years of our Dominican life and give thanks to God for it. The former Master of the Order, fr. Carlos Costa Aspiroz proposed a nine years (novena) period of preparation, with a theme of study and reflection for each year. Throughout this year 2013, we will study, reflect and live the theme: "Mary, Contemplation and Preaching of the Word" and this is also the theme of this year’s pilgrimage.

This national meeting of the Dominican Family at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, reminds us of what we must do just as Mary did, that is, to welcome Christ, the incarnate Word and proclaim His Gospel. We must embrace the mandate to live a sincere communal love just as St Dominic, St Catherine of Siena, St Rose of Lima, Blessed Ascension Nicol Goni, Madre Teresa de Saldanha, and many other members of the Dominican Family did.

Following the example of Our Father St Dominic, our mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word. The Word guides us in our contemplative and prayer lives consistent with our faith. It guides us in generous service to our brethren as living members of the Church and builders of peace, love and forgiveness. It guides us in the fight against falsehood and all forms of physical, moral and spiritual injustice and misery. Like St Dominic, we are open and available always to do and live the will of God.

The opportunity to be together as a family at the Sanctuary of Fatima is a blessing from God. Therefore, we praise and thank our Blessed Mother and the children of Fatima. During the period of the pilgrimage, we are invited to listen to the Word of God and contemplate the Mysteries of the Rosary - Jesus and His mother. Together, they invite us, today and always, to Preach in loving respect for all cultures and all peoples, with their traditional and spiritual riches.

This encounter leads us to reflect on the common mission of the Dominican Order: the grace of preaching, attentive to the "signs of the times" and the voice of God which calls us always to do his will and to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the peoples of the earth.

Together with Mary, we Praise, Bless and Preach his Son Jesus Christ. Like Our Father St Dominic, we Dominican brothers, sisters, nuns and laity in union with Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary are guiding all to Jesus, he who loves us and want to make us his witnesses.

Fr José Carlos Vaz Lucas, o.p.
(23 September 2013)