On Saturday 19 March, the North East Fraternal Group held a Day of Reflection, on the theme ‘St. Dominic and the Cross’. 17 people met in Durham (with a few more joining by Zoom), and many more joined us for Mass in the middle of the day.

Andy Doyle spoke about Dominic and the Cross, including the presence of the crucifix in every one of the Nine Ways of Prayer, and the importance of the incarnational, crucified Christ in the order’s early addressing of the Albigensian heresy. We looked at some of the images of the crucifix featuring Christ triumphant and Christ suffering that Dominic would have seen during his lifetime, and considered that the two depictions are complementary, not contradictory. Andy finished with some reflections on what this means for us today, with many of the views of the secular world (such as considering Jesus to be just an ethical teacher, or that what we believe is down to each individual) echoing the thinking of some early heresies. We still need to preach a crucified Christ.

Fr. Peter Hannah OP, from the Western Province of the USA, who is currently resident in Durham while studying at the University, gave a personal reflection on the Nine Ways of Prayer. After the Council of Trent there was a great emphasis on interior ways of praying. The Nine Ways also emphasise the exterior – through our practices we live in relationship with God, body and soul, and physical aspects of prayer (from using rosaries beads to walking the Stations of the Cross) give us a vivid sense of Christ’s presence. Fr. Peter shared his personal experience of praying with each of the Nine Ways.

Margaret Doyle led a meditation on the imagery of the Passion in Fra Angelico’s frescoes at San Marco in Florence, and we finished the day with Stations of the Cross in St. Cuthbert’s church, followed by more than 50 people on YouTube.

During the day we asked for donations for CAFOD’s appeal for Ukraine, and we have sent £65 to CAFOD.