Duncan MacLaren Congrés

Congress on Mission. A report by Duncan MacLaren

 

I was asked to attend the Congress on Mission and to contribute by reflecting on what I had heard as a Lay Dominican at the Congress on the last day. This is what I said:-

“My friend and mentor, Timothy Radcliffe, once wrote “To be a Dominican is to find that you belong with us. You are at home”. Wherever I have travelled in the world and met with Dominicans, whether lay men and women, sisters, nuns or friars, I have felt at home and the same has happened here in the Angelicum. That feeling of belonging is composed of several elements.

One, the warmth of the welcome. When I was introduced to her for the first time, Sr Anne from Trinidad gave me an embrace and a kiss. The warmth has been repeated by meeting old friends and many new ones. We recognise in that human encounter within the ambit of St Dominic’s family not just a feeling of friendship but the knowledge that we have all embarked on a mission to preach the Good News, whether by word, gesture or the way we treat one another. I have heard that must be repeated to the Other as part of the preaching.

A second element is the laughter. My experience is that Dominican gatherings don’t stay solemn for long. That laughter expresses our joy at being together and being alive but it is, for us, also, a sign of God’s presence in the world. Pope Francis took this theme up when, talking to seminarians and novices in Rome, he told them that, if they were sad in their vocation, then arrivederci – goodbye. You have no place as a servant of the Church because “there is no sadness in holiness”. We were all touched by the work of Sr Luma and her co-workers in Iraq who have brought laughter into the lives of children who have known little else but war, fear and sadness and we should remember that in our less challenging missions too.

Third, if I am honest and ask ‘what have I heard from Lay Dominicans at this Congress’, I would say I have heard a great deal for Lay Dominicans to act upon but not actually heard much from them. They, along with the young people from the Dominican Youth Movement and our lay contemplatives in the Secular Institutes, have been absent from the panels and contributions yet what stories they have to tell, what preaching in the marketplace they undertake and what contributions they can give as members of the Dominican Family! We perhaps need reminded of the words of Brother Damien Byrne, the Master before Brothers Timothy, Carlos and Bruno who wrote in 1990 in his letter “In Mission Together” that “we no longer see ourselves as first, second or third Order. We are Dominicans”.[1] How we emphasise that is for the plan of mission following the Congress.

Fourth, in terms of themes, I have heard a strong message about those sacred conversations around inter-religious dialogue, especially with Muslims while recognising how that can be difficult in the context of murderous groups such as Boko Haram and Da’esh. However, we Europeans especially, must remember how we treated the Muslims as infidels and happily killed them during the Crusades; we must “put on truth” about decolonisation by the British, Portuguese, French and Spanish. This has led often to dehumanising poverty, the continuation of dependency on the former colonial powers to their benefit, the creation by the colonisers of states from peoples of differing ethnic groups, religions and cultures which have resulted in terrible wars and the continued crucifixion of the Palestinian people ; we must refresh our memory of the recent illegal war in Iraq, the débacle in Libya, the dithering over Syria, all of which has cost millions of lives and the ruination of these countries.

The answer to the questions yesterday from two young Dominicans, one brother and one layman, about how they could help in the contexts of such suffering lies not so much in volunteering, in my view, but by speaking truth to power – their governments, the UN and civil society bodies – and being advocates of truth about migrants, war and discrimination. Our Dominican presence on the ground where the suffering is gives us credibility as advocates for change. In terms of ‘truth’, the Oxford Dictionary has included the phrase ‘post-truth’ from the Brexit and Trump campaigns in the latest version. Had Aquinas been here, he would have choked over his partridge. There is no such thing as ‘post-truth’. What came out most clearly in the campaigns I mentioned was lies – that is, the opposite of truth. I have heard at this Congress a desire to be more active in preaching on justice and peace issues and using the language of truth, not deceit”.

Thinking afterwards about the richness of the Congress where liturgy, discussion on relevant themes and art – song, theatre and dance – were intertwined, it still seemed strongly to me that the lay voice in the Order has to be strengthened so that the Mission we were discussing has a conduit into workplaces, pubs, politics and the marketplace in general. This website will help.

If you wish to respond, please contact me, Duncan MacLaren, on  dmdonncha085@gmail.com.

Duncan MacLaren
Glasgow Lay Dominicans, Scotland


[1] Fernandez, A., de Couesnongle, V., Byrne, D. & Radcliffe, T. To Praise, to Bless to Preach: Words of Grace and Truth (Dublin:  Dominican Publications 2004) 248.

