As the church bolts off further into the third millennium, she is beset by forces, turmoil and conflicts on all sides. The church is being persecuted and is struggling for survival in hostile environments in different parts of the world. The Church in Nigeria has had her fair share of these disturbances particularly in the Northern parts of the country. Violent attacks in these parts have evolved from ethnical clashes which are coloured by religious sentiments to acts of terrorism by sectarian groups masquerading as religious zealots. The dreaded Boko Haram sect has spear-headed terrorist attacks over the course of several years culminating in the infamous abduction of over 200 school girls (the Chibok girls). Their actions are often terrifyingly indiscriminate, slaughtering entire villages seemingly at random; survivors fear for their lives and are hardly able to fully recover from the shock of their ordeal.
As a Dominican youth living in this part of the world, it is often a challenge understanding the situation and offering suitable responses in a bid to reassure victims and others of God’s presence and injecting the fresh air of hope. It, however, behooves every preacher to read the signs of the times and offer favourable response. It is to this end that this article wishes to study the phenomenon of terrorism (Boko Haram) in Northern Nigeria and how this affects preaching and witnessing.
To the International Dominican Youth Movement, the International Commission, the Dominican Curia, and the Master of the Dominican Order,
Two years ago, I was deeply moved and humbled when delegates from countries throughout the world elected me onto the International Commission of IDYM in Bogota, Colombia. I certainly felt passionate about the Communications Promoter position and the movement in general.
It has been an honor and pleasure to work with the amazingly dedicated fellow members of the IC for the past two years. Together we have accomplished a great deal and I know this work will only continue in growing the movement of Dominican Youth.
It is with sadness that I must inform you that I am resigning from the International Commission. Unfortunately, many other responsibilities in my life here in Chicago have had to take precedent over my responsibilities for the IC. The Communications Promoter is an important role that requires much more time than I am currently able to commit. In fairness to the fellow IC members and the movement as a whole, I feel it is important that someone else fill the position that can commit the appropriate time and energy into this role.
I look forward to continuing my involvement in the Dominican Youth Movement at the local, national, and international level and I certainly cherish all of the connections and fellowship as a result of this experience.
The International Commission has named Santi Vedrí from Valencia, Spain the new Promoter of Communications. He currently lives in Madrid. He will coordinate a team to help him with Communications.
I will continue to work with the International Commission and Santi and assisting in any way that I can in future projects.
Though this was a difficult decision, I know that it is the right one personally and for the movement. Thank you for your continued support and may God bless each and every one of you!
In Dominic with love,
Thanks to collaboration with Domuni (www.domuni.eu), the Dominican University Online, we offer IDYM members, free of charge, a course about Dominicanism to support personal formation and to reflect together with other young people in this community study experience.
The course is aimed at all members of IDYM who are interested in exploring the life of Saint Dominic and the Order and his dedication to preaching. This is a great opportunity to access quality training and in an innovative way.
The course will run entirely on an online training platform from Domuni and therefore will need an Internet connection or access to it. Each participant will be asked to read or display materials from each one of the stages and reflect their thoughts on the subject in their forum assigned by language: Spanish, English or French. You can access the training materials for all languages, but should only participate in the forum of the language chosen for the course. We also have additional reference materials and we can add those that are proposed by the students themselves.
We want to use this space as a place of study and shared reflection, so it is important to have active participation of those entering the course. Since it is free, active participation is a commitment that must be accepted by every IDYM members who chooses to register for this course. They should also be able to read and write properly in the language of the course you choose: Spanish, English or French.
The course will be conducted in 3 stages of three weeks each, plus an initial stage for presentations and introductions. This organization gives enough time to develop each of the stages reflectively and without neglecting usual occupations and responsibilities. The stages are:
The number of students accepted is limited, 25 entries per language (Spanish, English and French), so it's important to register early to avoid running out of space in this unique opportunity. The registration process will be March 5-31 and the order of arrival of requests will be respected.
