After conferring with Lay Dominicans this Council was formed in May 2002. It consists of 5 members representing 5 regions: (Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America). and the General Promoter for the Laity.
The mission statement: The ICLDF is an international network for promoting greater communication between Lay Dominican Fraternities in order to achieve a more effective preaching of the Gospel.
At its official inauguration the Master of the Order, Fr. Carlos Aspiroz, confirmed the membership of this Council. Three of these members were elected and two appointed.
Those elected were Pedro Torres for Latin America, Laurie Biszko for North America and Patricia Robinson for Europe. The other two regions had an official Council pending. Rowena Gonzales for Asia Pacific and and Emmanuel Afrifa for Africa were appointed.
To preserve continuity three members are to serve four years initially and the others two serve for three. They hand over to their successors immediately before the meeting at the end of their term.
This means that the members for Africa and Asia Pacific complete their term in 2005 and North Llatin America and Europe in 2006
In each continent there are structures.
North America: DLIPC i.e. Dominican Laity Inter-Provincial Council (note that unfortunately they do not specify that it is the Lay Dominican Fraternities).
Latin America: COFALC i.e. Consejo de las Fraternidades Laicales Dominicanas de America Latina y el Caribe.
This region is divided into 4 zones and each have a co-ordinator.
Africa: ACLDF i.e. African Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities.
Asia Pacific: has no official structure but is in the process of forming one.
This region also has co-ordinators for the different zones. E.g. June Ross (Australia who is visiting us is the co-ordinator of the Pacific zone)
The countries in the Asia Pacific Region are grouped into the 4 zones adopted by the Justice and Peace Conference and endorsed by Sydney Asia Pacific Major Superiors Conference in 1998.
These zones are:
Southeast Asia/Middle East (14 countries):
Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Lebanon. Nepal, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Arabian Gulf, Syria and Turkey.
Southeast Asia (6 countries):
Cambodia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.
East Asia: (6 countries)
Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, China
Pacific (6 countries)
Pacific zone (6 countries) Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands.
Lay Dominican form 94% of the Dominicans in the Asia Pacific region.
Asia Pacific is holding a Dominican Family Leaders’Conference (DFLC-APC) the aim of which is to serve as an association for collaborative leadership among elected leaders of the Dominican Family in the Asia Pacific region. The DFLC-APC) was established in Feb.2003 in Caleruega.
The next ICLDF representative will be elected at this meeting.
The zone of Africa is divided into 3 regions: West/Central, East Africa, South Africa and comprises 23 countries.
A meeting of Lay Dominicans of Africa took place in Bamenda in Feb. 2004. Now that a Council has been established for Africa, regional Co-ordinators were appointed The Council is known as the ACLDF. Marcus Kejunki from Cameroon was elected as the next representative for Africa on the ICLDF and takes over in from Dr. Emmanuel Afrifa in 2005.
They visit poor communities and present them with gifts, they visit orphanages, the mentally impaired and marginalized people, they organize seminars, some meet twice a month, one day for study and one for discussions and planning. They visit families and organize seminars, symposia and visit the handicapped and the orphans’ homes taking gifts.
There are two groups in Rwanda; one consists of students in the University of Rwanda. the second is a group of students, workers and unemployed. They meet twice a week to share the Word of God.
The main difficulties in some of the African countries are a tremendous lack of financial resources, poor communication, lack of trust in the authorities, lack of literature, lack of information regarding the activities of other Dominican groups, and so on. It is a very difficult situation.
In South Africa it is rather different. The Lay Dominicans have now been fully incorporated in the federation of Dominicans in Southern Africa (FEDOSA). They have representatives in nearly all structures except those of purely religious. The Lay Doms. participate in all retreats, workshops on preaching, justice and peace and in decision- making structures where Dominican spirituality is promoted. They are taught through workshops on preaching how to be preachers wherever they are.
Many problems threaten the existence of the Lay Dominicans and are therefore a real challenge:
HIV/AIDS pandemic, breaking down of young families, high suicide rate, lack of morals, escalation of crime, Satanism, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and war.
In Nigeria in Gusau in the northern part of Nigeria the Lay Dominican group has not been active because of the Moslem/Christian clashes and the implementation of Shari, the law in that state.
There are some very positive activities in some of the countries, for example in Cameroon the LDs have rented an apartment where they hold their meetings, they teach morals in the secondary schools and support the formation of a new group in Yaounde.
