Reception of New Members Reanimates Priestly Fraternity in Bohemia
On 27 October 2015, the Province of Bohemia held a gathering of the members of the Fraternitas Presbyterorum et Diaconorum S. Dominici in the city of Prague, Czech Republic, during which two new members were joyfully welcomed into the family of St. Dominic. In a rite of admission, the Provincial Promoter, fr. Martin Dvořák, formally received into the fraternities Fr. Tomáš Klíč of the Archdiocese of Olomouc, and Rev. David Seifert of the Archdiocese of Prague. Though some members were unable to participate in the event for reasons of age, health, or the respective commitments in the ministry, among those present included five priests.
Fr. Tomáš is a student-priest presently taking up his doctorate in the Faculty of Theology of Bologna, where he also closely experiences the Dominican life in the company of the friars of the Province of St. Dominic in Italy. He previously earned his licentiate degree in moral theology from the Lateran University in Rome. Rev. David, on the other hand, is a permanent deacon who is a convert to the Catholic religion as an adult. Already a doctor in Spiritual Theology, his decision to embrace the faith was prompted by his fascination with the harmony between the Catholic teaching and the natural sciences. Rightfully so, he was given in the fraternity as his patron St. Albert the Great, whose name he now takes on in the Order.
The addition of the new members has been for the local fraternity of Bohemia an encouraging experience, especially considering its current effort to reanimate the group. In a letter addressed to all the members, Fr. Vladimír Slámečka of the Archdiocese of Prague, prior of the fraternity, underscored the importance of celebrating the gift of the Dominican family, especially in the spirit of the Jubilee of the Order. Describing the group as a colorful mosaic, he affirmed the varied ministries into which the members are involved. Accordingly, while some priests actively fulfill their mission in the parish apostolate through pastoral care, or in the academe as dedicated educators, there are also those who work in the regions of the country where it is easy to experience the daily challenges of loneliness and even lack of a sense of purpose. While there are young members who have promising years ahead of them, there are also those who are more advanced in their years, and even some who are embattled with the weight of illness. Yet still, and perhaps it is also a particular characteristic of the fraternity, there are those who are permanent deacons, among which are family men who combine their diaconal ministry with their role as husbands and parents. Although a recent declaration of the Order indicates that permanent deacons may be received into the lay fraternities, there is no explicit prohibition about receiving them in the priestly fraternities.
Fr. Slámečka affirms the fact that, despite many diversities, the members of the fraternity all form a community of brothers with burning hearts and open mind, carrying the torch of St. Dominic to wherever the Lord calls them, and in whatever circumstances their presence is needed: in churches or homes, through preaching, administration of the sacraments, or education of the youth. In the true spirit of the family of St. Dominic, he further asserts that it is not a matter of valuing one ministry or way of life over the other. Rather, each one lives his vocation in the Order according to the particular context that one is engaged in, bringing the apostolic spirit of Dominic in one's daily life and mission. It is a sincere testimony of the Dominican life and of faithfulness in the promise that the members made, and with which they strive to be Dominicans in the world.
(01 February 2016)