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Coming Events

High Schools Preaching Conference
12th annual conference is June 26–July 1

Paola Fernandez, a participant in the 2009 Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference, preaches at the September 2009 Welcome Liturgy at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Canada, California.

Students and adult mentors from more than 30 Dominican high schools throughout the country will gather at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan June 26–July 1 for the 12th annual Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference. The mission of the conference is to “empower high school students to discover and deepen the preacher within themselves through prayer, study, community, and interaction with the Dominican family.”

The first Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference was held at Queen of Peace High School in Burbank, Illinois, in June 1999. Thirty-nine students from 17 Dominican high schools participated. Women and men representing many Dominican congregations/provinces participated in the conference as planners, presenters, prayer leaders, and mentors for the student group.

The following summer (2000), the conference was moved to Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, to accommodate an increased number of participants (74). Dominican University remained the host site for the 2001-2003 conferences. In 2004, the conference moved to Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, where it continues today.

The theme of the conference has remained the same: each of us is called to preach the Gospel in our own unique way. During the six-day conference, Dominicans highlight the charism of preaching as it has been practiced from the earliest days of the Order of Preachers to the present. Participants meet many Dominicans who preach the Gospel in a variety of settings. Participants also have the opportunity to visit service sites where they can "put their preaching into action."

Each day begins and ends with a prayer/ritual prepared by the participants with the assistance of Dominican liturgists. At the closing Eucharistic celebration, school teams share ways that they can take the message of the conference back to their school communities.

For more information about the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference, click here.

In their own words…

Following is preaching done by Caroline Reuter, a student at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Holy Spirit opening Mass for the 2009 school year.

Let’s face it: The Holy Spirit is probably the most misunderstood member of the Trinity. Most of us have a pretty clear understanding of the Father and the Son, but what about that last one, the Holy Spirit? A dove? Tongues of fire? Sometimes we find ourselves ignoring the Holy Spirit simply because he is so difficult to figure out. However, once we do come to terms with the Holy Spirit, he can become a guiding force in our daily lives.

In a highly popular Dominican song, we ask the Lord to “light the fire in our weary souls.” The Holy Spirit is that fire within in, leading us in all we do. If we can open ourselves to the Spirit, he will set light to our faith. This spiritual awakening will take place because Jesus and the Holy Spirit never travel alone—when the Father sends the Son, he also sends the Holy Spirit. When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we become closer to Christ.

On this third day of school, you may be wondering how the Holy Spirit can contribute to the beginning of the year. Many of us are still nostalgic for the summer, nervous about new courses and teachers, and hesitant to reach out beyond familiar faces of friends. However, if we can open our lives to the Holy Spirit now, early on in the year, we will become blessed with his gifts, which can inspire and encourage us in our day-to-day lives.

How useful would it be to have the courage needed to introduce yourself to someone new, a classmate you may have never talked to? We may desire right judgment, to help us choose how to spend our time during the hustle and bustle of the school year. Wisdom can help us to see God wherever we are, whether in class or on the weekends. These gifts of the Holy Spirit, along with knowledge, reverence, understanding, and wonder and awe, can become useful on a daily basis. It is important to find out how the Holy Spirit reveals himself to you. By opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit and his gifts, the Spirit should become the fire in our souls that fuels us through the year.

It is fitting that we begin Spirit Week with a Mass devoted to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit “builds up, animates, and sanctifies the Church.” It’s almost as if the Holy Spirit is a leader of the pep rally for God and His people. The Spirit is a dynamic, ever-present being who wants to fill us with encouragement and inspiration, and bless us with his valuable gifts. By “fanning the flame” that is the Holy Spirit, our concerns and apprehension seem easier to handle. The Holy Spirit is with us all the time, and we can easily recognize his presence if we only take the time to look for him.