Since February of the present year 2021, some diocesan priests from Colombia and Venezuela have been meeting virtually every two weeks in order to orient themselves towards a Dominican priestly fraternity. Their interest in the charism of the Order of Preachers has been encouraged by their closeness to the friars and to the women congregations of the Order, of which some of them are chaplains.
The quarantines in both countries have not diminished the desire of these priests to conform their life and ministry according to the charism inherited by St. Dominic of Caleruega. On the contrary, during the year, the virtual meetings have helped the priests to get to know each other and to grow in formation based on two topics that have focused their attention: the nature of priestly fraternity based on Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the Magisterium and the development of current theology; and “Rediscovering the Place of the Secular Priests in the Order of Preachers”, an article by Brother Florentino Bolo, OP, Promoter General of the Priestly Fraternities of the Order.
From November 21 to 24, as if giving birth after nine months of online accompaniment by Br. Raúl Gómez Sánchez, OP, Provincial Promoter, the first face-to-face meeting of the following clerics was held:
Fr. Jhon Freddy Gutiérrez, priest
Fr. Albert Johan Casierra, priest
Fr. Johan Araújo, priest
Fr. Jorge A. Montilla, priest
Fr. Mario Raúl Narváez, priest
Rev. Jairo Villegas López, permanent deacon
Rev. Gustavo Soler, under formation for the permanent diaconate
The meeting took place in several Dominican places in the central region of Colombia: Santo Domingo Convent in Bogotá, where the Dominican studentate is located; the convent of Our Lady of the Rosary in Chiquinquira, where the painting of this devotion, miraculously renewed on 26 December 1586, is located; and the house of St. Martin de Porres in Villa de Leyva.
This was an opportunity to experience more closely what had been worked on virtually every two weeks throughout the year. Therefore, it was also an opportunity for discernment that each priest had to decide whether Dominican spirituality is the path that will best help him to faithfully carry out his ministry.
Br. Raúl Gómez Sánchez, OP