Lay persons are those members of the Church not ordained or consecrated to some form of religious life. Lumen Gentium (no. 31) defines the Laity as "all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church." We are the laity: whether single or married, with or without children, living with our families, in our own homes and communities, and in the secular world. We make up a large portion of the Holy Catholic Church, as opposed to the common notion that the Church is only made up of the clergy up to the Pope.
1.2. WHO ARE THE DOMINICANS?
The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans, is a mendicant religious order founded by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216 to combat heresy through preaching. Back then, it was seen as a revolutionary move since the authority to preach is exclusive to bishops. St. Dominic's community was first approved by the bishop of Toulouse in France, so that he and his first brothers may preach within that territory. The Order's foundation was confirmed by Pope Honorius III on December 22, 1216, allowing them to preach no longer just in Toulouse but all over the world.
Click here to read more about the History of the Dominicans.
1.3. WHO ARE LAY DOMINICANS?
Formerly known as the Third Order Secular, Third Order of St Dominic, Dominican Tertiaries, or Order of Penance,these are lay Catholics who have been incorporated into the Order of Preachers, undergoing continuous formation according to the Dominican way of life. Because they live in the secular world i.e. not in religious communities, they participate in the preaching mission of the Order in a very special way: first and foremost through their living example. Alongside the Rule, they are guided by the four Pillars of Dominican Life, namely: prayer, study, community, and apostolate.
1.4. WHAT ARE CHAPTERS / FRATERNITIES?
Lay Dominicans always belong to a particular fraternity or chapter. It can be considered as the smallest unit of the Dominican Laity. Chapters exist within a Dominican Province and are canonically erected by the Prior Provincial with the consent of the local Ordinary (Bishop or Archbishop). This happens when a Lay Dominican group/chapter-in-formation petitions for canonical erection and is able to satisfactorily comply with the requirements mandated by the Rule and the Directory (e.g. minimum of six perpetually professed members). The Fraternity is given special regard by the Rule since it is where Lay Dominicans observe, first and foremost, the spirit of community, which is one of the four pillars of Dominican Life.
The Young Thomasian Professionals is a chapter-in-formation begun in 2008 by Dr. Belén L.Tangco, OP.
1.5. WHO CAN JOIN THE YOUNG THOMASIAN PROFESSIONALS?
While there is no definite age limit, the YTP Lay Dominican Fraternity primarily caters to young professionals —both students and graduates— and even accepts non-Thomasians or non-UST students/graduates. The minimum age is eighteen (18).
For the list of qualifications and requirements, please click here.
1.6. ARE THERE LAY DOMINICANS IN MY AREA?
As a general rule, applicants are advised to join Lay Dominican Fraternities available in their area. We are currently working on an umbrella website for all Lay Dominican Fraternities in the Dominican Province of the Philippines, which will feature a complete directory of Lay Dominican Fraternities. Once it is completed and approved, you will be able to search for the Lay Dominican Fraternity nearest to you.
For now, we are pleased to assist you: please send your name, age, complete address and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will forward your inquiry to the president of the Provincial Council whose office can help who locate a legitimate Lay Dominican Fraternity in your area.
2. The Lay Dominican Vocation
2.1. can anyone be a lay dominican?
As long as a person possesses the qualifications and none of the disqualifications set by the Rule and the Directory and By-Laws of the Dominican Laity, he/she can be admitted to formation.
For the list of qualifications and requirements, click here.
2.2. HOw long is the formation?
The formation of Lay Dominicans is generally a lifelong process. It does not end at one's perpetual profession. However, the formation leading up to one's perpetual profession normally takes at least five to six (5-6) years.
For an overview of the formation stages, click here.
2.3. i want to be a lay dominican but am i worthy?
It is normal to feel unworthy, especially when you quite understand the weight and seriousness of this vocation. It is important to remember, however, that lay Dominicans do not become saints overnight. Even after years of formation, the road to sanctification may remain full of hardships and challenges. Lay Dominicans are a bunch of ordinary men and women, everyday sinners, who come together to sincerely seek Christian perfection through the Church, her teachings, her Sacraments, Dominican spirituality and formation, the intercession of Saints, and the four pillars of Dominican Life, namely: prayer, study, community, and apostolate.