The Promoter of the Dom. Family in Nigeria is making efforts to organize a meeting of the whole Dominican family in Nigeria.
The Dominican Laity Interprovincial Council is the council for all the provinces in North America and consists of 4 US Provinces, 1 Vicariate in Canada for English –speaking Canadians
1 French Canadian province, 1 Canadian province for the Vietnamese
Here they have a novel idea of ‘satellite’ fraternities (or Chapters as they call them), which are
Supported by regular visits from as established fraternity until they have some Finally professed members.
They also have ‘pro-chapters’.
The document on the ‘Charisma of Preaching’ has been sent to all Provinces. If European Dominicans wish to be heard, it is imperative that we send our deliberations to the organizers. Perhaps some of you have sent them direct to Santa Sabina or to your Presidents to forward on to our ECLDF secretary. I have received on a few from my own province. Serious thought should be given to this subject particularly as it is one of the few where the Lay Dominican Fraternities have been consulted. It any of you have not seen the document and sent your replies, then please contact Eva who will give you a copy. Please do not get a copy if you have no intention of studying it with your fraternities because it is and time-consuming and expensive to make photocopies.
The International Council intends to have an international office as soon as it is viable. If we wish to survive as the Lay Dominican Fraternities then we have to work together. Every day there are numerous enquiries form all over the world and we need a secretary to deal with these. If we have a secretary we have to have all the office equipment of our own and not use that of the friars. They could decide there is not enough room for the Lay Dominicans in S. Sabina at any time. We need somewhere to keep our archives, our documents, the names and addresses of our contacts worldwide, our formation programmes, our directories, and so on.
Our promoter has to divide his time between being Socius for North America, with the Dominican Youth Movement, the DVI, and all the associates and other laity members of the Dominican Family. This means that he can spare only about one-eighth of his time on matters concerning the LDF whereas before we thought that we would have a full-time promoter. We have to be more independent of the friars in everyday matters. Jerry will no doubt have more to say about this subject.
At our last meeting, which was in April this year, we decided to convene an International Congress. There are so many subjects to determine that only by having an international meeting can we discuss them together. Items such as changes to the Rule, training of preachers, the terms we use such as ‘fraternities/chapters’, justice and peace, vocations, problems, directories, collaboration, finance, associates, to name a few.
The Congress is to be held in August 2006 from 6th to the 12th August (this includes St. Dominic’s feast day)
Theme: Lay Dominicans; Companions in Preaching
Venue: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Each province and vicariate and vice-provinces of under 100 members may send one Finally Professed (Life Professed) delegate. This must be the President when possible.
Those with over 100 may send 2 delegates, the second must be chosen by their Council.
Alternatives delegates should be chosen in case of necessity but they must be Finally Professed.
We chose Argentina for the Congress because they are organized so that they can give so much support and help with the organization locally. They have also had some experience in holding a Dominican Family Congress. The other reason is that they offered to host the Congress.
You will all be notified about the Congress very soon and it would be advisable to start now to raise funds to send your delegates. Some help may possibly be available for the smaller, less affluent provinces. It would be prudent also to notify your promoters of the Congress and get his support.
If you have no Directory, then now is the time to compile one and submit it for confirmation to your prior provincial and his council because unless your president has been elected according to the procedure indicated by the Rules and a Directory then he/she is not recognized as an official president.
Some provinces and vicariates have not had an election for some years because there is no way of electing an official council because there is no directory. Every member of the fraternities should have a copy of the Rule. See General Declarations concerning the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic particularly number 6. It is not the Dominican way to hold a position for years with no elections by the members. It is neither just nor advisable, nor is it official if there have been no elections.
The ICLDF have sent two petitions to the General Chapter to be held in Krakow this year that read:
Petition of the International Council for Lay Dominican Fraternities to the General Chapter, Krakow 2004.
The above Council, in accordance with the Rule of the Lay Dominican Fraternities of Saint Dominic, submits this petition to the General Chapter through the offices of our General Promoter according to the Rule of the Lay Dominican Fraternities of Saint Dominic drawn up by the International Congress of the Lay Dominicans in Montreal, June 1985, approved by the Holy See, January 19987 and promulgated by the Master of the Order, February, 1987 (see Analecta of the Order, 1987 pp.82-87),
Rule 20 b) The Provincial Promoter (brother or sister) represents the Prior Provincial and is a member of the Provincial Lay Council with full voting rights.
