8th Encounter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic in Spain and Profession of a New Member

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VIII Encuentro de la Fraternidad Sacerdotal de Santo Domingo en España y Profesion de un Nuevo Miembro
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The 8th Encounter of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic in Spain took place on December 4-6, 2017. It was held in La Coruña, Galicia. The great beauty of the city was not greater than the joy and enthusiasm generated by this especial meeting. The member-priests of the Fraternity belong to different distant and distinct dioceses. This marvelous, enthusiastic joy helped them forget promptly the fatigue caused by the long trp. The brother-priests who participated in the encounter came from San Sebastian, Canarias, Valencia, Asturias, Murcia, Madrid, Vigo, Albacete, Logroño… One of the objectives of the encounter was the Profession of Don Miguel Angel Cruz Fernandez, priest of the Diocese of Ciudad Rodrigo who carries out his ministry in La Coruña.

 

From the first day on, the Dominican community of the Convent of Saint Dominic welcomed and treated us like true brothers. Although the meeting took place in the residence of diocesan priests of La Coruña, many moments of the day were shared with the Dominican friars, in particular the celebration of the Eucharist.

One of the pillars of the 8th Encounter was prayer – experiencing the presence of the Lord and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that transmitted to us the heritage and the charism of Saint Dominic of Guzman, our Father. The tenderness of Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, patroness of the city that accepted us, was also present. Mary’s tender and maternal presence was enriched with special moments: when Doña Catalina, the mother of our brother Miguel Angel, accompanied us physically; the moments of prayer; and the times at table. The importance that the mothers have for diocesan priests is well known. Isn't this the best expression of the tenderness of God and of pastoral charity that ought to animate our priestly Dominican vocation?

The fundamental motive of the three-day Encounter was the reflection directed towards the formulation of a Directory, that is, a set of particular norms based on the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of Saint Dominic, and takes into account the local fraternity’s peculiarities, which are more than a few. There was already an earlier work drafted by a team composed of members of the fraternity, who studied and put together their inputs on different aspects: identity, fraternal life, mission, internal governance. In our work, the already approved Directories of the Fraternities in the Philippines and of the Province of Saint Albert the Great in the United States of America helped us very much. Among our peculiarities is the fact that the Priestly Fraternity in Spain, which began in Caleruega, Burgos, and had its place of origin in the Dominican Convent of Our Lady of Atocha, Madrid, is under the higher direction of two Provinces of the Order: the new Province of Hispania (which united the former Provinces of Aragon, Andalucía and Spain); and the Regional Vicariate of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary. Another unique trait of the Fraternity is the fact that its members belong to distinct Spanish dioceses, and consequently the territorial field is not reduced to one place. These two peculiarities require a Directory that includes such specific traits and is open to very different situations. The draft of the Directory is yet to be finalized before it is submitted for approval.

In the afternoon of December 5, the Profession of Don Miguel Angel was held at St. Dominic Convent within the celebration of the Eucharist. At the liturgical celebration, the members of the fraternity were joined by the friars' community, priests from the city and from other places of Galicia, religious men and women, lay faithful, and the family of Don Miguel Angel that came from Aragon. Fr. Alejandro, the Prior of the Convent, presided over the celebration. He was assisted by fr. Francisco Rodriguez Fassio, the Provincial Promoter of Priestly Fraternities, and by Don Carmelo Lara Gines, Prior of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic in Spain. By his Profession, Don Miguel Angel, diocesan priest, unites himself for life to the Order of Preachers. After the fraternal embrace, the celebration of the Eucharist continued. And after the Eucharist, the hymn to Our Lady, the Mother of the Lord, was sung. Thereafter, a joyful time of sharing followed.

 

On the 6th, and after prayer, the members of the fraternity wrapped up their work with some additional details. They also prepared the calendar for the coming year. The next encounter of the fraternity will take place in March in Asturias. After closing the meeting, the brother-priests returned to their respective dioceses and ministries, filled with the joy of having experienced that, thanks to the mercy of God, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Dominic in Spain is consolidating and thus enriching – as the brothers desire – the life of the Church by contributing also to the development of the mission of the Order of Preachers.

 

(13 February 2017)