In recognition of the fact that we, too, are sinners, Lay Dominicans seek recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) at least once a month. Even in daily prayer, we are called to acknowledge our faults, seek forgiveness for them, and to be ready to wholeheartedly forgive others who offend us. One does not become automatically holy by membership alone, which is why lay Dominicans undergo years of continuous formation.
2.4. what are the duties and benefits of being a lay dominican?
The qualities expected of the members of the Dominican Laity are not excessive; simply that they be practicing Catholics, devout, reasonable, prayerful, lovers of the liturgy, loyal to the Pope, conscious of the immense value of their vocation and resolve to persevere in it during their lifetime. Naturally, this requires profound commitment to the Gospel, high moral standards, humility, avoidance of worldliness, a spirit of self-sacrifice and zeal of the eternal and temporal welfare of the neighbor.
Among the main benefits of being a member of the Dominican Laity are the following: (1) to share in the prayers, penances, and good works of all the members of the three branches of the Dominican Family; (2) to grow in sanctification through a way of life highly recommended by the Church and proven effective by many men and women now counted among the saints and the blessed; (3) to experience the solidarity of one of the great universal families in the Church.
Source: Neira, E. (1989). Lay Dominicans' Manual. San Juan City: Life Today Publications.
2.5. what do lay dominicans do, i.e. apostolate?
The charism of Dominicans is preaching. St. Dominic founded this Order to preach against sin and heresy, not only through words but also through actions, that is to say, through their living example. The same is true for lay Dominicans: their primary way of preaching is their way of life.
Each Lay Dominican Fraternity has its own apostolate. There are fraternities who serve the sick and the poor, who do medical missions, or who teach catechisms for free. The YTP Lay Dominican Fraternity, for example, has its Social Media Apostolate where it aims to use the internet in bringing the Word of God and the teachings of the Church to people. It also visits orphans during Christmas, makes rosaries the whole year and distributes them for free during the Marian month of May, in order to promote the Holy Rosary.
2.6. does being a lay dominican lead to priesthood?
If you are referring to the formation lay Dominicans undergo, the answer is no. The nature of the Dominican Laity is implied by its name: a lay person is someone who is not consecrated to religious life or ordained to Holy Orders. However, it is always possible for a Lay Dominican to go to a seminary to become a priest, or to a convent to become a nun or sister.
2.7. can i leave the dominican laity later on?
Yes, but this is not done without serious discernment. The Dominican Laity is not just another organization or association. When a lay Dominican makes his or her perpetual profession, he or she promises to live by the Rule of Lay Dominicans for the rest of his or her life. He or she makes this promise in the name of God, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saints. Nevertheless, if for serious reasons a lay Dominican finds it necessary to leave the Order, he/she may do so with the indult from the proper authorities.
(Reference: Declaration VI: Temporary and Permanent Indult, General Declarations regarding the Rule of Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, issued by Fr. Carlos Azpiroz Costa, O.P., Master of the Order, on 15 November 2007)
3. Other Questions
3.1. ARE LAY DOMINICANS ALSO LAY MINISTERS IN CHURCH?
No. We are not Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion or Lay Ministers. They are parish-based, and their general function is to administer the Eucharist, in assistance to priests, whenever needed. On the other hand, we are Lay members of a religious order whose charism is preaching.
There are, however, Lay Dominicans who are also extraordinary ministers of holy communion (lay ministers).
3.2. is the dominican laity just another parish organization?
While most lay Dominican fraternities are parish-based, they are not generally the same with parish organizations. Lay Dominican Fraternities are part of the Order of Preachers and they are ultimately subject to the authority of the Master General of the Dominican Order and his representatives.
3.3. how is it different from other organizations?
Compared with the Lay Dominican vocation, membership in other organizations is less permanent. The Lay Dominican vocation is a lifelong commitment.
There is also a difference in objectives. While other organizations may have different goals, the Dominican Laity is aimed at the formation of better Christians, bringing them closer to God through the Dominican way of life. Aside from this, Lay Dominicans are full members of a religious order, i.e. the Order of Preachers, which is why professed members are entitled to the use of the post-nominal "O.P." just like friars, nuns, and sisters. Together with the other entities affiliated or attached with the Order, they form one Dominican Family.
Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican Group
Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomás
España Boulevard, Manila 1015 Philippines