WHAT WE DO

Priests who join the Order in this way, with a view to being a part of the Dominican Family, “strive to be imbued with the spirit of Saint Dominic” and tend “to a more perfect apostolic life”, so that from the assiduous contemplation of God which unites untiring study of Sacred Doctrine with fervent prayer and voluntary poverty, they attain a firm faith and an apostolic spirit which is fully concerned for the salvation “of every creature” “to the ends of the earth.”

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REDISCOVERING THE PRIESTS OF ST. DOMINIC

In the letter of Damian Byrne to the Dominican Family on the subject of collaboration, he made a bold declaration by identifying the Order as fundamentally familial from the beginning: “The Dominican order was born a family.” Indeed, centuries of Dominican history and tradition indicate three distinct branches of First, Second, and Third Orders. However, though the idea of a family, which is made up of men and women, as well as of clerics and laity, can be construed as present from the beginning, the Tertiaries gained official status only years after the death of St. Dominic. This was through the Rule crafted by the sixth successor of the founder of the Order.

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The Dominican diocesan priest lives a life consecrated to God not only by his baptism and ordination to the priesthood, but also by sharing in the spirit and mission of the Order of Preachers. He remains under the jurisdiction of his Ordinary, but takes up a new relationship with the Order and with his brother priests in the fraternity. He becomes a true member of the Dominican Family after he makes his solemn promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic until death. He receives grace through his profession to live a life that is guided by the Dominican spirit of contemplation, disciplined by theological study and prayer, and combined with apostolic zeal to preach the Good News.

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MASTER'S WORDS

FRATERNITY AS A THIRD ORDER

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The Dominican diocesan priest lives a life consecrated to God not only by his baptism and ordination to the priesthood, but also by sharing in the spirit and mission of the Order of Preachers. He remains under the jurisdiction of his Ordinary, but takes up a new relationship with the Order and with his brother priests in the fraternity. He becomes a true member of the Dominican Family after he makes his solemn promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic until death. He receives grace through his profession to live a life that is guided by the Dominican spirit of contemplation, disciplined by theological study and prayer, and combined with apostolic zeal to preach the Good News.

Practically speaking, the priest now becomes part of a chapter, that is, a local Fraternity attached to a nearby Dominican convent of friars, engaging in a regular encounter with other members of the fraternity not only in fellowship, but also in days of reflection and more intense theological discussion and study. Enriched by a new way of life guided both by the Rule of the Fraternity and by the particular directory of his own chapter, he is now given more opportunities to grow in his private prayer life and to seek higher spiritual perfection. 

While sharing in all the spiritual benefits of being a member of the Dominican Family, in his life and ministry in the diocese, he can likewise collaborate with the friars, nuns, sisters, laity and other members of the family of St. Dominic.