Dominican Young Adults
National group has biennial meeting in Chicago
“I am Under Obligation, That is Why I am Eager to Preach the Gospel” (Rom 1:14-15) was the theme of the Dominican Young Adults (DYA), USA gathering in July. The meeting was held at the Cenacle Retreat Center, and consisted of 17 members of DYA and four other members of the Dominican Family. During the weekend, we set goals, planned events for the upcoming year, shared our love of the Dominican charism, prayed together and just enjoyed each other’s company.
The gathering began with the commitment ceremony. Everyone present was invited to either commit for the first time or re-commit to DYA for one year. This gathering of young adults, representing chapters throughout the United States, was a chance for the group to discuss successes from the past two years and make suggestions for meeting the challenges associated with such a young organization.
Originally, the DYA chapters were based around the colleges and universities, but many members have now graduated. How can we keep those members, still attract the young adults who are attending colleges/universities and yet attract other young adults from parishes and other venues? We also want to develop better formation materials for new members and chapters, as well as raise awareness of DYA to other places where the Dominican Family is present. Lastly, it is our goal to have national projects that would involve the simultaneous participation of all of our chapters (on their local level), promoting solidarity and unity in the organization.
One proposal that was discussed was the restructuring of the DYA board. In true Dominican fashion, we prayed, discussed, and debated the tenets of the proposal then voted on the new structure. The new structure now consists of four young adults mentored by four members from the other entities that make up the Order (friars, sisters, associates, laity, etc.)
The newly elected leadership is comprised of the National Coordinator, Andrew Vivian, graduate of Saint Louis University; the Communications chair Sean Mundy, graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas College; the Mission/Outreach chair, Allie Jeffs, graduate of Purdue University, and the Membership/Formation chair, Kevin Sullivan, graduate of Edgewood College.
During the weekend, several Dominicans offered valuable input and material that supported our work. Maureen McDonnell, OP (Sinsinawa) began the weekend by deepening the group’s awareness of the mission of the Order and the intricacies of service. “Sr. Maureen spoke to us about the importance of the love of God and the love of neighbor and being able to keep both of those in balance,” Louise Phelps (Wisconsin) explained. “They are owning the charism of preaching as a baptismal responsibility, as well as a lasting legacy of their Dominican education,” said Sister Maureen. Mary McNulty, OP (Sinsinawa) highlighted the components of Dominican spirituality.
Lori Kirschman, OP (Springfield) presented concrete ways to help them plan prayer services. “We worked to make our own prayers and litanies, it was just an amazing experience” exclaimed Liz Alarcon (New York). “The Dominican Young Adults were so eager to learn more about Dominican spirituality and the fact that they spent an entire weekend doing that is amazing. They are truly a gift to the Dominican Family” said Sister Lori.
The topic “Integrating the Gospel in Contemporary Times” was presented by Jessica Howell (Catholic Relief Services). “I’m energized knowing that these young adults will continue the work for peace and justice in their communities” said Howell. Mission/Outreach chair Allie Jeffs (Indiana) said that Jessica was “very impressive and opened our eyes to all the social justice ministries around the country and the world and I am excited to be a part of that.”
Nathan Mihelich concluded the presentations by speaking on “Preaching Through Technology” allowing us to see technology as a modern day mountaintop, utilizing blogging, webcamming, texting, phone applications, mobile websites, YouTube, and video streaming to preach the good news. Communication chair, Sean Mundy (New York) said “we can use technology for outreach, to inform members, to pray together, and be connected across the nation.”
Overall, the weekend offered a valuable time to re-evaluate the present workings of DYA, revitalize the passion of the four pillars and the Dominican charism, and plant new and interesting seeds of thought that will help DYA grow and blossom in its mission to build the Kingdom of God. National Coordinator Andrew Vivian (Wisconsin) summed up the experience by saying: “The members showed commitment and dedication by coming back in 2010 to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and, in moving forward, have renewed hope for the future of DYA.”
For more information, visit www.dya-usa.org, be sure to “like” the Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/dyausa and join the group at
www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=17306734296. Also, follow our blog at
www.dyausa.wordpress.com. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to e-mail AJ Vivian, the DYA National Coordinator at email@example.com.
Young Dominican Mission Team
By Sister Gina Fleming, Amityville
Oh to dream… When some of the Dominican Young Adults came to me and said, “Sister Gina, we want to take our show on the road. We want to tell other young people about our Dominican experience,” I was taken back. I remember thinking to myself, how would we ever make that happen? Well, I am a firm believer that if it is of God, anything is possible!
So, during the first week of August, six young adults, all members of DYA USA, and I came together at the Mercyhaven Center in Brentwood to begin training for what we are calling “Young Dominican Mission Teams.” With the help of some wonderful women from the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, once again these young people were immersed in the foundations of Dominican life.
Diane Capuano, OP opened the week by asking the team to contemplate, “Who is this man Dominic to me and why am I so attracted to his message?” Later that afternoon, Diane Morgan, OP addressed the topic of Dominican mission focusing the team on the fact that, “You will be undertaking a ministry which is a part of the mission of the Order, but more importantly a ministry that is part of the Church’s mission, the mission of Jesus.” The next day, Pat Duffy, OP came to speak about Dominican Spirituality. As preachers, she said, they need to “contemplate the Word, and let it soak into their very being. Then get out of the way and let God do the rest.” Finally, Suzanne Richards (Amityville Associate) came to give the Team some tips on public speaking and group dynamics. This workshop allowed the preachers to really get a sense of their strengths, which they can build on, and weaknesses, which they can work on.
Our thanks go out to all who came to be with these young people and assist them in their new venture. The team had the opportunity to visit the Amityville motherhouse, where they introduced themselves to the retired sisters and spend some time telling them about their new ministry. Thirty-five sisters came to meet them and hear about this new program, as they shared stories of their own years of ministry.
With the financial support of the women’s congregations, these Mission Teams are prepared to go out to places across the country to provide a half-day Dominican Experience. Their target audiences will of course be young adults, but these experiences will be open to everyone, including high school students, associates, and vowed Dominicans in the area.
These young adults have a message to bring to their audiences. They are on fire with the Dominican charism and want to spread that fire to others. Through the use of scripture, personal witness talks, music, and drama, they have worked hard to create a program that will hopefully bring their message across. They don’t claim to be scripture scholars, or know everything there is to know about Dominican spirituality, but they have caught something and are compelled to let others know about it!
If you would like to schedule a presentation in your area, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
The articles can be read here: http://www.domlife.org/2010Stories/dya_2010.htmjgkjkl