Thanksgiving Day is the time to remind one another of the many
reasons to be grateful. As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks and rejoice in the
Lord who has blessed each of us with so much and in so many ways. Also, I am reminded that the word thanksgiving
is composed of two words “thanks” and “giving.” Through
the Holiday of Thanksgiving we are reminded to give thanks, and to give.
Early this month, on November 1st,
the ICN “Inter Community Novitiate” gathered to celebrate “All Saints’ Day” in
honor of all the saints, known and unknown. Ten days later, at the CDN, we
celebrated the birthday of Sister Cathy, one of the co-directors. She shared with us that,
at every celebration for each decade of her life, she took a moment to reflect on all the graces
that she had received in the last decade.
our classes at Aquinas, the ICN, our panel discussions, and other social
gatherings, I have been building intimacy in my relationship with God, and
through encounters with others. These gatherings have allowed me to share
special moments such as stories, meals or just having deep conversations. In
our discussions, we always experience laughter, warmth and love.
Now, I pause for a few moments to take time to pray, reflect on my
life and give thanks. I give thanks for the graces of God, for the gifts of my
family, for the friends and for my
loved ones.Especially, I give thanks for my co-directors
and co-novice at the CDN, the novices and novice directors at the ICN, and for
those who have been a part of my life, sharing
their faithand lives with me during this
novitiate year. I am thankful to God and to all who have prayed and supported
us these past months in various ways.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving,
please receive from the community at the CDN our gratitude and warmest wishes
for a peaceful day. We hope that you have a very blessed and happy
made special our Halloween celebration was the carving and exchange of pumpkins
among our intercommunity novitiate congregations. We carved our pumpkins and
exchanged them.The pumpkin we received
as a community was carved by the Daughters of Charity.For me, its meaning and the way it appears,
reminds me of the meaning of the life of Jesus given to us through love, and
which we share with our beloved departed.
The bright light which we see through
the pumpkin is itself a symbol of resurrection.
May we always see life, love, light and hope in our Halloween,
of the novices in the Inter Community Novitiate (ICN) recently came together to participate
in the planning and preparation for a mass celebrated during one of our meetings.
The entire process was mainly devoted to celebrating our cultural diversity,
and we had an explosion of willingness to share and to learn from each other, especially
as we discerned how to pray within our preferred worshiping styles. I must
admit that we even surprised ourselves with how well we came together since
most of the preparation was done separately then brought together in a single hour,
which certainly required trust among all of us. We brought items (cloths, statues,
flags, etc.) that represented our culture, using it to create the environment
in front of the altar. We sang the Gloria in Bemba, the language of indigenous
people of Zambia. We represented seven different languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese,
French, Tonga, Mandarin, and Tagalog) in the readings and intercessions. We celebrated
through dance during the offertory with a song in Swahili. We did all this in a
spirit of prayer, of ministry, and of joy. It truly was an intercultural image
of being Church – in fact, it was our own way of being a witness to the mission
time we gather for the ICN, we take part in a shared path of formation through
a spirit of community and of study. We share our charism as the novices from each
congregation in the ICN are given an opportunity to present their
congregational history and mission. We share at table with good food, good
company, fun conversations, and much laughter. We share our stories and experiences
as we engage in discussion on the topics of personal and communal discernment, Enneagram types, transition and the movement to our true self, communication skills
in community and in our congregational charism, communal theological reflection
in a parabolic mode (using the lens of the parables), and the journey to interculturality
for Jesus, for us, and for our congregations. Each topic has challenged us and
encouraged us as we walk this sacred journey to personal and communal growth. Yes,
our ICN days are quite full, and there are more topics to come that will
continue to challenge us (and hopefully encourage us) to go even deeper into
awareness, freedom, and growth.
am blessed to belong to this company of novices. We are novices still discovering
our identities in religious life and in our own congregations – still discovering
how to live our call to religious life and how to do so through our
congregational charism and mission. With so much work ahead of us, at least we
have discovered each other as companions on this formation journey. We
have discovered the blessing of cultural diversity, the value of collaboration,
and the support of friendship in the family of religious women and men.
next time, please pray for us and all novices around the world.
We are very privileged to be reflecting about our call to preach as Dominicans and most importantly as baptized Christians.
At the beginning of our Preaching class at Aquinas, we were given an assignment to write a paragraph and share with others about our preaching vocation. I believe, that as a baptized person, I am called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to others. This is a call from Jesus himself when he says in the scriptures, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
While reflecting on
this call, I have come to realize that my missionary and preaching vocation are
intertwined. One of my classmates shared this: “I see myself as one who has
known God in Jesus Christ and has been transformed by his love, and who seeks
to help others to encounter God in a similar way that they may be converted
even as I am being converted. I find that the Dominican motto, ‘To contemplate
and to share with others the fruits of contemplation’ constantly explains and
enriches this identity for me.”
We are constantly reminded by Fr. Gregory Heille,
OP, about how we, as preachers, are growing as good proclaimers of the Word in our
communities and how we are proclaiming the scriptures in ways which communicate
the Word of God meaningfully to the listeners. We are learning that one of the most important
approaches to proclaiming the Word effectively is pausing and phrasing at the
natural and logical places.There is a
meaning which is conveyed while pausing. For instance, are we aware that these
two sentences below (Luke 23:23) have completely two different meanings which
can raise some theological concerns?
Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise."
If the reader uses the comma as the place for
pausing, we will discover that the sentence has two different meanings. Hence, as
proclaimers of the Word, we have to bear in mind that we are mediators of
meaning to the listeners. We can’t go without mentioning other elements like
voicing and clarity of diction from the reader. They also carry a lot of
All in all, as young preachers, we are still
struggling in our preparations for preaching especially when it comes to
considering this puzzle: ‘’WHAT, SO WHAT,
AND NOW WHAT?’’We are convinced that,
as we are being trained as preachers of the Word, we are also being trained to
preach with our daily actions.
As part of the novitiate experience, novices visit
Dominican Congregations in the United States to learn more about the
Last week, we went to visit the
Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois at their Motherhouse. We also had a
day of reflection with Sister SharonZayac who taught us about the Universe story. The Sisters embraced us
with open arms and made us feel like family. I was so moved when I heard the
Sisters tell us, “You are our novices, you are all welcome to visit us anytime
here.” The Sisters invited us to pray, have meals with them, and gave us a tour
of their house. I felt very close and connected. I came to understand more about
the relationship with our other Dominican Congregations as a family, and how we
support each other, especially the novices at the CDN.
I am so grateful to receive the love from the Springfield Sisters, and
this reminds me how I want to live in the CDN as a family during my novitiate
year. It also reminds me of the image I saw at Jubilee
Farm with big trees providing shade for plants and flowers, and the flowers and
plants needing shade to grow. All the big trees, plants, wild flowers, and native
flowers are growing together to make the field beautiful. Two months ago, each
Novice took the soil from the ground of her Motherhouse and planted the three
different plants into one large planter as a living symbol of this new
beginning for our CDN community. Now the plants are in the same soil, receive the
same water, lean in the same way toward the same sun.
Look at the planter today. Although they are different, they still grow, and survive! Our lives as novices in the CDN are like the plants in the planter in the way we lean together to walk in the path of becoming a Dominican.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I am deeply grateful for your
prayers and support; we hold you in our hearts and prayers.
Healing the Whole
“Let us be united,
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer;
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings,
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions;
Perfect be our unity”
The Rig Veda, Earth
prayers from around the World.