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Monsignor Yennock on St. Dominic of Guzman - Homily from September 1, 2019

Sep 3, 2019

ST. DOMINIC OF GUZMAN 2019

1170-1221

ON AUGUST 15, THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION, I WAS IN CINCINNATI OHIO. I WENT TO CINCINNATI TO BE PRESENT WHEN TYLER SANTY, A PARISHIONER OF ST. DANIEL ALONG WITH 9 DOMINICAN NOVICES TOOK VOWS OF POVERTY, CHASTITY AND OBEDIENCE.

TEN YOUNG MEN DEDICATED THEMSELVES TO ALMIGHTY GOD IN A MAGNIFICENT CHURCH IN CINNCINATI OHIO. THE CHURCH WAS ADMINISTERED BY THE DOMINICAN PRIESTS IN THE PROVINCE OF ST. JOSEPH.

AFTER PROFESSING THEIR VOWS THESE TEN YOUNG MEN WENT TO THE DOMINICAN HOUSE OF STUDIES IN WASHINGTON D. C. WHERE THEY WILL STUDY THEOLOGY AND RELATED SCIENCES. IF THEY PERSEVERE THEY WILL BE ORDAINED TO THE PRIESTHOOD AFTER FIVE YEARS OF POST GRADUATE STUDIES.

THE DOMINICAN PRIESTS ARE A RELIGIOUS ORDER OF MEN IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. OUR CATHOLIC PEOPLE DO NOT GENERALLY KNOW MUCH ABOUT RELIGIOUS ORDERS. THERE ARE OVER 200 RELIGIOUS ORDERS AND CONGREGATIONS OF MEN AND WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES.

 

SOME OF THE MORE FAMILIAR ORDERS ARE THE FRANCISCANS WHO RUN ASSUMPTION CHURCH AND THE NORTHSIDE MINISTRIES, THE JESUITS WHO RUN LE MOYNE COLLEGE; THE AUGUSTINIANS WHO RUN VILLANVOVA UNIVERSITY IN PENNSYLVANIA. SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH WHO RUN ST. ROSE COLLEGE IN ALBANY N.Y.

 

ALL TOGETHER, IN THE UNITED STATES THERE ARE OVER 200 CATHOLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. 90% OF THEM ARE RUN BY RELIGIOUS ORDERS OF MEN AND WOMEN. THE JESUITS RUN 28 COLLEGES, THE FRANCISCANS RUN 22 COLLEGES, THE DOMINICANS RUN 14 COLLEGES, THE BENEDICTINES RUN 13 COLLEGES; JUST TO NAME A FEW.

 

A RELIGIOUS ORDER IS AN ORGANIZATION OF PERSONS, EITHER MEN OR WOMEN, WHO COMMIT THEMSELVES TO THE THREE GOSPEL VOWS OF POVERTY, CHASTITY AND OBEDIENCE.

 

MEN AND WOMEN IN RELIGIOUS ORDERS LIVE IN A COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND FOLLOW A SPECIFIC RULE OF LIFE. THEY LIVE IN OBEDIENCE UNDER A SUPERIOR. THE SPECIFIC RULE OF LIFE WHICH THEY PROMISE TO OBEY MUST BE APPROVED BY THE POPE.

 

INDISPENSABLE TO TAKING THE VOWS OF POVERTY, CHASTITY AND OBEDIENCE IS THE VIRTUE OF HUMILITY WHICH IS EXTOLLED IN THE SCRIPTURE READING OF TODAY’S MASS.

 

AT THE PRESENT TIME THE OFFICIAL ANNUAL YEARBOOK OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH LISTS ABOUT 1 MILLION PERSONS IN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTES WORLDWIDE. THERE ARE OVER 130,000 PRIESTS AND 55,000 BROTHERS IN RELIGIOUS ORDERS FOR MEN. THERE ARE MORE THAN 650,000 WOMEN RELIGIOUS.

 

THE OLDEST ORDER IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE BENEDICTINE ORDER. IT WAS FOUNDED BY SAINT BENEDICT IN ITALY IN 529. THE GREAT MONASTERY OF MONTE CASSINO HAS BEEN THE CENTER OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE BENEDICTINE ORDER SINCE THE SIXTH CENTURY.

