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Lay Congress

International Congress of Lay Dominican Fraternities

Karen Woods, OPL (Holy Name)

Laity CongressBUENAS AIRES, ARGENTINA – April 9, 2007-- Gathered at El Cenaculo Retreat Center, from March 17-24, were the leadership of 55 provinces and vicariates out of 71 worldwide. Many paid dearly to get there, either in money or in time and struggle. This was, however, more than just a gathering of the Lay Dominican leadership. It was a reflection of the great Family to which we are blessed to belong. Because of the generosity of several Sisters’ congregations, as well as provinces of friars, and provinces and chapters of Lay Dominicans, the Congress was not only possible but, in the end, solvent.

Participating in the Congress from the Curia would be frs Carlos Azpiroz Costa, Master of the Order; Jerry Stookey, Promoter General of Dominican Laity; and David M. Kammler, successor to fr Jerry. From the Province of Argentina, fr Javier Maria Pose, Prior Provincial, would participate as well.

It was an awesome experience, a gathering of about 75 Dominicans with a deeply committed interest in discovering together what we are, what our place in the Order is, and how we might move forward into the future together. Meeting and talking with Lay Dominicans from so many different cultures and backgrounds just demonstrated to me how unifying our Rule is. We are all at different places in development of our Dominican life in the provinces and vicariates, but we all adhere to the same Rule. We basically talked the same Dominican language, although there were three national/regional languages prevalent there: French, Spanish, and English. We were at home with the same observances and definitions, and we sought unanimity in areas that were not so clear, especially our terminology which we sought to bring into clearer focus with what we are.

We looked together at what this vocation means and how we might be more faithful to it. We sought help from one another to accomplish a richer Dominican life. We prayed together in beautiful liturgies and enjoyed social time, the sharing of cultures, and the concerns that we brought with us. We enjoyed the warm hospitality of the people of Argentina and the assistance of friars and sisters who came to help out. Together we battled a circulating virus cold, many of us taking our turn in sick bay, and the mosquitoes who were bent on a campaign of swarm and conquer.

Conduct of the congress was very much like that of General Chapters, using the three official languages of the Order, English, Spanish, and French, as well as the protocols for discussion and voting in the plenary sessions. Delegates were able to participate and vote through simultaneous translation technology and electronic count. As in General Chapters, the delegates were assigned to commissions where they worked for two days to address, as far as they were able given the time constraints, the issues submitted by chapters throughout the world over the past year. This was a good beginning.

Contributions brought to Argentina a number of delegates who would not otherwise be able to attend and helped to defray the costs of overhead. Adding to the Family environment of the congress were the sisters and brothers who spent the week with us, assisting in any way needed, especially in the tedious work of immediate translation. We are very very grateful!

Organization and coordination was smooth and effective. It was an exciting, enriching, uplifting, and much blessed week spent in the company of our sisters and brothers from around the world





New General Promoter for the Laity Begins Service

Fr. David Kammler, OP is the new General Promoter for the Laity, appointed to replace fr. Jerry Stookey, OP.

Read an interview with fr. David here

Lay Congress

Visit the website of the recent International Congress for more photos and information.

Jerry Stookey
How is your preaching going?  Read Jerry Stookey's address to the Congress. (Word)

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