Who are the Priestly Fraternities
The Priestly Fraternities of St Dominic consist of diocesan priests who are formally affiliated with the Order of Preachers. They share in the grace and mission of the Dominican Order, but remain under the jurisdiction of their bishop and are free for the complete service of the local Church.
History of the Priestly Fraternities
In the history of the Order, diocesan priests who belonged to the Order comprised, along with lay members of the Order, the Third Order of Dominicans, and were known as Dominican Tertiaries. Prominent Dominican Tertiaries included Pope Benedict XV and Pope Pius XII. At the General Chapter of 1968, the designations of first, second, and third Orders ceased to be used to refer to the different branches of the Order, and the Lay Fraternities and Priestly Fraternities came to develop their own, separate Rules.
Why join the Priestly Fraternities
Priests who seek membership of the Priestly Fraternities invariably are seeking a deepening of their priestly consecration. They are inspired by the example of St Dominic and the mission of the Order he founded. Members of the Priestly Fraternities are encouraged to model their priesthood on that of St Dominic, and to imitate him in his prayer, his study of the Sacred Scriptures, and his zeal for preaching. Their manner of living the priesthood is shaped by the Rule for the Priestly Fraternities.
Involvement with the Dominican Order
Members receive all of the spiritual aids of the Order. They are encouraged to develop a devotion to St Dominic, St Catherine of Siena – the Patroness of the Priestly Fraternities – and to all the saints and blesseds of the Order. They receive the faculty to use the Dominican Calendar, so that they may have a fuller share in the graces and merits of the order. Members are encouraged where possible to visit their local Dominican community regularly.
How to join
The process of joining the Priestly Fraternities begins by contacting the local promoter of the Priestly Fraternities. If admitted, the priest is received into the Order by a special rite of vestition. The priest then enters a preparatory period of 1-2 years, during which time he deepens his knowledge and understanding of the spirit of the Order. The priest is then able to apply to make his profession, in which he makes a solemn promise to live according to the Rule of the Priestly Fraternities of St Dominic until death.
For more information, contact the Promoter of Confraternities for the Province of the Assumption, Fr James Baxter OP.