WHO WE ARE
The PRIESTLY FRATERNITIES OF ST. DOMINIC are diocesan priests who are formally affiliated to the
Order of Preachers (Dominicans) through a Rule of life that they profess, and so strive for evangelical perfection under the overall direction of the Dominican friars.
The origins of the Dominican fraternities can be traced from the Dominican third Order secular, which then included both priests and lay persons as members. With the cessation of terminological references to first, second and third Orders in the Dominican Order in 1968, there ensued the creation of separate Rules for the laity and for the priests, and the corresponding constitution of one and the other as distinct fraternities. Now existing as a separate association from that of the laity, and with its own distinct rule to follow, the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic continues to be guided by the Order in embracing the gift of the spirituality of St. Dominic in the unique context of the diocesan priests.
Along with the special grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which helps them to perform the acts of the sacred ministry worthily, they receive new spiritual help from the profession, which makes them members of the Dominican Family and sharers in the grace and mission of the Order, to the sure advantage of the local and universal Church.
While the Order provides them with these spiritual aids and directs them to their own sanctification, it leaves them free for the complete service of the local Church, under the jurisdiction of their own Bishop.
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.