Go to the Application form of the course
Registration will take place through an online form, which will be enabled starting March 5th. All IDYM members who are wishing to register must also inform the national coordinator of their country after filling out the form. Every registration will be verified to ensure their membership in the movement.
For more information please contact:
Dominican Young Adults
By Gina Fleming, OP (Amityville)
The week of Jan. 4–8, eight members of the Dominican Young Adults Chapter at Molloy College came together to participate in a service project on Long Island, New York, to help repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. This year’s build was a three-way collaboration among United Baptist Disaster Relief Services, United Methodist Disaster Relief Services, and Dominican Young Adults. Two associates from the Dominican Sisters of Amityville also participated, along with two others from the local community.
The week began with arrival on Sunday evening, settling into bedrooms, a short tour of the house, dinner, and an overview of the plan for the week. This was followed by an opening prayer service.
Much to their dismay, the students had to rise each morning (sometimes with some prompting) at 7:15 a.m., prepare their breakfast, make their lunch (which they needed to bring to the site each day), and be ready to leave by 8:15 a.m. Quite a challenge for young people who were on break… but they were real troopers and were ready to go.
Usually because of the number of participants, we would have to break up into two groups, but not so this time. We all had the opportunity to work and experience everything together. At the sites, the students had the opportunity to engage in all types of work.
Our initial task was to build a floor in one of the basements in Long Beach that had been wiped out by the storm. All that remained of the basement were the two by fours and about three feet of beach sand. I must admit, we were a little taken back when we entered and realized our project. But with the help of an experienced carpenter who worked alongside us, the floor was laid in two days. There was a lot of measuring, cutting, hammering, and nail driving that had to be done in a very confined area, but we felt very good when the floor was done.
We worked at four other sites during the week. The students had a variety of odd jobs which included cleaning , mudding, sanding, and priming the bare walls. There was much to do, but we were determined to do what was necessary to speed up the resettling of the families that once lived in these homes. The young people working alongside those of us who are a bit older hit it off right away, and the work, though exhausting at times, was done in a wonderful spirit of laughter and fun.
At each work site, we had the opportunity to meet the people who owned the home we were working on. With tears in their eyes, they spoke of their gratitude to these young volunteers. Before we left any of the sites, we promised that we would pray for the residents of each home and ask God to help make their dream of finally “coming home” a reality.
To make the service project more meaningful and to have opportunity to reflect on our daily experiences, the Amityville Dominican Sisters’ Dominican House of Hospitality housed all of the volunteers for the entire week. Each evening, the core community of the house, along with the Dominican associates, had dinner on the table ready for us when we returned home. We are truly indebted to their generous spirit of hospitality and service. On one of the evenings, we had pizza and prayer with the sisters at St. Ignatius Convent. The sisters were so gracious to our young people and very interested in their experiences thus far. Another great experience for these young Dominicans of Dominican hospitality and “Family.”
After dinner, the young people gathered to pray and speak about their day. What or who touched them, and where might they have encountered God in their experience. As you might guess, the prayer and reflection were powerful each night.
This entire experience was a true expression of what we mean by “Dominican Family.” Different parts of the family (vowed religious, associates, and Dominican Young Adults) all worked together to make this week a positive experience for all. No one of us did it all, but all of us did our part.
Soon it was time to say goodbye. It was a good feeling knowing that we left the houses in much better shape than they were in when we arrived. It was also a good feeling knowing that each of us in our own small way assisted in “Continuing the Preaching ” in our own lives and the lives of those we met in Long Beach, Massapequa, Bayshore, Valley Stream, and North Woodmere.
Sister Gina Fleming, OP (Amityville) is director of Dominican Young Adults USA, and director of the Dominican College Preaching Conference.
