Ash Wednesday 9 March 2011
To Lay Dominican Presidents of European Provinces and Vicariates
and Promoters of Dominican Laity
To be passed on to the members of every local Fraternity/Chapter
Dear brothers and sisters in St Dominic,
As every year, the European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities (ECLDF) would like to ask you to pay the financial contribution needed for its activities, most particularly for the organization of the European Assemblies that bring us together every three years. At the 7th European Assembly in Slovakia in 2008, the delegates approved a motion whereby the Assembly took on responsibility for the payment of an annual contribution from each province and vicariate, amounting to 1.50 euro per professed fraternity member. The annual European contribution, which was voluntary, has thus become compulsory.
The reality is that very few provinces and vicariates pay their annual contribution. Compared with the eight centuries of existence of lay Dominican Fraternities (the first Rule dates from 1285), the ECLDF is indeed a very recent institution: a mere 13 years, with European Assemblies being organized for only 21 years! No wonder some are still wondering about the purpose of it all. A bit of history might be useful.
It was as recently as 1985 that the first congress of the lay branch of the Order was organized at world level in Montreal, Canada, to adapt the Rule of lay Dominican Fraternities to the orientations of the Vatican II Council. For the first time, lay Dominicans themselves took an active part in the establishment of their own Rule of Life and voted on it. Under the Montreal Rule, Article 22a lays down that where there are several provinces of the Order within the territory of the same nation, a national Council can be instituted. Similarly, according to Article 22b, an international Council can be formed once the fraternities of the entire Order have been consulted.
The International Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities was finally set up in May 2002. It consists of 5 members representing the 5 regions of the world (Asia/Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America). But how could regional representatives be chosen by any other than the fraternities of their own region and how could they speak on behalf of these fraternities if fraternity delegates did not meet at interprovincial/supranational level and develop a common voice? So before electing a European representative at the International Council, for example, there had to be European Assemblies that brought together delegates from all European provinces and vicariates – East and West, North and South. These meetings also enabled European lay Dominicans to be represented to the Master of the Order and other institutions.
It was in this context that the first European Assembly of lay Dominican fraternities took place in Prouilhe in 1990, followed by a second one in Budapest in 1992. At the third European Assembly in Kanié near Warsaw in 1995, it was decided that the next Assembly would be organized by a committee of four members: three lay Dominicans and a friar. The members were appointed at the Assembly, with no election. It was at the next Assembly in Vienna in 1998 that a European Council was born and democratically elected. The first Assembly totally organized by a group of elected lay Dominicans was thus the 5th Assembly held in Fognano ten years ago. All these Assemblies have shown the fruitfulness of meeting and exchanging views and information among lay Dominicans from the whole of Europe.
In view of the forthcoming European Assembly to be held in Caleruega at the end of May, the ECLDF therefore urges European provinces and vicariates to pay their annual contribution for 2011 as soon as possible so that the Assembly can be smoothly organized. Those provinces and vicariates which are behind in paying their contributions from previous years are also urged to settle up:
PAX Bank e.G., Von-Werth-Straße 25-27, 50670 Köln, Germany
IBAN (International bank account number): DE 32 3706 0193 6004 1940 10
BIC: GENODED 1 PAX
Please don’t forget to indicate the name of your province or vicariate in the bank transfer. Thank you.
In St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Sienna,
Gabriel, Bénédicte, Małgorzata, Anne-Marie and Jean-Michel, the ECLDF members.