In October 2018 the Third International Congress of Lay Dominican Fraternities was held in Fatima, Portugal. The theme of this Congress: “Our Future: Justice, Peace and Care of Creation” and it was held in an atmosphere of fruitful discussions, fraternal exchange and collaboration.
At the end of an intensive week Ruth Anne Henderson gave on behalf of the International Council and Fr. Rui in the Closing Statement a wrap up of the Congress. Not only an impression of the ambience but also the main urgent topics:
- the desire for more regular and more open communication between fraternities about our activities and situations,
- the need for greater uniformity in formation,
- but also clarifications about the Rule and the inevitable financial
situation of the ICLDF
From being met at the airport in Lisbon to the beautiful greeting in Fatima, our brothers and sisters from the Portuguese Province really made the Fatima 2018, International Congress of Lay Dominican Fraternities and triumphant success. For our part on the ECLDF, we offer our sincerest thanks and congratulations to Christina, Gabriel and the Province.
We gathered from every corner of the world in joy and peace, all with the same intent; how do we further our mission in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ with Saint Dominic as our inspiration. All Dominicans, we were joined by friars including the Master and others from the curia, Provincial Promoters, apostolic sisters. Blessed we shared in praying the Rosary with the contemplative sisters at their monastery and had Benediction in the friar’s church in Fatima.
Damien McDonnell ECLDF president was there from the European Council, Vilija Semetiene ECLDF Formation officer, representing Lituania and Ludovic Namurois ECLDF Communications officer representing his Province of Belguim. From the get-go, work commenced with gusto no pausing here. We were divided into various commissions. The work was at times tense and difficult but no matter how difficult discussions got, there was a constant fraternal sense, a grace that was truly evident as we progressed through the congress time.
In the latter part of each day we gathered in assembly and deliberated and voted on the recommendations from the various commissions, we worked long into the evening. Over 60 resolutions and recommendations were passed and will go on for promulgation. It may be some time before we get to see the finalised approved acts but rest assured that the Holy Spirit guided our deliberations. You can be content in the knowledge that your representatives worked tirelessly on our orders mission.
Communication soon established itself as a major issue with the order as a whole, but particularly within the lay branch of the family, several initiatives have been identified to address this. The ECLDF has undertaken to ensure the implementation of new measures to bring information to all lay Dominicans in the European Region.
During the Assembly one particular item that was brought to the fore and on which we drafted a resolution was on the substantially new concept of generic lay Dominican formation. The concept encompasses four fundamental points, namely: human, theological, spiritual and apostolic formation. These points or aspects should be included in to the various levels of formation (postulancy, admission, temporary profession, perpetual profession). This program, therefore will be a general line that can and should be adapted to the reality within each province, vicariate, country, etc,.
Our work finished in time for us to eat and break bread together and join the pilgrims in the sanctuary praying the Rosary and processing in honour of our Lady as we too gave praise to God our Father, to His Son Jesus Christ and thank His Mother for the many blessings bestowed on the Order of Preachers. The overriding gift the Spirit bestowed on us during the conference was one of belonging, of fraternal love, of immense welcome which makes me so truly proud to be part of such a loving family, the family of Saint Dominic.
• Fr. Bruno Cadoré OP, Master of the Order – Letter to the Laity of the Order of Preachers; also in French and Spanish.
• Fr. Miguel Angel Del Rio OP, Vicar General of the Order – Homily Opening Mass (Spanish)
• Fr. Vivian Boland OP – The Different Aspects of Formation in the Dominican Order
• Fr. Aristide Basse OP – On Ecology and Care of Creation (French)
• Sr. Lissie Aviles OP – On Ecology and Care of Creation (Spanish)
• Fr. Jerry Stookey OP – Christ is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14) ; also in Spanish.
• Duncan MacLaren OP – A Dominican View of Integral Human Development
• Ruth Anne Henderson OP – Closing Statement
• A word from Fr. Rui Lopes op after Fatima: English – François – Español.
More information on:
– website Fraternities OP (ICLDF)
– and Facebook Group International Congress LDF – Fatima 2018