A Report of the Visit of Brian Pierce, OP (Province of St Martin de Porres, USA. Former Promoter of the Nuns of the Dominican Order) and Timothy Radcliffe OP (Province of England. Former Master of the Dominican Order) to Iraq
At the invitation of fr. Amir Jaje OP, the Vicar of the Arabic Vicariate of the Province of France, we made a visit to Iraq, from January 8th to 16th. We are very aware of how superficial is our understanding of this complex and beautiful country and its suffering, but even so we would like to share what we have heard and seen, the hope that our brethren and sisters keep alive, and what we can do to support them. Please forgive any inaccuracies.
THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
and throughout the year 2015
Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"
BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
With her heart transformed, the Samaritan woman goes out in mission. She announces to her people that she has found the Messiah. Many believed in Jesus "because of the woman’s witness" (John 4:39). The force of her witness stems from the transformation of her life caused by her encounter with Jesus. Thanks to her attitude of openness, she recognised in that stranger "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn 4:14)
Mission is a key element of Christian faith. Every Christian is called to announce the name of the Lord. Pope Francis told missionaries, "wherever you may go, it would do you well to think that the Spirit of God always gets there ahead of us". Mission is not proselytism. Those who truly announce Jesus approach others in loving dialogue, open to mutual learning, and respecting difference. Our mission requires us to learn to drink from the living water without taking hold of the well. The well does not belong to us. Rather, we draw life from the well, the well of living water which is given by Christ.
Our mission must be a work both of word and witness. We seek to live out what we proclaim. The late Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara, once said that many have become atheists because they have become disillusioned by people of faith who do not practice what they preach. The witness of the woman led her community to believe in Jesus because her brothers and sisters saw coherence between her words and her own transformation.
If our word and witness is authentic, the world will hear and believe. "How are they to believe if they have not heard?" (Rom 10:14).
God, spring of living water,
Make of us witnesses of unity through both our words and our lives. Help us to understand that we are not the owners of the well, And give us the wisdom to welcome the same grace in one another.
Transform our hearts and our lives
So that we might be genuine bearers of the Good News.
And lead us always to the encounter with the other,
As an encounter with you.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit.
THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
and throughout the year 2015
Jesus said to her: "Give me to drink"
BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE EIGHT DAYS
Christians should be confident that encountering and exchanging experiences with the other, even other religious traditions, can change us and help us to reach into the depths of the well. Approaching those who are strangers to us with the desire to drink from their well, opens to us the "wonders of God" that we proclaim.
In the wilderness God’s people were without water and God sent Moses and Aaron to bring water forth from the rock. In the same way God often meets our needs through others. As we call upon the Lord in our need, like the Samaritan asking Jesus, "Sir, give me this water," perhaps the Lord has already answered our prayers by putting into the hands of our neighbours that for which we ask. And so we need to turn also to them, and ask, "Give me to drink."
Sometimes the answer to our need is already in the life and goodwill of the people around us. From the Guarany people of Brazil we learn that in their language there is no equivalent word for the term "religion" as separate from the rest of life. The expression usually used literally means "our good way of being" ("ñande reko katu"). This expression refers to the whole cultural system, which includes religion. Religion, therefore, is part of the Guarany cultural system, as well as their way of thinking and being (teko). It relates to all that improves and develops the community and leads to its "good way of being" (teko katu). The Guarany people remind us that Christianity was first called "The Way" (Acts 9:2). "The Way," or "our good way of being" is God’s way of bringing harmony to all parts of our lives.
God of life, who cares for all creation, and calls us to justice and peace,
may our security not come from arms, but from respect.
May our force not be of violence, but of love.
May our wealth not be in money, but in sharing.
May our path not be of ambition, but of justice.
May our victory not be from vengeance, but in forgiveness.
May our unity not be in the quest of power, but in vulnerable witness to do your will.
Open and confident, may we defend the dignity of all creation, sharing, today and forever, the bread of solidarity, justice and peace.
This we ask in the name of Jesus, your holy Son, our brother, who, as victim of our violence, even from the heights of the cross, gave forgiveness to us all.
(Adapted from a prayer from an ecumenical conference in Brazil, calling for an end to poverty as the first step on the path to peace through justice)