Zaida Rocha Ferreira OP made a presentation of the history of the European meetings of Lay Dominican Fraternities and also of the European Council (ECLDF) in Fognano, in 2001. Please find here the short summary.
1. I began as the friars’ first Promoter General of the Dominican Laity in September, 1999, in response to the General Chapter of Bologna, 1998.
2. The initial stage primarily involved establfshing the new promoter’s office at Santa Sabina (orientation, job description, goals, budget, fundraising, and files), and more importantly, beginning to meet the many lay Dominican entities in the world.
3. According to the Bologna Chapter, Acts No. 171, it was recommended that this Promoter General would preferably be a lay person, and would do the following tasks:
There’s a mouse in the soup !
Not so long ago there was a tradition in a convent of the Friars Preachers that communal meals had to be taken in silence. Moreover, you could not ask anything for yourself as you had to be attentive to the friar next to you. For example, if your neighbour needed a spoon or water, it was up to you to provide it. One day a novice, Jose, found a tiny mouse in his soup and Gerard who was sitting next to him had not noticed it. Jose could not eat as he was distressed over the fact that he could do nothing to attract Gerard’s attention. Finally, in desperation, Jose called the attendant and said, “Gerard has not been served mouse with his soup as I have!”
Before giving the floor to our brother Pablo Romo I should like to say a few words In reading Is. 45:18 we are reminded that God did not make a world of chaos but one to be lived in. When we go to Lk 3:10-14 we hear that when some soldiers asked what to do…
As a Glasgow Lay Dominican, I take a vow to the Order every three years. The last time was in St Dominic’s cell in Santa Sabina in front of the Master, Timothy Radcliffe, apart from anything else, an old friend. For some reason, I was bit nervous and said solemnly: I renew my vow for three days! Timothy bent down and said: That’s not much of a commitment, Duncan.
This title is provoking and it puts forth a question, a call, which takes into account the doubts; it is a cry hoping to be heard. We chose it because we think it summarizes well our situation as Dominican Laity today. We are members of the “Order of Preachers”, called to witness. But how do we hear the Word of God we ought to convey to others, and how do we bring others to understand that it makes us live? To proclaim the Gospel or to not proclaim it, that is the question. And we may condense this in an English catchphrase: “To preach or not to preach, that is the question”.
ORDO FRATRUM PRAEDICATORUM CURIA GENERALITIA
Rome, May 4t”, 2001
Mrs Patricia Robinson
European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities
I have received your message sent yesterday, in which you express your desire for my presence at the Vth European Assembly of Lay Dominican Fraternities in Fognano. I have no doubt that both you and the members of the Council will understand the reasons why I cannot come, much to my regret. Every year, the General Council of the Order meets in plenary session in May and November. We spend the whole month working day and night. That’s the way it is in an Order which has taken up St. Dominic’s challenge to preach the Word of God to the world! It will be good to bear this in mind when you plan the next meeting, if you hope for any members of the General Council to come and make an appearance. This work is especially intense this May because it is the last Plenary Chapter of my nine years as Master, and the days that you have chosen are even more impossible because they coincide with the Feast of St Dominic which we celebrate then because most of the brethren are away in August. I spent much time trying to find a way to be with you, but alas it could not be done.
ORDO FRATRUM PRAEDICATORUM CURIA GENERALITIA
Convento Santa Sabina (Aventino) Piazza Pietro d’Illiria 1, 00153 ROMA
Tel: (39 06) 579 40 555 Fax: (39 06) 575 06 75 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
29th November 2000 Prot No. SOl00/1928 Lettere varie MO
A meeting of the Dominican Family in Europe
My dear brothers and sisters,
Recently there was a meeting of the Internátional Commission of the Dominican Family (Bologna no 149), which consists of fr Yvon Pomerleau (Promoter General of the Dominican Family), fr Manuel Merten (Promoter General of the nuns), fr Jerry Stookey (Promoter General of the Laity), Sister Margaret Ormond (Co-ordinator of Dominican Sisters International) and myself, to review our implementation of the tasks given to us by the General Chapter of the friars at Bologna.
Again we welcome you all, particularly those who were not able to come yesterday evening. We thank God that you arrived here safely even if you have had a long or difficult journey.
We welcome you not only for yourselves but those whom you bring in your hearts: the other members of your provinces.
We have an exciting programme that we hope you will find not only fruitful but enjoyable. One of the most important objects of this Assembly is to get to know each other and enjoy each others company in the presence of God.
The creation of the European Council took place in Vienna in 1998 by the wish and approval of the Provincial Presidents, the Representatives and Promoters of the provinces. The aim of this Council was to create from the richness of our diversity a common voice for Europe.