‘We are on a pilgrimage and in this pilgrimage we join in common prayer with all the Lay Dominicans in Europe’: This is what the Dutch Lay Dominican Fraternity say to their brothers and sisters. A Dutch Lay Dominican tells his experience.
On the 1st of October 2013, the pilgrimage of the icon of Saint Dominic began in Spain. Through Portugal and France, the icon was brought to the Netherlands and Belgium by Lay Dominicans. The icon was made by Felix Hernandez Mariano OP. He has chosen powerful and luminous colours. In this way he wants to express the energy and vitality of St. Dominic.
Mobility belonged to the life of Dominic. Therefore it is so good that the icon goes from one country to another. It symbolizes the worldwide mission that Dominic had in mind. Movement also means visiting and meeting people. Mobility and movement force us to keep an open mind to other people and gives us the opportunity to be near vulnerable people in all of our own vulnerability.
On Tuesday, February 4, 2014 I was present at the transfer of the icon of Saint Dominic to representatives of our German lay brothers and lay sisters in Aachen (Germany) in St. Paul ‘s Church, a former church of the Dominicans. It was also wonderful that Brother David Kammler was present here too. In an inspiring celebration of Vespers the prayers and the songs were alternately in German, Dutch, Latin and French. In our midst was the icon of Saint Dominic.
At the end of Vespers the icon was officially transmitted by the president of the Dutch Lay Dominican Fraternity, Kleis Adema, to the German Lay Dominican president, Hans Gasper. It was a wonderful moment, giving very special expression to our commitment and to our vocation to realize the ideals of Saint Dominic in our time, in 2014.
From Aachen the icon will travel further through Germany, to Speyer, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin. After that the pilgrimage will be continued inter alia to Poland, Russia, Hungary, Malta and Italy. The icon will reach its final destination in May 2014 during the European Assembly of Lay Dominicans in Bologna.
From our side, many thanks to all the initiators for making the icon and for the realization of this pilgrimage. It gives us all inspiration and encouragement to reflect on our Dominican mission in 2014 and in the years ahead.
mr. Wil Sprokkel OP