Schools of Preaching: The New Zealand Experience

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On a recent canonical visit to New Zealand in the first week of June I was impressed by two experiences: “The Peace Place” and “Lay People Preaching”

The Peace Place (TPP):

In New Zealand there are only 4 friars.  Three friars live in Auckland (North Island) and one lives in Dunedin (South Island).  In Auckland the friars live in an apartment on the seventh floor in the center of the city which has a big room on the ground floor called “The Peace Place”. It is well situated and is developing into a busy meeting place.  The friars say that TPP is at the crossroads to interconnect all those working for Peace. 

TPP is ideally situated in the heart of the city of Auckland where the Dominican friars live. It is a place for people from all walks of life to come in and have a cup of coffee or talk with someone.  One part of TPP is rented out as office space to Pax Christi, the New Zealand group that brings all peace workers together.  It also serves as a meeting place for the lay Dominican fraternity.  They meeting regularly for meditation and sometimes show environmental videos. 

Lay People Preaching:

In some ways there is a movement towards empowering lay people in New Zealand.  Every week there is in the crypt of a parish what is called “Shared Masses” where lay people prepare the liturgy and even take turns at preaching.  Some years ago the lay fraternities made special efforts to have formation programmes. There was a preaching team of a friar, a sister and a lay Dominican that went around the country successfully preaching, and forming lay people. 

The congregations of New Zealand Dominican sisters have had a big role in empowering lay people through their formal training schools and through the lay fraternities that they animate.  In conjunction with the lay people, the sisters are also reaching out to the indigenous Maori tribe and creating links between them and the Catholic faith. The efforts of the Dominicans to go beyond the strictly organized structures were very impressive.

General Chapter of Trogir 2013: Mission Mandates

The General Chapter of Rome 2010 focused the attention of the Order on the mission of preaching. It also underlined some topics for study and reflection. The General Chapter asked the Master of the Order and all the brothers to carry out different studies and reflections on particular issues confronting the Order's life and mission.  The General Council decided to engage in reflections on the following topics: Schools of Preaching, Parishes, Indigenous People, Migration, Inter-Religious Dialogue, Education Apostolate, New Ways of Preaching, Rosary and Pilgrimages, Pastoral City Centers and Salamanca Process.

In the Acts of Rome regarding the Schools of Preaching: “We recommend to different branches of the Dominican Family to establish in each entity a school or workshop of preaching open to all members of the Dominican Family and others, empowering them to become preachers of the word in all its forms: liturgical and non-liturgical according to the vocation of each one”.  ACG Rome, # 149.

The Province of St. Albert assumed the responsibility and has written a good document on this theme. How can we form the young to participate in the preaching mission of the Order? How do we help the different branches of the Dominican family to become effective in preaching the Word in their environment?  These and other questions are discussed in the mission mandates on Schools of Preaching.

Please visit and make comments on this topic at:
 
fr Prakash Lohale, OP – Socius for Apostolic Life
(24 June 2013)