‘Looking Towards an Apostolic Future’

The 2022 Lay Dominican Assembly took place on 17th September in Leicester. Our theme was ‘Looking Towards an Apostolic Future’. Speakers from many of our fraternities reflected on their experience over the last few years of COVID and lockdown, and the discussions and debates taking place in each fraternity about the future.

Some key themes

  • Exploring both ‘Lay’ and ‘Dominican’, and how the 2 sides can be kept in perfect balance
  • Our apostolic future is to be more confident in our preaching, to find ways of preaching in our daily lives and to bring aspects of our working life to the Dominicans and aspects of our Dominican life to our work.
  • We have discovered both on-line and face to face communities
  • We need to be courageous and not stay in our own comfort zones
  • There is a real issue with young people from Catholic homes lapsing. Is there a lack of transference of faith within families? Parents have imperfect knowledge themselves and need guidance.
  • People are very nervous about coming back after COVID.
  • How do we make our community attractive to others? By being robust and loving. By being counter-cultural. Providing meaning in a meaningless world.
  • Focus on the environment
  • Focus on fraternity, welcoming refugees and change from the bottom up (Pope Francis’ ‘Let us Dream’)

“There is a growing desire to share with a wider audience who may not engage with Christianity on a daily basis”

“The queues at the Queen’s lying in state were like a pilgrimage. It is clear that there is a need, a gap waiting to be filled”

And some suggestions to consider:

  • Rather than each fraternity having several small projects, should we be identifying one or two large projects and collaborating across the province?
  • We should have more on-going formation events across the province. Preaching is getting up and telling people but we need to be confirmed in our messaging, well equipped.
  • We could produce materials, prayers, teaching for families and make them available free on our website, building on excellent work already going on in children’s liturgy (e.g. at Blackfriars, Oxford)
  • The 5 Vs:
    • Vocations: we need to have a visible presence, so that we keep growing and attracting people to the Dominican way of life
    • Volunteering: we need to actively ask our priests ‘What can I do to help?’
    • View the signs of the times: people do not know anything about Christianity
    • Venture (an undertaking with a connotation of risk): we can be preaching all the time
    • Vive: Live. God has given us life and we are here to preach, to be infectious.
  • We should be doing something to address wastefulness and show solidarity with the poor.

Some of the reports presented

(If you spoke at the Assembly and would like your report added to the website, please email a copy to margaretdoyle1066@sky.com)

Closing comments from fr. John Farrell OP (Promoter of the Lay Dominicans)

Fr. John remarked that he had been at a Lay Dominican Assembly 10 years ago, and he was pleased to report that the standard of discussion today, and the intense joy people expressed were a huge improvement. In the past, the vitality of the Lay Dominicans came from the friars. Now our vitality comes from one another – laity preaching to laity.

A lot of good work has been done in the last few years, including the development of the Directory (although further revisions are still needed). Fr. John emphasized the importance of building up the fraternities, and concluded that there has been a renaissance.

“The Lay Dominicans of this province are flourishing!”

fr. John Farrell OP

Additional reports

During the day, the following reports were also presented:

Alison Fincham, President of the Lay Provincial Council: Annual report

Margaret Doyle: Update on development of the website and social media.