August 22, 2021: The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time - Pastor’s Corner
Saints Dominic & Francis: Spiritual Siblings
This week, we continue our St. Dominic’s Month celebrations by exploring our patron’s relationship with St. Francis. According to both Franciscan and Dominican sources, there are many legendary stories about the connection between St. Dominic and St. Francis. Perhaps the most historical encounter took place in Rome around the Great Lateran Council in 1215. Remember that, at the same time Dominic was preaching in France, Francis had sparked a religious revival in Assisi, Italy. Ten years St Dominic’s junior, but already given permission to establish a mendicant Order, St. Francis traveled to Rome for this Lateran Council, where St Dominic was endeavoring to receive official recognition for his new order of preachers. Because of their proximity at this time, there are stories of the two great reforms meeting each other and exchanging gifts. One story has Dominic giving Francis the traditional Franciscan cord; another has Francis giving Dominic a leather belt. Most accounts agree that Francis and Dominic agreed to support one another and that future generations of their successors would work together in the Lord’s vineyard.
Though there have been examples of “sibling rivalry” between Dominicans and Franciscans over the years, there are two unifying traditions that have come down to us today. The first tradition is the invitation for a member of the other Order to preach on the feast of their Founder. For example, there is a custom for a Dominican to preach in Franciscan churches on the feast of St Francis and vice versa.
Secondly, when the Orders came to the Americas to establish missions, it was the custom to erect a prominent statue of saint from the other Order. For example, if you visit any of the California missions established by the Franciscans, you will discover the image or statue of a Dominican saint somewhere inside. For our part, see if you can find the statue of St. Francis which adorns our very own St Dominic’s! (Hint: Look left of St. Dominic as you depart!) Next week, we will explore St. Dominic’s final days and his legacy.