Dominican Priestly Fraternities in Italy
In Italy, there currently exist three Dominican Provinces from the previous six: the Province of St. Dominic in Northern Italy with its seat in the Convent of S. Maria delle Grazie in Milan; the Roman Province of St. Catherine of Siena with its seat in the Convent of S. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome; and the Province of St. Thomas Aquinas in Southern Italy with its seat in the Convent of S. Maria dell’Arco in Naples. All three have recently undertaken various works for the Dominican Priestly Fraternities.
Spiritual Retreat for Secular Priests
From 10-14 November 2014, the community of St. Dominic in Varazze, played host to a spiritual course organized by the Priestly Fraternity of the Northern Italian Province, not only for the members of the fraternity, but also for other secular priests who desired an experience of retreat in the company of the friars.
Though accompanied by harsh weather that battered the coastlines of Genova, the participants were enriched with insightful sharing given by fr. Daniele Mazzoleni, Provincial Promoter of the fraternities, who is also the superior of the house, and by Don Angelo Belloni, secretary of the fraternity. The priests shared days of fruitful reflection on the life and ministry of the priesthood with inspiration from St. Catherine of Siena and the newly-beatified son of the Province of St. Dominic, Bl. Giuseppe Girotti. The activity was made more meaningful not only by the historical richness of the convent and the church, but also by the fraternal welcome of the friars’ community, which everyone experienced especially in the common liturgy, meals and recreation. They also enjoyed a visit to the nearby Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy in Savona.
On a sad note, however, a mass was especially offered by the participants on the conclusion of the event for the eternal repose of Fr. Mazzoleni’s father, who passed away on the previous day. The Priestly Fraternity of the Province of St. Dominic in Italy was established by its former Provincial Fr. Riccardo Barile in 2011. It is based on the Dominican house of Agognate in Novara, and currently has 15 members.
Inaugural Meeting of Members
Although, for a few years now, there exist in the Roman Province of St. Catherine of Siena a number of diocesan priests who made their individual promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic, there has never been a single group constituting each priest together into a fraternity.
On the morning of 15 December 2014, the Roman Province, through its Prior Provincial fr. Aldo Tarquini, and newly-appointed Provincial Promoter of the Priestly Fraternities fr. Antonio Cocolicchio, held its inaugural meeting that brought together for the first time both the current members and those aspiring to know more about the fraternities. A total of seven secular priests came to the Provincialate in Rome, and participated in an encounter marked by sharing acquaintances with one another as well as recounting individual experiences in the ministry. The group likewise discussed plans for the formal establishment of a local fraternity, following the provisions of the General Chapter of Trogir, which petitioned the Priors Provincial not only to accompany the members of the fraternities, but also to name a friar to help form these communities. (ACG 2013 Trogir, n. 120)
Currently, there are six diocesan priests in the list of individual members of the Province, with several other potential candidates for reception into the fraternities. After the meeting, the priests joined the friars’ community for the Liturgy of the Hours at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and thereafter for lunch at the convent refectory.
In both events organized by the Northern and the Roman Provinces, Fr. Florentino Bolo, Coordinator for Priestly Fraternities of the Order, was present to give an update on the current status of the fraternities in the world, as well as on the celebration of the Jubilee of the Order.
Rite of Profession in the Fraternity
On 14 December 2014, the Dominican Province of St. Thomas Aquinas in Italy welcomed Don Gerardo Perillo of the Diocese of Salerno into the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic. The Prior Provincial, fr. Franceso La Vecchia, presided over the ceremony held at the Shrine of the Madonna dell’Arco in S. Anastasia, Naples. Born on 12 November 1963, Don Gerardo was ordained a priest on 24 March 1999. He is currently the hospital chaplain of the Santa Maria Della Speranza in Battipaglia in the province of Salerno.
(05 December 2015)