Te Deum laudamus! We Have a Master of the Order!
Over the weekend, the friars gathered at the General Chapter of the Order of Preachers elected a new Master of the Order - Father Gerard Francisco Timoner, III, O.P. of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. Father Gerard is the 87th successor to Our Holy Father Dominic and is the first Asian to serve as Master of the Order. In his remarks following his election, he humbly stated his first inclination was to decline, but he was encouraged by former Master Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., and others, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit .
He went on to say:
The Catholic Church today, it seems, needs a Francis and a Dominic. There is a need for a new evangelization, and we are all called to do precisely that.
Saint Dominic formed an order of preachers. It is not what we do. It is who we are. Mission is not what we do. It is who we are. And if that is clear, everything will just follow. We are preachers even when we are not preaching. We are preachers even if in our old age, we can no longer speak. We are preachers even if we are not ordained. We are preachers even if we are sick. We are preachers even if we are doing serious research alone in our rooms. We are preachers when we are helping the less privileged. We are preachers. That is our identity.
Dominican government is shaped by the communion and universality of Dominican religious life. According to the mind of Our Holy Father Dominic, each member of the Dominican family is to have a participation in the life and government of the community and the Order. As a result, the government of the Order of Preachers is noted for an organic and balanced participation of all its members for pursuing the special end of the Order. But this participation is not strictly democratic - it is communitarian in a special way. We do not simply seek a majority in making decisions - we seek consensus and unanimity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
And so, every nine years, Dominicans from around the world gather for the General Chapter of the Dominican Order to settle important matters, including electing the new Master of the Order, who then serves the Order of Preachers as its head for the next nine years. May God bless and protect Father Gerard as he assumes his new role and may God continue to guide our Dominican brothers during the remainder of the General Chapter.
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