The European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities has heard the horrific news coming from the Ukraine and indeed feel the palpable tension in Eastern Europe. Our thoughts and love are with our sisters and brothers affected by these alarming events. Immediately and with vigour we turn in prayer to our Protector, our Lord and Saviour, Lord of Peace and of Love.
As a community of Preachers, as a family of believers let us join, and invite others to join with us in praying for peace. We ask our father Dominic to intercede to God our Father for peace.
We would be grateful if you can share this prayer far and wide, together let us shower Heaven with our prayers for Peace.
Our Lady Queen of Peace pray for us and the whole world.
Greetings in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we pray this communication finds you well.
The Convent of St Philip and St Jacob the Apostles, Vilnius, Lithuania, was the venue for the first face to face meeting of the European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities in over two years. Our meeting began on Friday October 22nd and concluded on Sunday evening 24th October. The reason for meeting in Vilnius was in preparation for the next assembly which please God, will take place from August 12th to 17th 2022.
Although the Council have regularly met during these two years it has always been by zoom or skype. With the volume and pace of work we got through in Vilnius, it quickly became obvious that face to face meetings are far more productive.
The Lithuanian fraternities hosting our meeting were an amazing inspiration, we were totally blown away with their work ethic. Their mission is without doubt blessed, with Saint Dominic and the Holy Spirit working visibly among them. Our Lithuanian brothers and sisters delivered at a gathering in the convent an excellent presentation which highlights some of their work and which have agreed to share on agora so you can all see. Our sincerest gratitude goes to them for their wonderful hospitality.
As you can imagine the planning for the assembly entails much work, again the team in Vilnius have made a great start to the preparations. The council visited the venue for the assembly which will be held in St Joseph’s, the Lithuanian national seminary. We were very impressed with the complex and I know assembly delegates will be very well accommodated in this modern, state of the art facility.
Saturday morning work began in earnest, and I am happy to report that we were very successful in covering our planned schedule. The provisional programme for Assembly 2022 is prepared, our work continues as we seek to secure some brilliant speakers that we have identified. “Europe Land of Mission” is the theme selected for the assembly.
Over the next number of weeks, you will receive notification of the assembly and we will follow these with other various items of information as we firm up on speakers, facilitators, and special guests. In the meantime, sisters, and brothers, we ask for your prayers for a successful assembly where we can all meet, gather but most of all pray together for a healing of Europe that as we all know is suffering in many, many ways.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank the community of friars in the convent of St Philip and St Jacob the Apostles in Vilnius for their generous hospitality. Much gratitude also to our Lithuanian sisters and brothers for the great welcome and care they gave us during our visit, they have given at least one weary solider much inspiration and motivation by their exemplary apostolate.
In the Love the is Jesus Christ, we pray you keep healthy, safe and well.
Based on the ECLDF Formation Plan and in response to the decisions of the International Assembly in Fatima (2018), the Dominican Lay Fraternity of the Netherlands (DLN) wrote the document: ‘For the salvation of all souls’ : formation within the DLN anno 2021: starting points and structure. This international Assembly called upon the Lay Dominicans of each Province to draw up their own guidelines for formation.
From the foundation in 1999 of the DLN onwards, formation has always been an important point of attention. The DLN wants to form its members in all phases of their existence as Lay Dominicans, in the spirit of the Gospel and of Saint Dominic. Three formation programs were thus created: for the initial formation of aspirants, for the continued initial formation for members in the first three years of their profession, and for the permanent formation of the fraternity as a whole.
In the more than twenty years that the DLN has now existed, important developments have taken place in both social and ecclesiastical fields. This also applies to the DLN itself. In twenty years, the fraternity grew from nineteen to over sixty members. The composition of the DLN also changed. Initially, it was mainly people who were already familiar with the Order of the Preachers who joined. This has been less the case in recent years. In the light of these developments and in the light of the decisions made in Fatima in 2018, a reconsideration of the formation programs was desirable.
The document (including an English summary) is published on Agora. With Google translate more paragraphs can be translated from Dutch into English.
They led him out to crucify him. They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross.
Mark 15, 21
This Lent, the liturgical year invites us to read the Gospel of Mark, who is the most down-to-earth narrator out of the four evangelists, providing us with the greatest number of raw facts, with little interpretation. Mark is also the evangelist who, through the sobriety of his narrative, best allows words to conjure up the scenes within which we move around as discreet spectators.
Among all these images hanging on the connecting thread between the acclamation of the Palm Sunday procession and the celebration of Easter Sunday, from “Hosannah” to “Alleluia”, there is one special image that I would like to contemplate with you today. The image of a man returning from the countryside, a family man called Simon from the African city of Cyrene, requisitioned by the soldiers to carry the cross of Christ. It is therefore under constraint, not out of compassion for an exhausted convict, that the unlucky passer-by “takes on the job”. I can even imagine that on obeying this order, he must have thought: “If only I had chosen another road”.
If the grain of wheat that falls to the earth does not die, it remains only a grain of wheat; but if it dies, then it produces much fruit.
Jesus gives us this Sunday the springtime image of the rebirth of nature, of food and fruit blossoming from what is sown. He leaves us with the imperative that as his followers, Christians that we are, we cannot stand still. It is of no use to keep what we have received or what we have discovered if we do not put it to good use. Or if we do not share it with others. To preserve is sterile. To share is to flourish and bear fruit. We live in times when it seems that many try more to resist and preserve than to share and radiate. Times where discouragement and giving up gain strength. “It is easy to be infected by the virus of discouragement that sometimes seems to spread around us” Pope Francis tells us (1). “But the Lord has given us an effective vaccine against this evil virus: it is hope; hope, which is born of persevering prayer and daily fidelity to our apostolate. With this vaccine, we can proceed with ever new energy to share the joy of the Gospel as missionary disciples and living signs of the presence of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace.”