2017
custodia.org

Dominicans and Franciscans together for the feast of Saint Dominic

It is a now established and solid tradition that the Dominican and Franciscan friars in Jerusalem celebrate the feast of their own founding fathers together. This is what they did last October at St. Savior’s Church for the solemnity of Saint Francis, and it is also what happened at St. Stephen’s Church on May 22 in order to recall the Relocation of the relics of St. Dominic de Guzmán. The Spanish saint (1170-1221) founded the order of the Preaching Friars in Toulouse, based on itinerant preaching. In 1212, he had a vision of the Virgin Mary giving him the rosary, as a powerful instrument for fighting heresies. The Pope approved the rule of his Order in 1216, and Br. Dominic died in 1221. He was canonized in 1234.

In the splendid Basilica of the Dominicans on Nablus Street, where the EBAF (French Biblical and Archaeological School) is located, the secretary of the Custody, Br. David Grenier, presided over the solemn mass in memory of Saint Dominic’s Relocation. Among the Franciscans present, the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, as well as the vice custodial bursar, Fr. Stéphane Milovitch. The festivity, though usually celebrated on May 24, was anticipated on May 22 due to the vigil of the feast of the Ascension.

At the beginning of the celebration, Br. David expressed his joy at being able to continue the tradition of bringing together the Franciscans and the Dominicans. In the same way, the Custos of the Holy Land began his homily: “It is significant that our orders celebrate the feast of their respective founders together. It is a sign of deep union.”

Fr. Patton then quoted the famous monument of Italian literature The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, where in the third part (Paradise), three chapters are dedicated to St. Francis and St. Dominic. “The Feast of Saint Dominic suggests a composite feeling: joy and gentleness,” the Custos affirmed. “In an exemplary and radical way, the life of Saint Dominic was evangelical.”

Franciscan and Dominican friars and nuns of various orders and members of the French community (which is quite large in Jerusalem) participated in this celebration.
Br. Martin Staszak, the Prior of the Dominicans, concluded the mass by expressing his views on the existing communion between the two orders: “This feast shows that bridges are possible between the Dominicans and the Franciscans and that each one of us may better understand each other.”

BG – NS

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