ITALY | The Priests of St. Dominic in the Footsteps of St. Thomas Aquinas
Since November of 2015, a steady group of diocesan priests have been meeting regularly at the Convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, in the company of the friars of the Roman Province of St. Catherine of Siena. On 14 March 2016, the encounter took a different turn when one of its members, Don Giacinto Mancini of the Diocese of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, hosted the gathering in his parish at the Monte San Giovanni Campano.
Resting majestically on a hill, the place was of particular interest for the priests of St. Dominic, not only because of the imposing fortress and castle of the family of St. Thomas Aquinas, which dominates the entire valley of Frosinone. It was also the place where the family of the saint obliged him to remain for a year in order to dissuade him from joining the friars preachers of the Order of Saint Dominic. There the priests were treated to a tour of the magnificent church, which is now dedicated to the Vergine del Suffragio, and where the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas is traditionally celebrated in March 7, the day of his birth into eternal life.
The group was accompanied by the Provincial promoter of the priestly fraternities, fr. Antonio Cocolicchio, who presented to the priests a booklet on the biography of St. Dominic, which was printed recently on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the Order's confirmation. Through a glimpse on the various stages of the life of the founder, they contemplated together about the beauty and depth of the Dominican charism. Don Giacinto likewise presented some aspects of the life of St. Thomas, particularly those with a significant link to the history of the place. Towards the end of the meeting, Don Marco Sorgia of the Diocese of Cagliari gave some copies of his recent publication on the Book of Jonah.
As customarily observed in every encounter, one of the main highlights of the encounter was the common celebration of the Eucharist, which the group held at the chapel built on the site where tradition says that the episode of the temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas, and his reception of the sacred cord of purity from the angels, took place. The occasion was concluded with fraternal agape marked by mutual wishes for a meaningful celebration of the seasons of Lent and Easter, and with joyful anticipation of their next encounter in the following month. God willing, this group of diocesan priests shall form the priestly fraternity for the Roman Province of St. Catherine of Siena.
fr. Florentino Bolo, OP