Becoming a Full-fledged Member of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic

Becoming a Full-fledged Member of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic

April 21, 2024 was Fourth Sunday of Easter also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. On this day,  Ms. Teresita S. Ganitoque OP, a member of Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic made her solemn profession in the hands of Ms. Leila M. Mortil OP, President of Lay Fraternity of Antorcha de Macau. The Friars of the Priory of St. Dominic delighted to host the celebration in their Chapel and welcomed Ate Teresita as a full-fledged member into the Dominican family.

Establishment Of The Dominican Lay Fraternity

Establishment Of The Dominican Lay Fraternity



As a Dominican, I would say that I am always instigated by the dream of St. Dominic’s mother before she had him; a dog jumped from her womb holding a torch and set everything around them on fire. This kind of vision is not only impressive but also awesome! Given the Order charism for zealous preaching of the Gospel, the story and the play on words seemed fitting!

 But I never had such an illusion to initiate a Confraternity of lay Dominicans anywhere, much less a head trip in Macau. And yet, we say that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, either. And I want to figure out that the God of surprise was in cahoots with our Father St. Dominic de Guzman’s wish in augmenting the members of the Order.

This is my simple story:

 A Dominican lay from Hong Kong, who was unfamiliar to me, approached me after the mass suggesting if we could start a lay Dominican group here in Macau. I was not only astounded but I could not give her a reply. On my way home, I thought: Is this not a God-given design? It was then that I started discerning about this matter, and truly I have thought This is not a joke. And so I proposed this matter to Fr. Jose Luis de Miguel, Prior of Macau to which he made some dubious comments since the participants are not residents of Macau and because of the unstable work they might be touch-and-go members.

I was working in the Pastoral Center for Migrant Filipino Workers and was in charge of their Christian Formation. And so, I thought of inviting young men and women regardless of their status to lay eyes on our Dominican style of life. The response was not spontaneous, given the fact that they didn’t know what I was up to. I did not give up the ship; rather I leave no stone without any compromise. And so, to my surprise, and maybe for curiosity’s sake, 15 members came, but 8 hung loose, and 7 persevered. As they went along in formation, they were all enticed by the way our Dominican life as a family lives. The Dominican Family is where we all feel at home. That means we do not have to justify being there but feel at ease. We feel accepted just the way we are, was their general comment.

The first batch after a period of three years decided to make their first commitment with the consent of Fr. Provincial, Fr. Javier Gonzalez, O.P. They are Ana Francia de Guzman, O.P., France de Guzman, O.P., Miriam Zingapan, O.P., and Selina Ebora, O.P.

 Thinking of how to name the group, I did not hesitate since the dream was prescient due to a play of words in Latin: although Father Dominic named it Order of Preachers, it would later come to be known as the Dominicans; in Latin, that Dominican, which is very similar to Domini Canis, or dog/hound of the Lord. Timely, Macau is drenched in materialism because of the presence of casinos all around. And so I have thought of a name suitable to what will become the mission of our Lay in Macau, to be faithful like our Father Dominic de Guzman in proclaiming the Gospel and guarding the faith and the truth from modern heresy; and to rouse people from today’s blind adherence to an ephemeral world; undoubtedly my brother priests agreed with me.

Indeed, this time was magnificent because the Lord’s preaching hounds unleashed a force meant to further fire up an already splendid 800-year-old service to the Catholic faith when the Order Our Lady of the Rosary Province celebrated a solemn mass in the Cathedral with the presence of the bishop, priests, religious, Lay Dominicans (from Hong Kong and Macau), the faithful, in this momentous event of the Order. That was a superb celebration!

