Franciscans and Dominicans celebrate St. Dominic together

“It is a joy to be here celebrating St. Dominic,” said the Custos of the Holy Land in the church of St. Stephan in Jerusalem, which belongs to the Dominican Fathers. The communities of the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land and the Dominicans of Jerusalem have long been celebrating their founders together. So this year as well, on the occasion of the solemnity of St. Dominic on May 24, in the Dominican church, the Franciscans were present, with the Custos and the Secretary of the Holy Land, Br. David Grenier. “According to tradition, we consider the two respective founders of our orders as our fathers,” said Fr. Francesco Patton. “Our celebration is a way of fostering this communion, which is a historical communion between our two orders.”

Fr. Frédéric Manns, professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, gave the homily, and in October for the feast of St. Francis, a Dominican does the preaching. The Franciscan friar in his homily commented on the readings of the day, specifically one from the prophet Isaiah. “The Lord has redeemed Jerusalem we have heard. And so we must look at what the popes said from Nostra Aetate onward,” said Fr. Manns. “[Our] relationship with Judaism is intrinsic. We must understand what this means and how we can interpret this today in the light of the Old Testament, without confusing Judaism with Zionism.” Fr. Manns said that when St. Dominic was a student, since there was a big famine, he sold his books to feed the people. “Study is fundamental, but respect for the person is more important than study,” he concluded. “Study must be at the service of the person.”

St. Dominic de Guzmán was declared a saint in 1234, after leading a humble life, marked by preaching, penance and charity (1170-1221). Spanish in origin, he founded the Order of Preachers in Toulouse, based on itinerant preaching. St. Dominic died on August 6, 1221, in his beloved monastery in Bologna.
“Today is the celebration of the transfer of St. Dominic’s relics to the house in Bologna,” said Fr. Martin Staszak, the prior of the Dominicans. “His tomb was outside, but the relics were brought into the house. Other legends tell us that those present felt a strong scent of flowers.” The feast of St. Dominic takes place in August, but since it falls during the summer holiday, the Dominicans of Jerusalem celebrate it on May 24. “The two Franciscan and Dominican orders preach for each other for this feast. It is a beautiful tradition and it enriches us,” said the prior with a smile. “Everyone can learn something new from other people.”

Beatrice Guarrera

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