He/she is appointed by the Provincial Chapter, or by the Prior Provincial with his/her Council, AFTER THE PROVINCIAL LAY COUNCIL OF THE DOMINICAN LAITY HAS BEEN CONSULTED
Rule 21 a) A local fraternity is governed by a President with his/her council.
THEY ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE FRATERNITY.
Rule 21 c) The chaplain (brother or sister) helps the members in doctrinal matters and in the spiritual life. He/she is appointed by the Prior Provincial AFTER CONSULTING WITH THE PROVINCIAL PROMOTER AND THE LOCAL LAY COUNCIL.
a) On behalf of the members of the Lay Dominican Fraternities, the International Council submits the petition that these Rules are observed by all Priors Provincial so that fraternities are consulted before the Provincial Promoter and/or Chaplain (or Religious Assistant) are appointed.
b) On behalf of the members of the Lay Dominican Fraternities, the International Council submits the petition that Provincial Promoters are consulted before Chaplains (Religious Assistants) are appointed
Petition of the International Council for Lay Dominican Fraternities to the General Chapter, Krakow 2004.
The above Council, in accordance with the Rule of the Lay Dominican Fraternities of Saint Dominic, submits this petition to the General Chapter through the offices of our General Promoter according to the Rule of the Lay Dominican Fraternities of Saint Dominic drawn up by the International Congress of the Lay Dominicans in Montreal, June 1985, approved by the Holy See, January 19987 and promulgated by the Master of the Order, February, ,1987 (see Analecta of the Order, 1987 pp.82-87),
Rule 14 states:
“To be incorporated into the Order, members must make profession or commitment by which they formally commit themselves to live according to the spirit of St. Dominic and in the manner prescribed by the Rule.
Profession of commitment is either temporary of final.
In making profession the following form, or substantially the same, is to be used:
In honour of almighty God, father, Son and Holy Spirit, and of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of St. Dominic, I N.N. ………. in the presence of you N.N…. president of this fraternity, and of you N.N…… chaplain, representing the Master of the Friars Preachers, promise to live according to the Rule of the Laity of Saint Dominic (for three years) ( for the rest of my life).”
Rule 16. The admission of new members will follow the prescriptions of the Directory in regard to the qualifications of candidates and the time factor. It is the responsibility of the lay person in charge of the fraternity first to take a decisive vote of the fraternity council; TO PROCEED TO THE RECEPTION OF THE CANDIDATE IN WHATEVER RITE IS LAID DOWN BY THE DIRECTORY.
Rule 17. After the period of probation laid down by the Directory, and with the vote of the fraternity Council, THE LAY PERSON IN CHARGE, TOGETHER WITH THE CHAPLAIN, WILL RECEIVE THE CANDIDATE’S TEMPORARY OR FINAL PROFESSION.
Jurisdiction of the Order and autonomy of the fraternities
Rule 18. Lay Dominican fraternities are subject to the jurisdiction of the Order, but THEY ENJOY THE AUTONOMY PROPER TO THE LAITY BY WHICH THEY ARE SELF –RULING.
We are concerned that some Friars have admitted to our branch of the Order. some persons as ‘private members’ These Admissions or Professions have been made with no reference to any Provincial Council, or President of a Fraternity, therefore these are not valid members of the Lay Dominican Fraternities under the Rule of Montreal.
We petition that these Admissions and Professions of ‘private members’ cease to be made by the Friars and that they make themselves familiar with our Rule.
The International Council suggests that the friars petition the Lay Dominican Fraternities to regularize the position of those ‘private members’ who have been faithful to their commitment.
The Master of the Order asked the ICLDF to nominate a member of their Council to represent the Lay Dominican Fraternities at their General Chapter. We nominated Pedro Torres the member for Latin America.
Br. Carlos also asked us to nominate two or three Polish Lay Dominicans to represent the host country. We sent him two names and he nominated Remigiusz Olejnik
The ICLDF have compiled a draft of a five-year plan. The items were put into the order of priority. These included such things as a laity office, fund-raising for the same, an International census, forming statutes, proposed changes to the Rule and many other issues.
There is a lot of hard work to be done in a short time, so please add the ICLDF to your prayer list. We are there for you!