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Our Patron, St. Dominic

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In 2021, we celebrate the 800th year in commemoration of the death of St. Dominic de Guzman, our parish patron. 

St. Dominic lived during the same time as St. Francis of Assisi. They actually met each other in Rome. Where the followers of St. Francis emphasize charity and works of mercy, St. Dominic lamented the poor preparation priests had in defending the faith. He felt that through good preaching of Catholic principles, a strong faith could be established. This strong faith would help combat Catholic heresies which had surfaced in the church in the Middle Ages.  Both St. Francis and St. Dominic began church reform from the bottom up. The Dominican order claims great teachers such as St. Thomas Aquinas, great mystics such as St Catherine of Sienna, St. Rose of Lima, patron saint of Latin America and the Philippines, and Bartolomé de Las Casas, who worked against oppression of the indigenous people being exploited by the Spanish in Central America. Even St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), first turned towards God when, during his recuperation from injury, he became devoted to St. Dominic after reading a book by a Dominican friar.

Dominican spirituality consisted of four pillars: prayer - to allow ourselves the milieu to be open to God’s word, study - which includes searching for understanding of truth, all to help our neighbor, preaching- taking the Word of God and incorporating its message into our everyday life, and community- to both embrace the diversity of gifts God gives, but also to muster strength and avoid discouragement. Our parish honors a great saint who in turn honors us with his legacy.

 

Stained Glass Manifestations

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 We have very beautiful churches in our Archdiocese and beyond. The various religious art pieces and sacramentals enrich our life of prayer, such as the Stations of the Cross and the statues. As a child, I remember staring at the beautiful stained glass windows in my parish church. The sun shone beautifully through the colored glass and brought the picture to life more vibrantly. Through the centuries, the art of creating more detailed pictures of saints has grown, and still today, they lift our eyes upward. 

When we were baptized, we were christened with the name our parents gave us. At Confirmation we choose a saint whose life touches us in some way and becomes our intercessor.

Saints are very important in our faith formation because they inspire and encourage us, on our journey to holiness.  I remember a sister from my religious education class told us, “Saints are human beings. They become a saint the moment they know they are loved by God.”  Wow, simple, profound, and yet a challenge.

On our parish pilgrimage to France, Spain and Portugal, we stood on the ground where St. Dominic, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Ignatius of Loyola lived. They once walked this earth and now are living legacies and powerful witnesses to Christ’s love in their lives. They are intercessors for us. Also among the “communion of saints” are those loved ones in our lives who died and continue to intercede on our behalf in heaven. This could be your grandparents, parents, siblings, children or friends. Their faith lives on in us.

We are all called to holiness. We are grateful that God continues to call men and women to ministry, where they give witness to God’s love through their unique vocation. Each of us can be that “walking saint” in our world, leading others to Christ through our words and actions. We are strengthened when we walk together in that path for holiness.  It is not an easy task. Christ calls us to discipleship where we can be a stained glass window, manifesting the love of God that shines in and through our lives. My friends, it’s a blessing to know you as living saints in the making. 

Posted by Mary Lestina
Tags: faith, saints

Catholic Hall of Fame

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Over the past months, we have been doing reflections on the readings of the day. I found that when it was my turn to write, the day frequently fell on the feast day of a Saint. I always tried to include something about that Saint before getting into the reading or the reflection. I have to admit, I enjoyed finding out about each Saint. Their stories are rich in faith and inspiration. Often the story includes a change of heart and/or direction that changes ordinary sinners into extraordinary servants of God.

We are blessed to have so many Saints represented in the stained glass windows surrounding our church. We don’t worship saints - we admire them for their witness and virtue. It’s like our Catholic Hall of Fame. We keep pictures of our family members - even some who are no longer with us. We have images of saints to remind us of their testimony as to how Jesus Christ changed their lives.

People receiving the sacrament of Confirmation are still asked to adopt a new name, usually a saint or biblical character. It gives them another patron saint as protector and also a guide. We don’t pray to the saints but we can ask the saints to pray with us and for us. We might ask our fellow Christians to pray with/for us. Why not ask those Christians already in heaven?

Saints are amazing examples of God’s ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Saints are living examples of how God’s love and grace are available to all who are willing to accept it. We are all called to be saints, and we have hundreds of examples to show us the way.

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