Dominican students from the communities of Hong Kong and Macau gathered together at Saint Dominic’s Priory in Macau to attend a one week course on “Dominican Preaching.” The interesting and enlightening mini-course was given by a Korean Dominican priest, Fr. John Kim Sang Tae on February 22 – 27, 2015. Fr. Kim is at present the Regent of Studies of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Based on the book “De Eruditione Preadicatorum” by Humbert of Romans, who was the fifth Master of the Order, Fr. Kim shared his knowledge of preaching the Word of God in today’s world. Taking advantage of the holidays in celebration of the Lunar New Year, about twenty simply professed students participated in the course.
The speaker started the course on preaching by explaining the definition of preaching as a mode of communication comprising multiple ministries. He distinguishes five kinds of preaching, namely: Evangelical preaching designed for non-believers; Catechetical preaching aimed at catechumens; Didactical preaching directed to those who are already Christians; Liturgical preaching focused on the homily during the Mass or assembly of worship; and Witnessing of life preaching by living a good Christian life.
Based on classical work “De Eruditione Preadicatorum” of Humbert of Romans, Fr. Kim dealt with the following six major questions for the preachers: why preach, what to preach, how to preach, what effects from preaching, what preachers should consider concerning the listeners, and who are the preachers.
Indeed, preachers are the instruments of God for the salvation of humanity and for spreading the kingdom of God throughout the world. In a profound sense, a preacher is a true prophet who brings God’s message to the people. In doing so, prayer and contemplation are urgently necessary. Above all, a preacher is a witness in the Church. He has to live what he preaches as Jesus told the apostles: “You are my witnesses” (Acts 1:8; Luke 24:48). Being a member of the Order of Preachers, a Dominican preacher like his Father Dominic is an itinerant preacher: “St. Dominic discovered his mission ‘on the road’, and sent his brothers to preach ‘on the road’.” However, Fr. Kim reminded us not to have a wrong motivation for travelling for worldly affairs in order to escape the community life, which is one of the Dominican four pillars.
Throughout the course, the young students were urged to study well the Sacred Scriptures and the teachings of the Church. Humbert of Romans writes: “The two Testaments are like rocks for preachers.” Likewise, another major important element is prayer. In this context, the Fundamental Constitution of the Order states: “Preaching and teaching should issue from contemplation.” The motto of the Order coined by St. Thomas Aquinas says it well: “Contemplata Aliis Tradere.” In the end, Humbert says, a preacher is a messenger who receives a message from God and delivers it to the people.
Let me close with a few data on our speaker. Fr. John Kim Sang Tae is the second ordained priest from South Korea of the Dominican Province of Our Lady of the Rosary. He made his first profession on the 4th of February 2001, and finished his bachelor’s degree in Theology at the Catholic Seminary in Seoul, Korea. He received his Licentiate and Master of Arts in Religious Life from the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia (ICLA), Quezon City, Metro Manila. (The institute is affiliated to the Dominican University of Santo Tomas in Manila) Fr. Kim received his Doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical University of Santo Tomás (Angelicum), Rome. At present, he is assigned at the Dominican community in Ansan, South Korea, and is the Director of the Confraternity of the Rosary.
Bro. Paul Win Aung Myint, OP
St. Dominic’s Priory, Macau