FRATERNITY AS A THIRD ORDER
REDISCOVERING THE PRIESTS OF ST. DOMINIC
In the letter of Damian Byrne to the Dominican Family on the subject of collaboration, he made a bold declaration by identifying the Order as fundamentally familial from the beginning: “The Dominican order was born a family.” Indeed, centuries of Dominican history and tradition indicate three distinct branches of First, Second, and Third Orders. However, though the idea of a family, which is made up of men and women, as well as of clerics and laity, can be construed as present from the beginning, the Tertiaries gained official status only years after the death of St. Dominic. This was through the Rule crafted by the sixth successor of the founder of the Order.
The Dominican diocesan priest lives a life consecrated to God not only by his baptism and ordination to the priesthood, but also by sharing in the spirit and mission of the Order of Preachers. He remains under the jurisdiction of his Ordinary, but takes up a new relationship with the Order and with his brother priests in the fraternity. He becomes a true member of the Dominican Family after he makes his solemn promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic until death. He receives grace through his profession to live a life that is guided by the Dominican spirit of contemplation, disciplined by theological study and prayer, and combined with apostolic zeal to preach the Good News.
MUTUAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS PRIESTS
Collaborative ventures and dialogue have already been taking place on various levels between secular and religious priests. The mutuality of such relationship rests on their reciprocal cooperation, both of which enrich one another through the works that they do together. The religious contributes in building up the local church through its apostolic works in the diocese, for instance, by the institutions that it operates, or by its members who directly take part in the apostolic endeavours of the diocese. In the same manner, the diocesan priest contributes in the mission of the religious institute by actively taking part in the operation of institutions belonging to the religious. These entities are effective venues that facilitate encounters between the religious and the secular priests in the course of their ministry, thus paving the way to mutually influence one another in diverse positive ways: as administrators or teachers in schools; as formators in seminaries; as chaplains in hospitals; as pastors in parishes; as directors in institutes, etc. The possibilities can be as numerous as the number of existing institutions in the local Church are, and the number of opportunities for common ministry are. And this could only be for the advantage of the Church, because "the coexistence and collaboration of secular and religious clergy are not detrimental to dioceses, but rather enrich them with new spiritual treasures and increase notably their apostolic vitality".