of our father Saint Dominic of Guzman
day dawned like those before it, already hot and humid from the
earliest hours of the morning. Yesterday many groups had bade farewell
around some cooling refreshments until late in the evening. The
night was warm and made it difficult to retire. There was much conversation
about all we had lived this month; the chapter and its protagonists
gave us much to talk about.
was at 7:30 in the morning and was basically in French. One song
in English written by James Marchionda was named "A Dominican
was a day to rip up papers. So many drafts, so many amendments had
to disappear so that the unadorned result was the only thing left.
However some kept the text in which the votes for each paragraph
were minutely recorded. They had decided to take all the wisdom
of all the chapter members on a disk. Rather than do this, as soon
as others got the disk, they sent the entire contents via the Internet
to their own e-mail address. It was necessary to "travel lightly,
as men of the sea". There was already enough weight in the
brain. After packing their things, some then started the rites of
farewell. "It has been so good to know you. Why don't you come
to...? ( as if Australia or Chile were on the next corner). Let's
see if we meet in ..." There's not much time left until the
chapter in Krakow.
very solemn Mass with almost two hours of celebration. Joined with
the Master were Friar Timothy, Friar Norman Haddad, the provincial
of St. Joseph province, the chapter secretary and the syndic of
the Argentinean province, substituting for his provincial, who had
fallen this morning and had to use crutches to walk. The Mass was
a review of all the "diverse" liturgies which we had celebrated.
Once again it was celebrated in the three official languages: one
reading in each of them. Friar Carlos gave a beautiful homily in
which he sang and acted as well as spoke.
He especially used English but also spoke Spanish and at one moment,
French. He offered us many and good things to think about. During
the Italian Renaissance the great painters made sketches of their
paintings and later left them to their disciples who finished the
works. St. Dominic also offered the general lines of his Order and
has left it to his friars so that throughout time it is they who
have finished his work, adapting it to diverse times and geographies.
This has happened for almost eight centuries. This chapter has tried
also to apply some brush strokes which will accomplish a beautiful,
real and efficacious appearance of the Order to our time and its
Another thought made reference to the chapel where we are. Light
has shone in the chapel through Fray Bartolomé de las Casas
or Venerable Chikaba ( whose beatification the chapter declared),
or St. Catherine, or St. Thomas, etc., that is, light has shone
through those Dominican women and men represented in the chapel's
stained windows. Below the chapel is the chapter hall. There are
no stained glass windows there. We should think that the light has
been passing through each of us who has been congregated there.
That is what we hope. Carlos had effusive words for Timothy. He
ended with a petition for his predecessor, singing the "Coplas
de Yaraví", an Argentinean song in which one asks to
be the clay that God molds , the seed that God sows where God wishes,
the kindling wood that may be burned for the poor. In the offering
of gifts, the Acts of the Chapter, now in their notebooks, were
Communion the beautiful Argentinean verses were sung again, as well
as a lovely Portuguese hymn. To mark the end of the Mass, Carlos
put on a white glove used by the bell ringers - a new thing for
chapter liturgy - in order to ring a bell. With this sound the Eucharist
had begun. Even in the song of farewell, we sang out an African
song, which caught hold of everyone processing out of the chapel,
making their bodies move and their hands clap in rhythm. And so
the Mass ended. Thus ended the diverse and always very well-prepared
liturgies of this chapter. St. Dominic must have felt very happy,
seeing that his sons and daughters celebrated his feast with rhythms
which came from the continent where his fellow Spaniard countrymen
once fought and tried to subdue its people.
festive farewell supper. Songs in French, Spanish, Italian, and
an Irish song in English. The party lasted until very late. Everyone
the breaking-up begins, very early for some. The wheat which remains
stored up goes bad. We will descend the hill of Providence to meet
the brothers and sisters who await us with a new song. We are not
alone. We form a great family united in the common mission to preach
the Gospel. We are confident in the " wonderful hope"
of Dominic to come to the aid of his family.
Father Dominic, add to your number! (Pie Pater Dominice, tuorum