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Dominicans open General Chapter in Croatia

(Vatican Radio) The Order of Preachers, or Dominicans as its members are known, is opening its General Chapter on Monday in the city of Trogir, on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Friars from across the world are gathering for the assembly which is expected to conclude on August 8th, the feast day of St Dominic. Unusually, no superiors, apart from the Master General, will be present, but rather delegates elected by the different provinces and charged with defining the direction of the order over the coming years. The friars themselves describe this system of self-government as ‘a unique evangelical democracy’ which has been in place for almost 800 years.
To find out more Philippa Hitchen went to the ancient Dominican convent at Santa Sabina here in Rome to meet with the Irish Father Vivian Boland, vicar or principal assistant to the Master General....

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"We have a Chapter every 3 years and we elect a Master every 9 years......about 60 or 70 friars come to these Chapters......there are other orders from the same period, the Middle Ages, who would have Chapter forms of government, that is communities governed by members of the community rather than an abbot but I think it's true that the Dominicans are one of the oldest ongoing democratic organisations in the world.....

There are just under 6.000 friars throughout the world, about 1.000 are in formation, so younger members which is very encouraging.....there are strong provinces and weaker provinces - Colombia is very strong for example, and Poland, the American provinces, Vietnam, the Philippines, Nigeria.... but there are fewer vocations in Western Europe and North America....

The other side of our mission is evangelisation...when Pope Honorious III approved the order in 1216 - so we're coming up to the celebration of the 8th centenary of the order - he approved it as an order of preachers for evangelisation, so that's one of the priorities for this Chapter, as it is a priority for the Church at the moment

The mendicant orders began really at a moment when the Church needed new evangelisation, so we feel quite at home with thinking about that, what does it mean, what challenges are there in presenting the Gospel in fresh ways, engaging with the questions it raises....."


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