Dominicans in St. Lucia, West Indies celebrate the Jubilee of the Order

Sr. Antonia David OP

"Glory and honour thanksgiving and praise be to the lord our God bless Him all our days!"

With these words of the entrance hymn enthusiastically sung by an animated choir and congregation, the Domninican Community of Friars and Sisters in Saint Lucia began a wonderful liturgical celebration on Tuesday 2nd February 2016;The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, at the parish of the Good Shepherd Church to joyfully commemorate the Jubilee of the 800th Anniversary of the Order. As the celebration coincided with World Day of Consecrated Life, the Religious Brothers and Sisters of the Archdiocese joined us for the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life and the renewal of their vows.

Celebrating with us were: Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor-General of St. Lucia; Most Reverend Archbishop Nicola Girasoli - Papal Nuncio; Parliamentary Representative for Babonneau, Hon. Alvina Reynolds; His Lordship Most Reverend Neil Tiedemann, Bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica; General Prioress of the Congregation of Dominican Missionaries Our Lady of Deliverande, Sr. Jeanne Marie Chrone, OP; Fr. Mike Deeb, OP, Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Dominicans for Justice and Peace and Sr.Sandra Xavier, OP of Trinidad and Tobago.

After the entrance procession, Fr. Henry Nmor OP, Sr.Camilla Cotter OP, and Sr. Antonia David OP, each processed to trumpet fanfare with symbols (a Bible, a staff and a dog with lighted touch) reminding us of the legacy of the Donimicans. During the procession, the commentator gave a brief but powerful description of each symbol. Several persons remarked afterwards that this part of the liturgy was a very profound moment for them.

Most Reverend Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, Papal Nuncio brought warm and spirited greetings, congratulating the Order on this milestone and bringing to our attention that Dominic was a man who always spoke to God or about God.

Fr. Celestin Nwakwuo, OP , the Parish Priest and chief host, then read a summarised version of the jubilee message from the Master of the Order, Fr. Bruno Cadore OP in which he reminded us of our call to go out and preach and to be preachers of grace announcing God`s mercy to all.

The chief celebrant, Archbishop Robert Rivas, OP, Metropolitan of Castries stressed that the mission of the Order is itinerancy, stating that the world is our parish. Archbishop Rivas mentioned that since new frontiers for preaching are continuously emerging, Dominicans needed to bring a voice of hope, powerful words that will shake us up from our lookwarm state. The Order he stated began at a time of war, a time of confusion and darkness as a result of heresy, a depraved world, a world not unlike ours today. Archbishop Rivas noted that the world awaits today the authentic voice of preachers. He ended his homily with a poem on St. Dominic powerfully presented by a lay woman, Mrs. Agatha Jn Panel.

Just before the final blessing a representative from each Dominican community present came forward to receive a candle, lit from the jubilee candle, to be used for community prayer throughout this year. With joy and profound gratitude we went on our way rejoicing. The Mass was followed by a wonderful dinner and splendid entertainment.

Earlier during the day, Fr. Mike Deeb, OP, Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Dominicans for Justice and Peace anchored a three hours workshop for all the Dominicans in St. Lucia on the theme: 'Living the Dominican life of Justice and Mercy'. Also he made a ten minutes presentation during the dinner “on a brief history of the Order and the relevance and vision for our contemporary time”.

In this jubilee year we pray that we will be renewed and recapture our interior freedoms to set out once more to joyfully proclaim the Gospel to a world in need of hope.

Sr. Elizabeth Jn. Panel OP.


(02 March 2016)