THE BENEDICTINES HAVE HAD A NOBLE HISTORY. THEY ARE LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXTENSION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. ONE OF ITS MEMBERS, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY, WAS A MISSIONARY TO ENGLAND IN THE SIXTH CENTURY. IN LATER CENTURIES BENEDICTINE MONKS WENT FROM THE ENGLISH MONASTERIES TO CARRY THE GOSPEL INTO OTHER PARTS OF EUROPE.

FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS THE BENEDICTINES WERE THE MOST FLOURISHING ORDER IN THE CHURCH. UP TO THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY IT HAD GIVEN TO THE CHURCH TWENTY-FOUR POPES AND MORE THAN TWENTY THOUSAND ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS.

I OFFER ALL OF THIS INFORMATION ON RELIGIOUS ORDERS TO GIVE YOU AN HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO UNDERSTAND THE DOMINICAN ORDER OF PRIESTS AND SISTERS WHO NUMBER OVER 6000 MEN AND OVER 25,000 WOMEN IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES.

AT THE PRESENT TIME IN THE UNITED STATES THE DOMINICANS ARE EXPERIENCING AN EXTRAORDINARY SURGE IN VOCATIONS IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST HOPEFUL SIGNS OF VITALITY FOR THE CHURCH IN AMERICA.

THE DOMINICANS CAN BE IDENTIFIED BY THEIR WHITE ROBE. THE REASON WHY THE POPE WEARS A SIMILAR WHITE ROBE DATES BACK TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY WHEN A DOMINICAN PRIEST BECAME POPE PIUS V. FROM THAT TIME ON THE POPE CONTINUED TO WEAR THE DOMINICAN HABIT.

DOMINICAN FRIARS STAFF PARISHES AND PARTICIPATE IN CAMPUS MINISTRIES AT BOTH SECULAR AND CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OF HIGHER EDUCATION; THEY ARE ENGAGED IN VARIOUS FORMS OF THE PREACHING APOSTOLATE, SUCH AS SPECIALIZED RETREATS, MISSIONS AND WORKSHOPS. THEY ARE CHAPLAINS TO HOSPITALS AND CONVENTS; AND HAVE MISSIONARIES IN VARIOUS PLACES AROUND THE WORLD. THEY PUBLISH SCHOLARLY AND POPULAR LITERARY WORKS.

IN THE UNITED STATES THERE ARE FOUR PROVINCES WHERE THE DOMINICAN PRIESTS AND BROTHERS MINISTER. THEY ARE DISTRIBUTED IN THE EASTERN, WESTERN, CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN REGIONS OF THE COUNTRY.

TYLER SANTY JOINED THE EASTERN PROVINCE OF THE DOMINICANS THAT EXTENDS FROM NEW ENGLAND TO VIRGINIA TO OHIO. THE FRIARS OF THIS PROVINCE SERVE IN A VARIETY OF MINISTRIES THROUGHOUT THE REGION. THEY ALSO DO MISSIONARY WORK IN EASTERN AFRICA, AND SERVE WHEREVER THEY ARE CALLED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

WE HAVE A SERIOUS CRISIS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TODAY. WE ARE DEALING, NOT ONLY WITH CLERICAL SCANDALS AND CULTURAL CHANGES IN SOCIETY, BUT THERE IS ALSO A SHORTAGE OF DIOCESAN PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

JESUS PROMISED THAT HE WOULD BE WITH HIS CHURCH UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. TO FULFILL THIS PROMISE, GOD ALWAYS RAISES UP COURAGEOUS MEN AND WOMEN OF FAITH TO MEET WHATEVER CRISIS THE CHURCH IS FACING IN ANY CENTURY.

IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY THE CHURCH HAD A SERIOUS CRISIS OF FAITH. NOT ONLY WAS THERE A DANGEROUS HERESY SPREADING THROUGHOUT EUROPE BUT THERE WAS ALSO WIDESPREAD IGNORANCE ABOUT THE FAITH DUE TO A LACK OF PREACHING.

IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY GOD RAISED UP A YOUNG SPANISH NOBLEMAN DOMINIC OF GUZMAN. HE WAS BORN IN 1170 IN CASTILE, SPAIN.

WHEN HE GREW UP, HE STUDIED AND BECAME A PRIEST. HE USED HIS GREAT INTELLECT AND HIS PASSION FOR JESUS CHRIST TO WIPE OUT A DANGEROUS HERESY THAT WAS THREATENING THE STABILITY OF THE CHURCH AND SOCIETY ITSELF.  

