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February 3, 2019: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner

“Welcome Back!” After three weeks of work at our Provincial Chapter, it is wonderful to be back at St. Dominic’s.  Before I departed, I wrote a letter to the parish detailing the nature and processes of a Provincial Chapter.  Folks (including some of my own Dominican brothers) let me know that they appreciated knowing the “behind the scenes” perspective and encouraged me to follow up when I returned.  Fresh from the experience, I want to give a brief report.

In in terms of announcements, there are new assignments which impact both the overall Western Province and others which specifically relate to the life of the St. Dominic’s priory and parish.  First, we elected a new Prior Provincial, who is leader of the entire Province.  As I mentioned in my previous letter, there are term limits to the position. Since he had led for two consecutive 4-year terms, Fr Mark Padrez stepped down as Prior Provincial.  After prayer, discussion and secret ballot, we elected Fr. Christopher Fadok, who had been Fr. Mark’s Socius, the second in command.    Once Fr. Christopher was elected, we rang the Priory bell in our St. Albert’s cloister garden and then gathered in the chapel to sing the Te Deum. Afterwards, we gathered in the cloister to take a photo of all the members of chapter with Fr. Christopher in his black cappa. Then we had a festive dinner and community recreation!

As for the assignments, which directly apply to St Dominic’s, I am happy to announce that I will be remaining as Pastor.  Fr. Mark appointed me Pastor in July 2013 and Fr. Christopher let me know that I will be St. Dominic’s Pastor for the foreseeable future. Deo Gratias! Also, Fr Anthony was reappointed at Novice Master for the next four years.  He and the nine novices departed this week for a month-long tour of our Dominican Priories, houses and Parishes in the Southwest. The tour can a wonderful experience and a guide for discernment, so do keep them in your prayers.

The Chapter does bring changes to our Priory.  Fr. Justin Gabel was elected as the Regent of Studies, a key position which oversees all the study and curriculum for the friar’s formation. In fact, the Regent is such a critical position in Dominican life that it is the only election (along with Prior Provincial) that must be approved by the Master of the Order in Rome.  While we are excited for Fr. Justin, his new responsibilities make him unable to continue as St. Dominic’s Prior.  He will resign, move to St. Albert’s in Oakland, and our priory will hold an election in the coming weeks. Keep us in prayers.

Finally, we have a new director of the St. Jude Shrine.  Our former director, Fr. Dismas Sayre will be moving to Holy Family House in Anchorage Alaska, where Fr. Steve Maekawa is Pastor.  We thank Fr. Dismas for his care of the Shrine and wish him well (and warmth) as he departs to the tundra! In his place, Fr. Vincent Kelber will be the new director.  Fr. Vincent has been the pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Portland Oregon and will be arriving before Lent to take up his new position. Overall, the spirit and planning of our Provincial Chapter was a great success. There was a fantastic energy for encouraging each other in living our Dominican community life and supporting our preaching for the salvation of souls. Make the good work of the Chapter bring forth many blessings in these next four years!

~Fr. Michael


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