Last April 29, the feast of our Sister Catherine of Siena, our Dominican Family was blessed by 4 Professed Lay Sisters who renewed their promise for a year, 4 Novices and 6 Postulants seeking a richer, deeper spiritual life while living in the world in personal and liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist, in the common study and in everyday life experiences. They discern ways, with the help of a Spiritual guide and community of believers, to deliver the Word according to their abilities and the urging of the Holy Spirit.  Although they are OFW workers, they are living a positive response to the Gospel message, sharing their faith to their families and even the family of their employers and friends, trying to combat the evil of the age by preaching the Truth of Christ. They are aware that Lay Dominican life is all about having a passion for the Word of God. It is about committing oneself to a community of like-minded brothers and sisters that immerse themselves in the Word of God. If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (St. John 8:31-32).

 Lastly, they are here with us now not only to enrich the Order, the Church, and the World around us through the richness of their vocation but to journey with us through the path that our Father Dominic had trudged.

We pray for these new members of our Order, the Lay Dominican- Torch of Macau, for their zeal and enthusiasm in illuminating at least this little corner of the world- Macau as faithful hounds of the Lord.

 Father Dominic, pray for your sons and daughters, pray!

 Sr. Maria Lourdes Blanca, O.P.

Missionary Dominican Sisters of the Rosary

Dominican Lay Fraternity “THE TORCH OF MACAU” Welcoming the New Members Making the First Promises.

Dominican Lay Fraternity “THE TORCH OF MACAU” Welcoming the New Members Making the First Promises.

The Dominican Family, composed of clerical and cooperator brothers, nuns, sister, members of secular institutes, and fraternities of priests and lay members, as defined by the Constitution of the Order, share a common vocation, each serving the mission of the Order in its own distinctive ways.

Here in Macau, there are Dominican Fathers and Sisters and for the last three years, there is a lay Fraternity of Saint Dominic, The torch of Macau. As for the fathers, some are dedicated to their permanent tasks as formators of the Dominican Students, their brothers; several of them are teaching at the University of Saint Joseph. Some are following superior studies at the University, and others are fully involved in different offices of the Province, etc. Aside from that, some of our fathers are doing their ministry at the service of the Diocese of Macau. The sisters do more or less the same, fully involved in their own apostolates.

 Our lay Confraternity, The Torch of Macau, founded in 2016, is presently composed of thirteen members, practically all of them from the Philippines.

As lay people and working, they have their different tasks to attend to, and different schedules to carry out. Therefore, it is not easy to have their activities and meetings as a group in formation needs to. However, as part of their formation, they meet together twice a month with their spiritual councilors Father Jose Luis de Miguel Fernandez and one of the sisters, to pray, to become more familiar with one another and with the Dominican saints and most prominent representatives of the Lay Dominicans in the history of the Order. And above all, to receive an initial formation on the spirit of the Dominican Family, and an initial formation regarding the Word of God. From time to time, other members of the community are invited to give a talk or a retreat to our Lay members of the Dominican Family.

On the occasion of welcoming the five aspirants to join the Confraternity as novices, and simultaneously, for the celebration of the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, OP(29 OF April), patroness of the Dominican Laity, we took advantage of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, to celebrate this Joyous event. At the same time, the other batch of four Novices made their first promises with the presence of the other four who professed two years ago.

It was indeed a blessed, meaningful day for them and a very fraternal and joyous day for us. As the members of the fraternity, the novices will come to experience together with the professed ones and if it is what they look and long for, they will be making their first promise in one year. However, for the ones who just made their first promise, they have decided and they are willingly dedicated themselves to live according to the profession of the evangelical way of life, adopted by the Order to their secular status and by this they are drawn together by a special gift of God in the apostolic spirit of Saint Dominic, to announce the Good News to this present World, and to seek their own salvation and that of others.

 We thank God for all the blessings that He has bestowed on our Sister; for being chosen to form a Lay Fraternity of Saint Dominic; for the gift of the Dominican vocation; for the loving-kindness and mercy which He has bestowed on them, to be His witnesses, and to bring His Good News to others by what they preach and by what they are. Dear Sisters, welcome to the Dominican Family!

Bro. Andre Pereira