Italian Provinces Welcome more Priests into the Fraternity
Following the inaugural meeting organized a year ago for the diocesan priests linked to the Roman Province of St. Catherine of Siena, further steps have been initiated in order to establish an organized Dominican fraternity for the priests in central Italy. Currently, all of the seven priests associated with the Province were received separately, and later on made their individual promises independent of any existing fraternity. Of these, two have already been stationed to their proper assignations outside the country, while the rest have continued their affiliation with the Order in their personal life.
Although the Rule of the fraternities provides that certain priests in particular circumstances can be admitted individually, that is, outside a local fraternity, such condition is more of an exception rather than the norm. For this reason, the Roman Province through its Promoter, fr. Antonio Cocolicchio, OP, has now embarked on a program to facilitate a regular encounter not only among the existing members, but also with other members of the secular clergy who find themselves attracted to the spirituality of the Order of Preachers. Thus, a calendar has been set up indicating the dates for regular encounters among the priests in the company of the friars from the Convent of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. (To download a copy of the calendar, log in to http://www.dominicanes.it/i-media/le-nostre-news/save-the-date/349-7-nov...) Ordinarily commencing with a communal celebration of the Eucharist, the activity proceeds with a fraternal meeting where they talk about the Dominican spirituality, especially in relation to their ministry in the priesthood. Afterwards, the priests join the friars' community for the midday prayer in the Basilica, and then for lunch at the convent. The fraternal encounter then concludes with some after-meal conversations over a cup of Italian espresso.
From its initial meeting on 16 November 2015, the group has been consistently gathering together for a moment of prayer, study and joyful celebration of the community. Moreover, the regular encounters are likewise joined by those from the Southern Italian Province of St. Thomas Aquinas, where there is one professed member and two candidates. The calendar of meetings has been arranged to extend until the month of June of 2016. This shall hopefully pave the way for the creation later on of local fraternities, which is more consistent with the provision of the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities and with the spirit of the Order.
Concurrently in the Northern Italian Province of St. Dominic, Andrea Pizzichini of the Diocese of Fermo was received into the Priestly Fraternity of the Province of St. Dominic in Italy. The Prior of the fraternity, Msgr. Oliviero Bernasconi of the Diocese of Lugano, was delegated by the Provincial Promoter, Fr. Daniele Mazzoleni, OP, to preside over the ceremony, which took place on the feast of St. Augustine, 28 August 2015, at the community of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Milan. For the fraternity of the Province, Pizzichini is the first candidate who was received as a seminarian. For this, a special dispensation was made by the Province in order for him to have a prolonged period of initial formation, in such a way that his forthcoming ordination to the diaconate may coincide with his promise of commitment to the Fraternity of St. Dominic. With the help of God and of St. Dominic, the priests of the fraternity hope that his presence would open the way for the participation of many other young men of the church, especially clerics and priests, who wish to grow interiorly in the spirit of St. Dominic and his spiritual family.
(17 January 2016)