The lay Dominicans from Warsaw invited representatives of the Dominican Family for the common celebration. The occasion for the meeting was the peregrination of the image of St. Dominic through the European provinces of the Order of Preachers, as part of the year dedicated to lay Dominicans.
On Wednesday, 26 March, the lay Dominicans of the fraternity of Bl. Imelda Lambertini in Warsaw-Służew, betook themselves to the convent of the cloistered dominican nuns in Radonie near Warsaw. Then, in front of the image of St. Dominic, they prayed together the rosary and later on the Vespers.
The man on the God’s side
The Mass on St. Dominic was celebrated by Fr Dariusz Kantypowicz, the provincial promoter of lay Dominicans, and at the same time – the assistant of the fraternity of Warsaw-Służew. In his sermon, dedicated to St. Dominic, the nuns’ chaplain – Fr Tomasz Zamorski, drew attention to the fact that aside from the intellectual dimension of the Dominican preaching, it can never run short of compassion flowing from the deep of the heart.
„If my heart is to be lifted up by the faith, it happens most often when I meet a man who really is on the God’s side. The saints are these kind of people”- said Fr Zamorski. He pointed to the three important aspects of the life of Saints:
- they are witnesses to the fact that life will not be wasted when all is given to the Lord God;
- their lives are thoroughly involved in God, the Church, in the proclamation of the Gospel and in saving anyone who’s lost;
- they show us that the closeness between man and God is possible.
„These three dimensions were also present in St. Dominic” – emphasized the preacher, sharing the testimony of his very own path to the Order and discovering the figure of its founder.
Following the common prayers, in a very joyful ambience, the lay Dominicans talked with nuns about the history of the fraternity, its current functioning and plans for the future.
He fought like an athlete
The following day at the Służew’s convent were held the celebrations of the Dominican Family. The meeting held in front of the image of St. Dominic, which is peregrinating around Europe, was attended by representatives of the various branches of the Order. Apart from the hosts – the lay Dominicans of the fraternity in Służew – the celebration was attended by brothers novices, the Dominican sisters from the convent in Zielonka near Warsaw, as well as by the lay Dominicans of the fraternities of Siedlce, and the one of the dominican convent at Freta street in Warsaw.
Besides the common prayer there was also the opportunity of sharing personal experiences of the Dominican life, and those aspects of the figure of St. Dominic that are most important or closest to everyone.
The participants of the meeting also took part in the solemn Conventual Mass, celebrated in honor of the founder of the Order, with the participation of the parishioners and friends of the convent in Służew. Referring to the Gospel of the kingdom that is divided against itself, fr Kantypowicz in his sermon pointed out the ways in which St. Dominic fought the evil spirit.
“The liturgy calls St. Dominic »the God’s athlete« fighting the evil strongman who tries to deceive us and to hold up in death” – emphasized the preacher. He also listed three ways that St. Dominic has chosen to fight this mightyman:
- as it is shown by Bl. Fra Angelico – St. Dominic eagerly adored the cross as the venue where Christ defeated death, turned out as the most powerful one and accomplished the work of salvation;
- through the preaching of the Word of truth and life for the conversion of others, St. Dominic tied up the demon by the Word of God, giving to the seekers the light of the true Gospel;
- as one of the dominican legends says, when Satan visited one of the first convents, he got scared of the capitular – the place where brothers confess their faults; the life in humility, the awareness of the fact how much a person needs the Savior, this is the moment when Satan loses.
Encouraging them to follow these paths, the preacher called all members of the Dominican Family gathered at the liturgy to be faithful to the Church and to behold to the example of the holy Founder.
The prayer part of the meeting was completed by the jointly celebrated Vespers. The event was attended by about 70 representatives of the Dominican Family of Warsaw and the surrounding areas. It was the first such numerous meeting, and also for the very first time the lay Dominicans were the hosts.
From the homeland of st. Dominic
During the following days the image of St. Dominic is still to visit the dominican communities of Lublin, Tarnobrzeg, Święta Anna, Gidle, Katowice and of Kraków. Earlier, the image visited the Dominicans in Wrocław, Poznań, Szczecin, Gdańsk and Łódź.
In Poland there are about 450 lay Dominicans in 23 fraternities. Currently, the new community is being created in Rzeszów, and the fraternity in Bytom comes back to life.
The image by Felix Hernandez Mariano – the Spanish Dominican brother, was painted especially at the request of the lay Dominicans and it began its pilgrimage around Europe in Spain – the homeland of St. Dominic – in October 2013. So far, it has visited among others, Portugal, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. In the coming weeks it will land in Slovakia, Hungary and Italy.
The peregrination of the image is associated with the current theme of preparation for the celebration of the 800 years Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. The year 2014 is dedicated to the lay Dominicans and their mission in the Order.
Piotr Rajmund Górski OP and Justyna Rajter (translation from Polish)
Fraternity of Bl. Imelda Lambertini