ITALY | A Pioneering Fraternity of Priests at the Angelicum
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
CONVENT OF SAINTS DOMINIC AND SIXTUS (ANGELICUM, ROME)
Ordinarily, diocesan priests who form part of the Dominican Family are received into the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic through a particular Province of the friars. This has always been the practice in the Order, until an exception recently came into existence with the admission of six diocesan priests in Rome, that is, not under a particular Province, but through a community that is directly under the jurisdiction of the Master of the Order.
On 8 December 2017, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, at 6:30 in the evening, six priests, all currently doing their studies in different universities in Rome, began their novitiate formation with the rite of admission into the Dominican Fraternities: Fr. "Álvaro María" Álvaro Fernández Fidalgo (Diocese of Orense in Spain); Fr. "Raymund Maria" Maximilian J. Nightingale (Diocese of Kalamazoo in Michigan, USA); Fr. "Dominic Mary" Sean R. DeWitt (Diocese of Austin in Texas, USA); Fr. "John the Baptist Marie" Dominic James Buckley (Diocese of Orlando in Florida, USA); Fr. "Thomas Aquinas Maria" Jason William Borkenhagen (Diocese of Wichita in Kansas, USA); and Fr. "Pier Giorgio Maria" David Michael Fons (Diocese of Lansing in Michigan, USA).
The rite was held at the choir chapel of the Convent of Saints Dominic and Sixtus in Rome, to which the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) is attached. Fr. Dominic Holtz, OP, sub-prior of the convent, presided over the rite, with fr. Miroslav Konštanc Adam, OP, the designated Religious Assistant of the fraternity, as celebrant. After the ritual, the priests joined the friars at the same venue for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, and later on at the convent refectory for dinner.
It was in 2016 when, upon the approval of the Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, initial talks took place between fr. Florentino Bolo Jr., OP, General Promoter of the priestly fraternities, and fr. Glenn Morris, OP, prior of the convent. Accordingly, secular priests were to be received into the fraternity under the convent's care on a provisional basis, that is, with the intention of eventually transferring to a local fraternity under a Province of the friars once they return to their respective dioceses after their studies in Rome. The transfer would then proceed according to which Province exercises responsibility over the territory of the priest's particular church.
The first attempt to organize such group took place in November 2016 at the Angelicum, but a number of unforeseen circumstances came in the way of its fruition. Another initiative came in the following year. Through the intervention of Sr. Catherine Droste, OP, some American priests came into contact with the Order, thus leading to an orientation meeting on 4 November 2017 at the Casa Santa Maria in Rome. This was followed by a formal inaugural assembly at the Angelicum on 16 November 2017, during which a total of seven diocesan priests gathered at the Sala dei Professori together with fr. Bolo, fr. Adam, and fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP, who stood as assistant to fr. Adam. With the newest addition to the priestly fraternities, the Order continues with joyful hope not only for strengthening this branch of the Order, but also for the fulfilment of its mission by helping build the local church.