On the last day of the Assembly the Master of the Order visited the European Assembly.
In the morning the Assembly voted on some changes in the Statutes and elected the new council for the next four years. In the afternoon Bruno Cardoré o.p., the Master of the Order arrived in Bologna. The Lay Dominicans and their promoters had Mass with Brother Bruno in the chapter hall of the priory, which has beautiful wall paintings.
In his homily during the Mass he said that to be able to preach it is important to contemplate, to really listen – not only with our ears but also with our hearts. Brother Bruno calls us to remain and in this way Christ remains in us. By remaining you will be able to receive, to receive Christ, to receive the Word. But it is not only receiving, it is also knowing, realizing that you are able to receive.
After Mass there was time to meet Brother Bruno and Br Bernardino Prella, his socius for Italy, Malta and the Iberian Peninsula and there was a lunch in the Collegio San Tommaso; the North Italian Provincial, Br Fausto Arici, was also present. In a short time most of the Lay Dominicans could speak with the Master, who is very interested in what the concerns are of the laity and he is a good listener.
After lunch the Master attended the meeting of the Assembly. He engaged in dialogue with the participants about the Dominican Family. ‘Different experiences are needed in the Dominican Family to be able to preach. We are here to preach within the Church as Christians. The Dominican identity is not that important. It is my dream that in the Dominican Family, everybody feels happy and has their own identity, and preaching the Word of God is in the centre of it.’. On the question ‘how to reach the young people’, the Master called us to look not only to the young people we know closely (in our parishes or family), but to join in an open dialogue with the next generation. Read the Bible together over and over again and learn together and listen very carefully, is his advice.
What are the expectations of the Master concerning the laity? First the Master noticed that the assembly took place in a beautiful region (Europe) with a rich history, but also with a hurt history. A region that made mistakes in history, but where there is also confidence in the capability of human reason; a reason which knows how to reach the heart. The preachers in Europe have to support human reason; not forgetting history, not forgetting what people can do. The Dominican Order needs everybody’s experiences to work and to preach in evangelical ways. The Church is church in terms of whom and how she preaches. The Lay Dominicans remind the Church that lay people are not only churchgoers for bishops and priests, but partners in preaching.
In Europe there are big and difficult changes such as multiculturalism and multiple identities. History teaches us that beyond identity more fruitful unity is possible. How should the nations be made? How do you go into a dialogue? Integrating persons in society affects the question how to promote justice and peace. That is one of the main goals for Brother Bruno.
After this meeting the Assembly installed the new council and Brother Rui, the promoter of the laity, gave his blessing to the members. With this ceremony the Assembly closed.