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2001-08-08

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Mass of the Holy Spirit. July 14, 2001. A thanksgiving tribute

By Fr. Norman A. Haddad, O.P.

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The time after Communion is an appropriate time for us to give thanks. Today it is especially fitting to give thanks to our brother Timothy Radcliffe as he completes his term as Master of the Order, and to give thanks to God for the blessing that Fr. Timothy has been for all of us.

Several member of the Chapter got together to prepare this word of gratitude. I am privileged to present it.

Timothy, you often mentioned how awesome it was that we put our hands in yours, making our religious profession to you. You also put your hands into ours as you exercised your role of Master of our Order. You gave yourself over to us, you encouraged and inspired us, you gave us a new kind of leadership to make possible a new sense of being a Dominican in a new moment.
We experienced your smile, your enthusiasm, your vision and even your pain. You became part of us in allowing us to be part of you.

You came into our provinces like a whirlwind. We were listened to in visitation as never before.
Thank you for visiting each one of us, for listening to us, for affirming and encouraging us. Thank you for challenging us with new insights and giving new meaning to the themes of Mission, the Brotherhood, Democracy and the Dominican Family.

As a leader and as a listener you were freeing, approachable and personal. We were all taken by your welcoming face, your gentle smile and your gracious words. You are a great listener who modeled for us the stance of the preacher. Your gift of listening opened us up to hear what you had to say.

Thank you for your letters which reflect the rich experience of the men and women, religious and lay with whom you spoke, as well as for your wisdom and insight. You brought us out of ourselves in so many ways, and you responded to our questions by raising them to a higher plain, thereby broadening our perspective and helping us to realize that we were more than we thought we were.


Your book which is a best seller on the internet will be read by many, and for many years - a spiritual classic. But your writings are not the only reality that inspire us. We heard the story of your visit to our Dominican nuns in Burundi, of how you passed dead bodies and bombed out cars along the road in order to be with the sisters and to celebrate the Eucharist with them in the midst of a raging civil war. We heard of your remark to the brother who cried out to you in his pain, how you encouraged him by telling him that you would go to Saint Dominic's cell and pray for him as soon as you returned to Rome. These stories and those of our experiences with you are treasures for which we are most grateful.

And so, Brother Timothy, we thank you for your nine years of fidelity as Master of the Order and we thank God for all you have been. Our prayers continue to be with you, as you take a well deserved sabbatical and as you discern your course for the future, asking God to enable you to be and do all that He asks of you.

Fr. Norman A. Haddad, O.P., Homilist

The standing applause of all in the Chapel was a moving experience for all of us and it lasted for quite a few minutes. This sign of acknowledgement and gratitude spoke much more than the simple words we were able to put together.

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