Congress on Mission. A report by Duncan MacLarenhttp://www.fraternitiesop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/duncan-maclaren.jpghttp://www.fraternitiesop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/duncan-maclaren-150x150.jpgEdoardo MatteiChronicleEnglishSlider,,
  I was asked to attend the Congress on Mission and to contribute by reflecting on what I had heard as a Lay Dominican at the Congress on the last day. This is what I said:- “My friend and mentor, Timothy Radcliffe, once wrote “To be a Dominican is to find...
  I was asked to attend the Congress on Mission and to contribute by reflecting on what I had heard as a Lay Dominican at the Congress on the last day. This is what I said:- “My friend and mentor, Timothy Radcliffe, once wrote “To be a Dominican is to find that you belong with us. You are at home”. Wherever I have travelled in the world and met with Dominicans, whether lay men and women, sisters, nuns or friars, I have felt at home and the same has happened here in the Angelicum. That feeling of belonging is composed of several elements. One, the warmth of the welcome. When I was introduced to her for the first time, Sr Anne from Trinidad gave me an embrace and a kiss. The warmth has been repeated by meeting old friends and many new ones. We recognise in that human encounter within the ambit of St Dominic’s family not just a feeling of friendship but the knowledge that we have all embarked on a mission to preach the Good News, whether by word, gesture or the way we treat one another. I have heard that must be repeated to the Other as part of the preaching. A second element is the laughter. My experience is that Dominican gatherings don’t stay solemn for long. That laughter expresses our joy at being together and being alive but it is, for us, also, a sign of God’s presence in the world. Pope Francis took this theme up when, talking to seminarians and novices in Rome, he told them that, if they were sad in their vocation, then <em>arrivederci - goodbye</em>. You have no place as a servant of the Church because “there is no sadness in holiness”. We were all touched by the work of Sr Luma and her co-workers in Iraq who have brought laughter into the lives of children who have known little else but war, fear and sadness and we should remember that in our less challenging missions too. Third, if I am honest and ask ‘what have I heard from Lay Dominicans at this Congress’, I would say I have heard a great deal for Lay Dominicans to act upon but not actually heard much from them. They, along with the young people from the Dominican Youth Movement and our lay contemplatives in the Secular Institutes, have been absent from the panels and contributions yet what stories they have to tell, what preaching in the marketplace they undertake and what contributions they can give as members of the Dominican Family! We perhaps need reminded of the words of Brother Damien Byrne, the Master before Brothers Timothy, Carlos and Bruno who wrote in 1990 in his letter “In Mission Together” that “we no longer see ourselves as first, second or third Order. We are Dominicans”.<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1">[1]</a> How we emphasise that is for the plan of mission following the Congress. Fourth, in terms of themes, I have heard a strong message about those sacred conversations around inter-religious dialogue, especially with Muslims while recognising how that can be difficult in the context of murderous groups such as Boko Haram and Da’esh. However, we Europeans especially, must remember how we treated the Muslims as infidels and happily killed them during the Crusades; we must “put on truth” about decolonisation by the British, Portuguese, French and Spanish. This has led often to dehumanising poverty, the continuation of dependency on the former colonial powers to their benefit, the creation by the colonisers of states from peoples of differing ethnic groups, religions and cultures which have resulted in terrible wars and the continued crucifixion of the Palestinian people ; we must refresh our memory of the recent illegal war in Iraq, the débacle in Libya, the dithering over Syria, all of which has cost millions of lives and the ruination of these countries. The answer to the questions yesterday from two young Dominicans, one brother and one layman, about how they could help in the contexts of such suffering lies not so much in volunteering, in my view, but by speaking truth to power – their governments, the UN and civil society bodies – and being advocates of truth about migrants, war and discrimination. Our Dominican presence on the ground where the suffering is gives us credibility as advocates for change. In terms of ‘truth’, the Oxford Dictionary has included the phrase ‘post-truth’ from the Brexit and Trump campaigns in the latest version. Had Aquinas been here, he would have choked over his partridge. There is no such thing as ‘post-truth’. What came out most clearly in the campaigns I mentioned was lies – that is, the opposite of truth. I have heard at this Congress a desire to be more active in preaching on justice and peace issues and using the language of truth, not deceit”. Thinking afterwards about the richness of the Congress where liturgy, discussion on relevant themes and art – song, theatre and dance – were intertwined, it still seemed strongly to me that the lay voice in the Order has to be strengthened so that the Mission we were discussing has a conduit into workplaces, pubs, politics and the marketplace in general. This website will help. If you wish to respond, please contact me, Duncan MacLaren, on  <a href="mailto:dmdonncha085@gmail.com">dmdonncha085@gmail.com</a>. <strong>Duncan MacLaren </strong><strong>Glasgow Lay Dominicans, Scotland</strong> <hr /> <a href="#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1">[1]</a> Fernandez, A., de Couesnongle, V., Byrne, D. & Radcliffe, T. <em>To Praise, to Bless to Preach: Words of Grace and Truth</em> (Dublin:  Dominican Publications 2004) 248.

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One thought on “Congress on Mission. A report by Duncan MacLaren

  1. Duncan, I have once again read the above and felt that no one could have represented us better than you did on that final day. I must say that I came back to Australia feeling very positive that we the Dominican Laity have now been recognised more fully as a Branch. In October 2000 when our then Master Timothy Radcliffe called the First Dominican Family Gathering in Manila, Philippines, one of the local friars explained to the 150 Delegates from 58 different countries present, that the Family is like a chair. A chair with 4 legs is sturdy, and firm and our Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Dominicans represent one leg each, we need the collaboration and support of one another and therefore your statement about the lack of Lay representation on any of the panels was very much appreciated. I am very pleased to have met you and I thank you for your dedication.

    Public CommentUserDuncan, I have once again read the above and felt that no one could have represented us better than you did on that final day. I must say that I came back to Australia feeling very positive that we the Dominican Laity have now been recognised more fully as a Branch. In October 2000 when our then Master Timothy Radcliffe called the First Dominican Family Gathering in Manila, Philippines, one of the local friars explained to the 150 Delegates from 58 different countries present, that the Family is like a chair. A chair with 4 legs is sturdy, and firm and our Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Dominicans represent one leg each, we need the collaboration and support of one another and therefore your statement about the lack of Lay representation on any of the panels was very much appreciated. I am very pleased to have met you and I thank you for your dedication.

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