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Secular clergy who wish to incorporate a pattern of Dominican living into their daily ministry also follow Dominic’s vision in fraternities, taking the example of the Order of Preachers as instructive for their lives.
Ever since the Order’s beginning, there have been secular priests who have wanted to infuse their daily work with the Order’s mission and ideals. Over the last 50 years, communities have developed made up of diocesan clergy who pursue their lives as priests with the same vision as that which Dominic gave the Church. This is, in no way, to be seen as another example of new clericalism, but rather as a genuine Dominican vocation to realize the Dominican ideal of dialogue, mysticism and study, in the special situation in which the Church finds itself today.
We secular priests who are part of the Dominican Priestly Fraternity believe that we stand at the threshold between the world and the church, taking the classical Dominican position. We recognize that if the door between the Church and the world is shut, then the Church will develop into a sub-culture. We identify ourselves with Dominic’s prayer: “Lord God, what will become of sinners,” and we do this in the hope that the Church will become more consistent in its mission that is sent to the world.
We, as a part of the Dominican family, work together with other groups within the family, no least the friars, with whom we as diocesan priests share many aspects of the apostolic life. This is by no means just another fan club, for we experience our call as a response to the present challenges faced by the Church and the Order – and to the world into which we are sent.
We are grateful for the close fellowship with the Brothers, who among others accompany us on our path to developing our vocation, become better priests, and finding an inner balance between mysticism and an innovative apostolate. We hope that the Order continues to show support and openness towards the Dominican Priestly Fraternity in recognizing the opportunities that may arise when the Order’s mission is extended to include “the other Brothers.”
Jesper Fich (Diocese of Copenhagen) Affiliated with the Dominican Province of France.
Rev John Saward, Prior, Priestly Fraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary