Saint Hyacinth of Poland

St Hyacinth OPFeast day: 17th of August

Friar and Priest Memorial

Saint Hyacinth (Jacek) was born near Wroclaw (Breslau) in Upper Silesia, Poland, around 1185. He was ordained and became a canon of the cathedral of Krakow. On a journey to Rome in 1220 he was attracted to the Order by the holiness and preaching of Saint Dominic. In 1221 he was sent with Henry of Moravia to establish the Order in Poland. The priory of Krakow was established in 1222 and the Province of Poland in 1225. St. Hyacinth labored many years in this region and established priories at Gdarísk and at Kiel. Like so many saints of the Order he was devoted to Mary, the Mother of God. He died in Krakow on August 15, 1257.

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Saint Dominic de Guzman

Dominic de Guzman OPFeast day: 8th of August

Our Holy Father Dominic Priest Solemnity

Dominic de Guzman was born at Caleruega, Spain, around 1172-1173. After completing his studies at Palencia, he was ordained a priest and became a Canon Regular in the Cathedral Chapter of Osma. While on a diplomatic mission with his bishop, Diego d’Azevedo, he experienced first hand the Albigensian heresy which was at that time widespread in southern France. From that time on he determined to dedicate his life to the ministry of preaching and to live a life of simplicity. Eventually he was supported in his work by a monastery of nuns at Prouille which he had directed from its foundation in 1206.

Convinced of the need for a group of trained preachers who would spread the truth of the gospel by their preaching and teaching and would live in apostolic poverty, in 1215 at Toulouse Dominic organized his fellow preachers into a new religious Order which was formally approved by Pope Honorius III on December 22, 1216. His own love of prayer and study, his zeal for the salvation of souls, and his belief in apostolic poverty became the foundation stones of his Order. On August 15, 1217, he dispersed this small band throughout Europe and from such beginnings the Order grew.

It was said of Saint Dominic that “he either spoke with God or about God.” He died at Bologna on August 6, 1221.

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Semper paratus – always ready!

On the Gospel of Luke (12:32-48)

A friend of mine who was a seminarian in America woke up every morning to a neighbour’s call of ‘are you ready’! To which he replied ‘always ready’. The words of Christ in Sunday’s gospel are strong and forceful and call for a radical way of living; to always ‘stand ready’ in waiting for the Lord. But we, by nature, are impatient animals. Who likes to wait in a queue? Whether it be in the doctor’s clinic or near a toll bridge most of us want to get done with the doctor, or to the other side of the toll bridge, so we can get on with our day’s business.

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We must strive to put God first

On the Gospel of Luke 12:13-21

In this week’s gospel, Christ gives a parable which highlights an issue that seems to prevail in the society in which we live. The parable tells of a man who becomes wealthy on account of a good harvest. Because of his wealth, the man is able to live an easy life, not having to worry about his needs. In this light, the man falls into the trap of becoming unconcerned about his state of being and begins to take things easy and live as though he had “not a care in the world.” God, however rebukes the man for not worrying about the state of his soul and his relationship with God.
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Prayer is a gift of God

On the Gospel of Luke (11:1 -13)

The Gospel is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke chapter 11 (1-13). This passage begins with Jesus in prayer, and after He is finished, some of the disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray. Subsequently Jesus teaches them the “Our Father”, the same prayer that we still pray today.

In prayer we communicate with God. It is seeking to engage in a relationship with God. We can read, especially in the Gospel of Luke, that Jesus frequently went off alone to pray. In the midst of his busy ministry, of preaching and healing Jesus encountered His Father, He sought communion with the Father early in the morning or late in the evening, when all was quite. He “gave himself unto prayer” (Ps. 109:4) as the psalmist says.

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Our Preaching Story

Dominican Nuns in Siena ConventThis excellent paper was presented by one of the Dominican Contemplative Nuns from the Siena Convent in Drogheda, Ireland.

The occasion was the Domincain Family day, a yealy event where the different branches of the Dominican Order (Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Dominicans) come together. This paper is called “Our Preaching Story”, and is a reflection on the role of the contemplative sisters in the life of the Order of Preachers. The focus of the paper is on private prayer.

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The better part

On the Gospel of Luke (10:38-42)

The Gospel for this 16th Sunday of ordinary time presents us with the story of the visit of Jesus to the home of the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha is a kind and caring host who, we are told, welcomes Jesus into her home. She then gets herself into a frenzy of activity preparing everything for the Lord. By contrast, Martha’s sister Mary sits at the Lords feet, savouring his presence among them and listening attentively to what he has to say. Is it any wonder that Martha complains bitterly to the Lord about the apparent inactivity of her sister? “Please tell her to help me”, Martha demand of Jesus. In response Jesus gently tells Martha not to fret over so many things. Instead be like Mary who has chosen the better part. That’s all very well we might ask. But such an attitude will not prepare the food or get the house clean and indeed there is truth in this. But perhaps it would be better to say that if we did this all the time then nothing would get done. But that is not what Jesus is saying to Martha and to us.

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Go, and do the same yourself

On the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37)

At the beginning of this week’s gospel passage, we see a lawyer, someone who is well versed in the art of arguing, confronting Jesus with a question. It is written in the passage that the lawyer was trying to “disconcert” Jesus, or, in other words, embarrass or upset Jesus. So many times, we ourselves ask God questions while thinking that we know the answer ourselves and simply want God to conform to what we feel is the best response to a given situation.

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Preach the gospel to all nations

On the Gospel of Luke (10:1-9)

In today’ gospel  (Luke 10:1-9) we see the Lord appointing his disciples to go ahead of him to preach the gospel to all peoples and thus pass on the gift of faith which they had already received from Him.

The desire to pass on our faith is one of the essential aspects of being a Christian and one which motivated St. Dominic to found the Order of Preachers. Now, as in St. Dominic’s time, there is great need to preach Christian values to a culture which has largely forgotten the gospel and is increasingly influenced by forms of Gnosticism and of New Age Spirituality which are incompatible with Christ’s teaching and implicitly deny that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world.

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The Presence of Jesus

On the Gospel of Luke 9:51-62

This week’s Gospel is again taken from the Gospel of Luke chapter nine (Lk 9:51-62). The time is drawing near that Jesus will be taken up to Heaven and He sets His eyes on Jerusalem. At the end of the opening paragraph we read that “he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luk 9:51 RSV). The use of the word ‘ face’ or ‘presence’ (προσωπον) seems interesting here. ‘ Face’ here can be denoting the physical face of a body, but also a presence. In the Gospels of Luke, where the word is used as face, it always has to do with the presence of the person.

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