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From the Pastor 07/08/18

You never know what you are going to find when you start to clean out electronic files. I have been trying to take time each week to pull up parish files and purge. When you are an administrator of a large parish if you don’t clean up files, eventually you can’t find what you are looking for.

And lo and behold I came across some writings I did on Dominican Preaching. I remember when I wrote these essays. It was for a presentation I gave on a Come and See Vocation Weekend at the Dominican House of Studies, in which we invite young men to come and see our life, and discern a possible vocation to the Order. So I am going to do a four-part series this month on Dominican preaching.

Dominican Preaching, Part I

In late July of 1986 when I arrived at St. Gertrude Priory in Cincinnati, OH to begin my novitiate for the Dominican Order in the Province of St. Joseph, all I knew was that I wanted to be a preacher of the Gospel. I did not know how to preach and I relied on my superiors, teachers, mentors, and my own brothers living the life together to teach me how to be a Friar Preacher. And I can tell you that the Order has not let me down. If anything the Order has more than provided for my desire to preach. If you receive a vocation to follow our way of life, to follow in the footsteps of our Holy Father St. Dominic, the many saints and blessed of the Order, the friars, nuns, sisters, and committed lay members of the Order, you are entering into a life of perfection, but perfection comes at a cost, literally the cost of your own person to put on Christ and be possessed by the Church to be used for the salvation of souls.

When I was very young, many, many years ago, my family lived only one street up from our parish. Since I lived in a rather pious Catholic home, and had many brothers (thus free labor), we were always in church: singing in choir, serving Mass, funerals, weddings, Holy Hours, doing chores for the priests and the sisters, and involved in all sorts of activities. One day I said to my mother, “It would be great if I could live down at the church all the time.” With a smile on her face, my dear mother said, “For you that is a very real possibility.” I believe my mother fostered my vocation from a very young age. Little did I know back then that God was already preparing me for life in the Church. I can say with complete joy, that living inside the Church, being possessed by the Church, is the greatest vocation that any person could ever receive.

Now 32 years later I can tell you much about the charism of the Order of Friars Preachers. St. Dominic founded the Order of Friars Preachers for the preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of souls. I knew this when I entered, but I learned exactly what that meant as the years progressed. It has not been an easy life in any sense, but it has been a life that I love and I thank God every day that I received a vocation to religious life and the priesthood. How blessed we are to receive a two-fold blessing: consecrated life and the priesthood!

I would like to describe to you three critical components of Dominican Preaching. Please understand that there are many components to Dominican Preaching, but I am just going to focus on three that I feel are most important. First, and most important, the journey of preaching begins in one’s own soul. Second, I will speak to you about how Dominican Preaching flows from our Common Life together, the life that we live in community. And third, that Dominican Preaching is about imparting knowledge that leads to true wisdom.

This column will continue next weekend with the first component of Dominican Preaching.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor