“Tracing the Roots Back to the History of the Order” is the theme of the 2019 Annual Regional Gathering of the Dominican Lay Fraternities of Region IV held in the Daragang Magayon Hall of the University of Santo Tomas – Legazpi last August 11, 2019.

Expounded in the most comprehensive yet unsophisticated manner by the General Promoter of the Dominican Priestly Fraternities of the Order of Preachers, Rev. Fr. Florentino A. Bolo, Jr., OP, as keynote speaker, the theme has been well-received, understood and appreciated by the Lay Fraternities. As emphatically explained by Fr. Bolo, throughout the course of the history of the Order of Preachers, the traditional “Third Order” concept has been abandoned by the Dominicans to make way for the more inclusive thrust of St. Dominic’s vision of the Dominican Family. Nonetheless, similar to its priestly counterpart, the Dominican Lay Fraternities remains unique and distinct from the rest of the associations attached to the Order since it is not linked by an ordinary and accidental affiliation with the Dominican Family; rather, its lineage is preserved and can be traced from the very history of the Order as an exceptional lay vocation or “calling” established by the very Master of the Order himself, Our Holy Father St. Dominic de Guzman.

And so, to boost the morale of the Lay Fraternities, Sis. Belen L. Tangco, OP, the national president of the Dominican Laity of the Dominican Province of the Philippines presented some significant updates on the ongoing revision of the Directory and By-Laws of the Dominican Lay Fraternities. According to her, the so-called aspirancy, postulancy and novitiate will no longer be used in the lay formation since these terms are more appropriately used in the religious vocation. Instead an initial formation of four (4) months for a newly admitted member is sufficient for the vestition of the “small scapular” while the rest of the following months up to a year is adequate for a member to make a temporal promise for “thee (3) years.” Upon completion of these requirements, promotion to perpetual profession comes thereafter. Hence, the simplification of the formation program of the Lay Fraternities becomes a welcome novelty not only for the upcoming generation but most especially for the old-time members who has lingered in their status of membership for several years.

It is therefore of great value that Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Pietro V. Arsciwals, OP, the Provincial Promoter of the Dominican Lay Fraternities, inspired by the Gospel Reading from Luke 12:32-48 in the celebration of Holy Eucharist, has encouraged during his homily the members of the Fraternity to persevere in their lay vocation just like a vigilant servant or a faithful and wise steward, described in the gospel as someone who patiently waits and is ever ready for the coming of his master.

Such vigilance in the ministry has manifested in the summary report of accomplishments of the Dominican Lay Fraternities of Region IV presented by the Regional President, Sis. Antonio Edna B. Roa, OP. Also, on the level of economic stewardship, Sis. Mildred Perete, OP, regional council member and the treasurer’s representative has gratefully declared the positive net performance of the collection and disbursement of registration fees intended for the annual gathering.

Moreover, in final assessment of the current state of affairs of the Dominican Lay Fraternities of Region IV, Rev. Fr. Roman L. Santos, OP, the Ecclesiastical Assistant (Regional Promoter and Spiritual Director) has declared a very positive outlook in the continuously growing and flourishing vocation of the Dominican Lay Fraternities throughout the entire region. Indeed, it is only through the frequent visit to and consistent spiritual formation of all chapters and communities of the Fraternity can there be a real effective ministry and a radically tremendous outcome in the thriving of the Dominican Lay vocation towards its future.

Gathering together as one family, the 139 participants from the various chapters and communities of the Dominican Lay Fraternities have come to attend this year’s annual regional assembly. They are as follows:

  1. St. Martin de Porres Chapter (Legazpi) – 31
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas Chapter (Guinobatan) – 11
  3. Mo. Francisca del Espiritu Santo Chapter (Naga) – 15
  4. Our Lady of the Pilar Chapter (Sorsogon) – 9
  5. St. Raymond de Peñafort Community (Legazpi) – 10
  6. St. Catherine of Siena Community (Daraga) – 14
  7. St. Rose of Lima Community (Oas) – 15
  8. St. Catherine of Siena (Libmanan) – 8
  9. St. Thomas Aquinas Community (UST-Legazpi, Professionals, newly established) – 18
  10. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Community (UST-Legazpi, Students, newly established) – 8

By: Fr. Roman L. Santos, OP

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