Saturday, August 8, 1998
First Reading: Habakkuk 1: 12 - 17 ; 2: 1-4
Psalms: Psalm 9: 8-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 17: 14-20
FEAST OF SAINT DOMINIC, PRIEST AND RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
One of the greatest preachers in Church History, Saint Dominic is the founder of the Order of Preachers, known world-wide as the Dominicans. Born in 1170 in of noble parents in Caleruega, Spain, Dominic became an Augustinian canon after being educated at Palenci, Spain. Dominic received the rare gift of being chosen, at the age of 24, of joining his bishop the Most Reverend Diego de Azevedo on a mission to Denmark which also took them through southern France where Dominic encountered first-hand the Albigensianism and the Waldensian heresy rampant in those parts. He realized then and there the Church needed more preachers to convey the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. Both he and Bishop Azevedo returned immediately to Osma, Spain to begin recruiting worthy preachers. Before they were able to complete this task, the Bishop died and the mission was left to Dominic alone. Undaunted, he realized the first necessity was prayer support and so set about to found a monastery of cloistered nuns in Prouille, France near Toulouse in 1215 similar to the Institute of Divine Mercy founded in Dallas three years ago. Two years later Dominic had assembled enough preachers to form the Friars Preachers and it was quickly approved as the Order of Preachers in a papal bull issued by Pope Honorius III a year later in 1218. The Rule Dominic adopted was patterned after the Rule of Saint Augustine in which the emphasis was on personal and community poverty, the specific ministry of preaching and an arduous and loyal study of the Divine Truth. Within a few years the Order had expanded to Madrid, Paris, Rome and Bologna, Italy. Though he was always interested in establishing headquarters in universities, he also had a special affinity for the missions. But his duties as Founder and Superior General took him to Italy where he established the monastery of nuns at the church of Saint Sixtus and in 1218 Pope Honorius bestowed the gift of the basilica of Santa Sabina which became the headquarters for the Dominicans and has remained so ever since. So loved was Dominic that he was conferred the honor of Master of the Sacred Palace which from that time on has always gone to a Dominican. Another honor associated with the Dominicans is the Rosary for Our Lady appeared to Dominic giving him a beautiful garland of roses, asking Dominic to pray the Rosary daily and to teach others how to pray this prayer which would become one of the most powerful weapons against the enemies of the Church. The Rosary, through Dominic's preaching, was instrumental in bringing countless souls back to the Church. Dominic is often depicted with the cross, scrolls and a companion dog clutching the "torch of zeal" for souls. On the evening of August 7, the feast of St. Sixtus in whose Church Dominic's Order was headquartered, while the Dominicans were gathered for a provincial meeting in Bologna, Dominic breathed his last breath, exclaiming just before expiring that because of his illnesses he could now be of more help to them in Heaven than on earth.