A Chronicle of the Meeting of Cooperator Brothers

House of Spirituality of St Rose of Lima, Lima, Peru - 31 October to 3 November 2012

Day 1 – October 31

The meeting started with the introduction of about 70 brothers from different parts of the world. At lauds, the brothers sought the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for their meeting. While welcoming the brothers, the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré, OP, expressed great joy at the gathering of the brothers. He recalled that the meeting was a response to the request of the General Chapter of Rome, 2010 and also a think-tank for the next chapter on the vocation of cooperator brothers in the Order. The Provincial of Peru, fr Juan José Salaverry, OP was also at hand to welcome the brothers.

The first presentation was made by fr Ignatius Perkins, OP, of the Province of St Joseph, USA. He tried to portray the vocation of brothers in the Order as a response from different places and ministries to the great preaching of our Holy Father Dominic. After his presentation, the brothers went into working groups according to languages. This was to enable them to share experiences and raise questions based on their experiences. The responses were put together later in the day at the plenary session.

To end the day, the brothers celebrated the Eucharist which was presided over by fr Luis Maria Green, OP, Vicar of the Vicariate of St Rose of Lima.

Day 2 – November 1

The brothers began the second day with a visit to the Shrine of the Lord of Miracles. There contemplative nuns have maintained a huge devotion to a painting of the crucified Lord. The brothers had the opportunity to interact with the huge crowd at the shrine and also to witness the faith of the people.

Back at the meetings, there were presentations from brothers from Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. They echoed the thoughts of the cooperator brothers in their provinces within the context of their vocation as preaching friars. They gave a hint at the depth of their different ministries within which they exercise their preaching mission. After the speeches, the brothers went back into groups to discuss further.

They spent the later part of the day visiting interesting locations in Lima. They returned for vespers, supper and further in-house entertainment before signing off for the day.

Day 3 – November 2

On the third day, the brothers concentrated mainly on their reflections on the vocation of cooperator brothers in the Order. The day began with the Eucharist presided over in English by fr Christopher Eggleton, OP, the Prior Provincial of the Province of St Martin de Porres, USA.

fr Isaac Quispe, OP of the Province of St John the Baptist, Peru gave a beautiful profile of St Martin the Porres. In it, he highlighted his profound charity with which he delivered God’s Word and bore witness. fr Quispe emphasized the important of the virtues of St Martin for all Dominicans friars today. This gave light to further discussions in groups. In the summary, it was made clear that the option for the poor will never go out of style because it comes from the Gospel and the life of a saint will always be an inspiration to those going on the same path as the Love of God incarnated.

Later in the day, the brothers went to the Convent of the Rosary to celebrate the first vespers of the Solemnity of St Martin the Porres, the Apostle of Charity. At the same choir where St Martin prayed, over 90 brothers gathered in the company of his relic. There the brothers prayed to God in gratitude for the 50years of his canonization and each brother had the opportunity to venerate his relic personally. The brothers were later entertained with a documentary on the celebration of the anniversary from different parts of the country.

Day 4 - November 3

On the last day of the meeting, the brothers had the opportunity to interact with the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré, OP and presented the fruits of their reflections to him.

These are some of the highlights of their reflections;

- Promoters of Vocations must have the necessary human and material resources to promote vocations to cooperator brotherhood.
- During formation, greater attention must be paid to cooperator brothers. Adequate information must be provider for formators at the different stages of formation.
- There is a great need to keep working on overcoming thoughts that perceives the vocation of the cooperator brothers as distinctive in the Order.
- The formation of cooperator brothers should have the same requirements, without addition, as that of brothers for the priesthood.
- It is necessary to continue to reflect on vocations in the Order in this modern times, for both cooperator and priest brothers.
- Depending on the context of each province, cooperator brothers should have annual meetings to share their experiences and support each other
- The Cooperator Brother’s International Commission should continue its work with the General Curia to ensure the continuity of the processes initiated so far.

In the afternoon, the brothers had a solemn celebration of the feast of St Martin de Porres in the chapel of the Holy Rosary Convent – the place of the eternal birth of St Martin. The entire Dominican family were part of this celebration. After the celebration, the farewells were fraternally shared bearing in mind these words of the Fundamental Constitution;

"unanimous in common life, true to the profession of the evangelical counsels, fervent in the celebration of the liturgy, primarily of the Eucharist and the Divine Office, and prayer, assiduous in study, persevering in regular observance "(IV).

Therefore, with the Divine blessings and the intercessions of our brother St Martin de Porres, the international meeting of cooperator brothers in the Order came to an end.

Fr Yefrey A. Ramirez, O.P.
Chronicler of the Meeting.