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USA | Province Celebrates Inaugural Profession in the Priestly Fraternities

Fr. Frank Sofie (center) at St. Dominic Catholic Church, New Orleans

For the first time in the Province of St. Martin de Porres, a diocesan priest made profession in the Fraternities of St. Dominic. Through a special dispensation of an early profession for serious health reasons, Fr. J. Francis Sofie of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama, made his promise to follow the Rule of the fraternities before the Prior Provincial, Brother Thomas Condon, OP, on 2 October 2021, memorial of the Guardian Angels, in the Church of St. Dominic in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Also present during the celebration was Brother David K. Seid, OP, Provincial Promoter of the Priestly Fraternities, as well as other friars in the Province: Brother John G. Restrepo, OP, Pastor of St. Dominic Church and Sub-Prior of St. Dominic Priory; Brother Dennis Klein, OP, Professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at Berkley, California, and a native of Mobile; and Brother Michael Burke, OP, who provided the music for the liturgy.

Choosing St. Vincent Ferrer for his name in the fraternities, Fr. Frank experienced his initial contact with the Dominicans during his theological studies in 1990 at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. Falling in love with all things Dominican from that time onward, Fr. Frank appreciated his intellectual formation at the Angelicum, which he found stimulating and refreshing for its integration of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologiae in all the subjects.

His stay at the Angelicum lasted for only a year, eventually finishing his theological studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, it was for Fr. Frank a life-changing episode that drew him more and more drawn to the Dominican spirituality and way of life. Of particular attraction for him was the Order's commitment to Veritas, that is, to Jesus, who is Truth Incarnate, to the tender love for Our Lady as the Mother of the Order of Friars Preachers, and to an intellectual formation founded on St. Thomas’ teaching. In fact, his master’s thesis dealt with St. Thomas’ position on the Immaculate Conception, eventually earning Latin honors for him upon completion.

His love for the Order, in fact, led Fr. Frank to the novitiate formation of the friars in 2005 in Cincinnati. However, the death of his parents, which occurred within twenty minutes of each other on the eve of beginning his novitiate, weighed heavily on him during formation. As God would arrange things, he returned to the Archdiocese of Mobile, where he was eventually ordained a priest on 10 June 1994. Nevertheless, there remained his thirst and hunger to be a Dominican not necessarily by becoming a friar, but through his person and his way of living and engaging in his diocesan priestly ministry.

Such life-long desire found fulfilment in the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic, which Fr. Frank later came to know with much joy in his heart. By becoming a part of the Dominican Family, he knew that his vocation within a vocation found its rightful place. He was, and would remain, a diocesan priest, but he would do so in the Dominican way in order to be a better pastor and servant to the people of God of the Archdiocese of Mobile.

Br. David Keong Seid, OP