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From the Pastor 07/22/18

Summer is always a busy time for us. Lots of capital improvements have or are taking place. You will notice the Ordination Jubilee Marker has now been put on the new serpentine wall landscaping marking the Pastors of the parish who have celebrated their 25th and 50th Jubilee of their ordination. A lot of other landscaping has been accomplished and we are almost ready to advertise many trees that will be made available for memorials and dedications. We will have more information on tree dedications in a few weeks. A second learning atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is almost complete, along with other construction and redistribution/ consolidation of school space. We have also been able to put new flooring in the main sacristy, and the rest of the stairwells and landings in the church. Several painting jobs are taking place all throughout the campus. The church floors have been refinished as we do each summer. We have removed the old front and side walkway at the convent and have put in new walkways for the sisters. Finally we are in the midst of installing our new heating system for the church. Most of this work is being accomplished due to your generosity to the Archdiocesan Capital Campaign, in which a portion is being returned to our parish.

Dominican Preaching, Part III

I would like to describe to you three critical components of Dominican Preaching. First and most important, the journey of preaching begins in one’s own soul. Second, I would to speak to you about how Dominican Preaching flows from our Common Life together. And third, that Dominican Preaching is about imparting knowledge that leads to true wisdom.

A second characteristic of Dominican Preaching is our life in common, the life that we live in community. We live in common as brothers of St. Dominic what we preach in Jesus Christ. The greatest challenge of living in common is that we do not choose the brothers we live with. My provincial, following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chose certain brothers for me to live with. Believe me I would not have necessarily chosen them. These brothers that I live with are the means of my salvation! They are helping me get to heaven, and hopefully I am helping them as well. One of the reasons I became a religious was because I knew down deep in my soul that I needed the support of brothers who loved Jesus and wanted to serve the Church.

I had a maternal uncle who was a Diocesan Priest of the Diocese of Portland, Maine. He was a traditional priest who was our second father. My father worked all the time to support his large family, so my Uncle Lucien would take days off from his parish and come and mentor us boys. My uncle had a profound effect on all of us boys. He died of a massive heart attack at the age of 55, and was found by his parishioners the next day when he did now show up for Mass. His death had a profound effect, especially on me, and I promised myself that if I ever received the vocation to be a priest, I would never want to live alone. God answered that prayer by giving me brothers to live with.

Before the beginning of a long day of ministry; during the day when I can concelebrate the conventual Mass with my brothers; and even towards the end of a very long day, I cannot express to you the consolation I receive from God knowing that every time we go to chapel for the Divine Office I have brothers in Christ to pray with. I know that I cannot do this alone. I need my brothers to give me the strength to continue in ministry.

Although I am not called to be close to all my brothers, it seems that in every community I have been assigned to, the Lord has given me brothers that I can confide in. Brothers that will hear my confession, make time to listen to me, and help me through my daily struggles. I have brothers who are watching over me, taking me aside if they are concerned with me, gently yet firmly steering me in the right direction. I know that I could not survive religious life and the priesthood, or the preaching and ministry apostolate, without the constant support of my brothers in St. Dominic.

It is what we do in common that feeds the Holy Preaching: praying in common, recreating in common, sharing a common table, embracing each other’s weaknesses and short comings, challenging one another to do better, sharing our lives as brothers who love Christ, study, observing the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, and working in the apostolate. We are brothers of one heart and one mind, intent on God.

But lest I present too rosy a picture of common life, let me make it clear that living in common is not easy. Trust me. We come from different backgrounds, different families, different walks of life, and even at times different opinions about theology and religious life. But it is this common life of charity and humility towards one another that forms us to be Preachers of the Gospel. Preaching is not something we do, it is something we are. We become preachers because of our common life together.

This column will continue next weekend with the third component of Dominican Preaching. I will be returning from Maine on July 24.

A blessed week to all,

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