DOMINIC SAW THE NEED FOR PREACHERS WHO WOULD BE LEARNED, DISCIPLINED, AND POOR. HE DISPOSED OF ALL HIS EARTHLY POSSESSIONS AND BEGAN TO PRAY, STUDY AND PREACH.

SOON A GROUP OF YOUNG MEN GATHERED AROUND HIM. THEY, TOO, WANTED TO PRAY AND STUDY AND THEN TO PREACH. DOMINIC FORMED THEM INTO THE ORDER OF PREACHERS. WHEN THE TIME HAD COME, HE SENT MOST OF THE FRIARS TO THE UNIVERSITIES AT PARIS, BOLOGNA, ROME AND SPAIN. THIS EMPHASIS ON STUDY HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF DOMINICAN FORMATION.

IN 1216 THE POPE FORMALLY APPROVED THE NEW ORDER AND DOMINIC SERVED AS THE SUPERIOR OF THE ENTIRE ORDER UNTIL HIS DEATH 1221. FOR ALMOST 200 YEARS THE DOMINICANS PREACHED AGAINST THE ALBIGENSIAN HERESY, UNTIL IT FINALLY DIED OUT.

THE ORDER GREW RAPIDLY. SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH THE ORDER HAD GROWN TO EIGHT PROVINCES: SPAIN, PROVENCE, FRANCE, LOMBARDY, ROME, GERMANY, HUNGARY, AND ENGLAND. SOME 500 FRIARS HAD SPREAD AS FAR AS HUNGARY DENMARK AND ENGLAND. BY 1222 THE DOMINICANS HAD REACHED THE MISSION FIELDS OF CRACOW, DANZIG, AND PRAGUE. SOON AFTER THEY WERE PREACHING THE WORD IN GREECE AND PALESTINE.

WHEN NEW LANDS HAD BEEN DISCOVERED BEYOND THE ATLANTIC THE DOMINICANS TOOK A PROMINENT PART IN PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN THE AMERICAS.

ST. DOMINIC WAS A CONTEMPORARY OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI WHO FOUNDED THE FRANCISCAN ORDER. POPE INNOCENT III WAS MOVED TO APPROVE THESE NEW ORDERS WHEN HE SAW IN A DREAM AN IMAGE OF THESE SAINTS REACHING UP TO SUPPORT THE TOTTERING CHURCH, LEST IT FALL TO RUINS.

SOON THESE TWO MENDICANT ORDERS BECAME ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT MOVEMENTS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.

 

TODAY IN SAINT PETER’S BASILICA, COLOSSAL STATUES OF SAINTS FRANCIS AND DOMINIC FLANK BOTH SIDES OF THE CHAIR OF SAINT PETER.

DOMINIC DIED IN 1221, AT THE AGE OF 51, AND WAS CANONIZED IN 1234. HIS ORDER OF PREACHERS STILL CONTINUE TO PRAY AND STUDY AND PREACH THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RISEN SAVIOR.


WE ARE LIVING IN AN EVIL TIME. THE SINS OF SOME OF THE CHURCH’S SHEPHERDS—CLERGY AND PRELATES—HAS DEEPLY WOUNDED THE CHURCH. THE CULTURAL CHANGES IN SOCIETY THREATEN TO DESTROY WESTERN CIVILIZATION ITSELF.

BUT THE CHURCH REMAINS THE CRUCIBLE IN WHICH ARE FORGED GREAT SAINTS LIKE FRANCIS AND DOMINIC, SAINTS WHO HAVE FOUNDED RELIGIOUS ORDERS LIKE THE FRANCISCANS AND DOMINICANS-- SAINTS WHO HAVE RESCUED THE CHURCH IN THE WORST MOMENTS OF HISTORY.

IN A THOUSAND YEARS, IN TEN THOUSAND YEARS AS THE CHURCH CONTINUES TO BE PURIFIED, THE CHURCH OF THE SAINTS WILL BE EVEN MORE GLORIOUS IN THE MILLIONS OF SAINTS WHO WILL BLOSSOM IN CIVILIZATIONS STILL UNDREAMED OF AS THEY IMITATE THE ONE AND ONLY PERFECT SAINT, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

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