RESOURCES

National Vocation Awareness Week

November 1-7, 2020

During National Vocation Awareness Week, we will feature friars in our Province who have offered up some insight into their own vocations: why they chose the Dominicans, what blessings they have received from religious life, or their favorite part about being a Dominican Friar.

Please join us in reciting our Dominican Prayer for Vocations every day this week:

 

Blessed Father Dominic, preacher of God's grace,

you promised to assist us even after your death.

Intercede for us before God

to help us encourage more men and women to follow our way of life,

the way of a preacher.

Bless us in our common life, study, prayer, and ministry,

that our lives together may be a joyful witness

creating a desire in others to join the Sacred Preaching.

Amen.

November 2 - Br. Peter Martyr Lewitzke, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

The joy of our elderly friars attracted me to the Dominicans. After 50 or 60 years in the Order, they were still in love with it. I thought to myself, "If I can be half as happy as these men, I'm in."

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

The act of into silence with God carries me from one day to the next. It's a major blessing to have this be a part of my vocation.

 

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
I love spending time with my brothers. We support each other when times are difficult and celebrate when times are good. We're never short on laughs!

November 3 - Fr. Vincent Davila, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

I was drawn by friendship with the friars; I knew some of them, and was struck by how they loved Jesus and desired to serve him, and I thought: I want to live with men like that, I want to be surrounded with friends who love Jesus. I was drawn by the mix of the active and contemplative life: I desired a deep relationship with the Lord, and so the monastic life was appealing; but I knew he was calling me to serve among his people; Dominican life was a perfect mix. I felt the Lord was calling me to preach the Gospel, and we are the Order of Preachers. I felt called to offer the intellectual gifts the Lord had given me to the Church, and the Order has a rich intellectual heritage. And I knew I couldn't live the life of a priest alone, and so the communal life was a major draw to me.

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

That's hard to say. Hearing confessions and preaching are undoubtedly my favorite parts of ministry. The experience of witnessing the Lord's mercy and grace in the confessional is beyond words to describe; you would be amazed at how profoundly beautiful it is. And I have never felt more alive than I do when I am preaching; I can feel the Holy Spirit alive and well, using me for his work. It, too, is beyond words. I love the communal life; my closest friends are now my Dominican brothers, and they have been a source of great joys for me. And study has been a great blessing, too: I've realized at points that I now get to study all the time what I used to study in my free time: to spend time reading theology, learning about God, all the time. As for prayer: my brother has said before that coming to visit the Dominican friars is like going on retreat, and there is something right about that: my daily prayer life now is what retreats were like before. It's hard to describe how awesome it is to have a chapel in your house, to be able to go visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at basically any hour of the day, to live in his house!

 

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
I'm currently in full-time doctoral studies. These studies have been a blessing in themselves; perhaps the unexpected part is how much my studies have impacted my prayer life and my relationship with God, helping me to reconsider the real basics of the faith over and over again (you think you know something until you go study more, and then you realize you don't know anything at all!). I learned enough Greek to read some of the New Testament in Greek; that has been a really powerful experience, as I have long loved the Bible. Perhaps the most awesome and unexpected part of this time, though, is that because of the flexibility of my schedule I got to go visit our Dominicans in Puerto Rico and help them out after the earthquake last January. I got to preach up in the mountains and in villages and offer people the sacraments in the midst of really trying times. And they took such good care of me! It was a really beautiful few days of a very different type of ministry from that I usually do.

November 4 - Br. Jordan DeGuire, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

I met the Dominicans at our parish in Madison, WI, while I was in school. I was intrigued by the Order's associations with the rosary and with St. Thomas Aquinas, but what really attracted me was the witness of the community life and the joy that the friars had.

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

I find myself most fulfilled by the balance between all the different parts of our life. One of our mottoes is contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere, "to contemplate and to hand on to others the fruits of contemplation." I've always drawn energy from the dynamism, the back-and-forth of that way of life.

 

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
I am currently a student brother living at St. Dominic Priory and attending the Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, MO. An unexpected blessing of this time has been the opportunity to grow in friendship and fraternity with members of my community who are much different from me, whether by age, birthplace, interests, etc. We would never have met otherwise, yet here we are as brothers in Christ and in the Order.

November 5 - Fr. Patrick Hyde, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

The contemplative spirituality of study and the pursuit of Truth, lived in community and manifesting itself in concrete ministry, especially evangelization. I wanted to meet Jesus everyday in prayer and study as well as in the brothers then go out into the world and share it. 

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

The common life, especially communal prayer, is the greatest challenge and the greatest joy of my Dominican life. I love praying with the brothers and encountering the Word of God in community, but sometimes I am having a hard time loving myself or the brothers and just want to be left alone. However, by dying to self and showing up for prayer multiple times each day, the Lord shows me His face and, often through the brothers, forms me and calls me to be holier.

 

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
I entered the Order hoping to pursue the intellectual life. My dream was to teach at a seminary, to write articles and books, and, during the summer months and downtimes to give retreats and lectures. The charism of study and contemplation drew me to the Order and I thought God would use the gifts I have for study and teaching to serve Him and the Church in that way. Yet, so far, God has called me to serve the Church in college campus ministry. The gifts I knew I had and many I did not know I had have been used in ways I never dreamed possible when I entered the Order. More importantly, the happiness I only thought would be possible by doing what I felt was best pales in comparison to the joy I have in doing God's will by serving as a pastor of a college campus ministry and parish.

November 6 - Br. Dominick Jean, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

As a student at Indiana University, I was able to see the Dominican campus ministers live out their mission with such energy and joy. The Dominicans brought into my life a vibrant sense of God and His Church. Every day at the Newman Center, I saw Dominican friars who were united by their love for Jesus and for the People of God and who gave their whole heart to their prayer and ministry. It's a powerful witness and reminder about what each of us is called to do with our own Christian lives.

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

Our preaching mission. The Dominicans are the Order of Preachers for a reason and every time I have an opportunity to preach for the brothers or at a prayer service or event, I feel energized. The opportunity to preach the changing, awesome power of grace to people so in need of that message is a priceless treasure and one which I hold near and dear to my heart.

 

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
The opportunity to work with and minister to the poor in various capacities has been such a blessing to me. The poor are the real keepers of grace and when I'm listening to and minister to them at a soup kitchen, a food drive, or just talking to them on the street, I grow in gratitude for all God has bestowed upon me and I want to return that gift to him and in service to His People. 

November 7 - Fr. Don Goergen, O.P.

What drew you to the Dominicans?

Being able to teach. I like the emphasis on prayer and study, but especially on teaching and preaching. That there was an Order dedicated to these things was fascinating. I noticed that in 8th grade, although I did not join the Dominicans until later, and glad I did. I first started out as a diocesan priest.

 

What aspect of Dominican life do you find most fulfilling and why?

For me, probably the emphasis on ministry and on contemplation. These are both very fulfilling, the opportunity to teach at a graduate level, and to teach philosophy and theology, and also to have space for living a more contemplative life, with time for prayer, silence, solitude along with community life.

What has been an unexpected blessing in your current ministry/stage of formation?
That one is always, or at least often, called to something one did not expect, to say ‘yes’ to it, and to find it satisfying, realizing that God knows one’s gifts better than one knows them himself.

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