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West Springfield, MA 01089

The Vatican Council stated: "The Laity dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that even more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced."
The Dominican Laity are members of the Dominican Order of Preachers family of priests, nuns, brothers and sisters. As members of this family we earnestly seek to live a richer, deeper spiritual life, and draw closer to God while we remain in the world. The motto of the Dominican Order of Preachers is Veritas (truth); its purpose is to praise, to preach, to bless.
The Dominican Laity Mother of God Chapter, West Springfield, Massachusetts was established January 22, 1951, began to flourish in the early '70's, and is thriving in the '90's. It is one of several Chapters in the New England Region, United States Eastern Province of St. Joseph.
We, as Dominican Laity have chosen or are called by some special grace of the Holy Spirit to serve in the Dominican Order of Preachers. We wish to walk with Christ, follow His example, and proclaim the good news based on the charisms of St. Catherine of Siena, patron saint of the Dominican Laity, and St. Dominic, founder of the Order. We strive to live a life of humility and charity, graced with the gift of joy. The Dominican Laity is not an avocation, club, fraternity or charitable organization, it is a vocation to the Dominican Order of Preachers.
Guided by a Rule, we live out our vocation by following the Rule which assists us in a life of prayer, study, apostolate, and community. We are called to bring God's truth, peace, and justice by word and example; to revitalize faith, family values, address social and moral issues. Today, just as in previous ages, we strive to work as a community with a spirit of humility and charity to bring Christ' message of faith, hope, and love into our everyday environments. The prayers and the difficulties which we experience each day are offered for the salvation of souls, good of the Order and entire Christian community. The Dominican Laity share in the merits, prayers, penances, and good works of all members of the Dominican family.
Chapter meetings are held on the second Sunday of the month at the Dominican Nuns Mother of God Monastery, 1430 Riverdale Street, West Springfield, Massachusetts. Meetings begin in the Adoration Chapel with praying the rosary before the Blessed Sacrament at 12:25 p.m. We chant the Liturgy of the Hours prior to the Eucharistic Liturgy (which includes a homily by our Spiritual Director) followed by formation classes, social time, refreshments, and a short general business meeting which complete our Chapter meeting day. The day is spent living in community with one another which nourishes us individually and collectively to fulfill our vocation as Dominican Laity.
Mary, Mother of the Church, and our spiritual Mother, is our model of faith and obedience. "In a singular way Mary cooperated with God's divine plan of SALVATION HISTORY by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace" (Lumen Gentium 58). "The Dominican Soul is a Marian soul--St. Dominic left as his legacy to the Church, the Rosary wherein his religious family might find the proper form for its devotion to Mary. The more a soul is devoted to Mary, the more Dominican it is" (Philipon 10).
Our Provincial Promoter, Fr. Joseph P. Allen, O.P., assisted by the Laity Provincial Formation Committee designs the instructional module which is adapted and implemented by the Chapter Formation Team. These instructions focus on developing a habit of praying the Liturgy of the Hours, studing the Bible, the life of St. Dominic, lives of Dominican Saints, and priorities of the Order.
The Dominican Laity formation program consists of three stages as follows (Directory, Rule #11, p.9):
The Inquiry Period (Postulancy) Six Sessions; The Admission Period (Novitiate) Ten Sessions; On-Going Formation (Profession and beyond).
Formation classes are taught by a team teaching method. The Introductory Team provide visitors with an understanding of what the Dominican Laity is all about. If a candidate wishes to continue, he/she may enter the Postulancy period which is approximately a year. The instructors for the postulant class help guide the potential candidates with an overview of St. Dominic's life and Dominican spirituality to help them discern if this particular path is for them. If at the end of the postulancy period a candidate wishes to continue, he/she is formally received into the Dominican Laity. The candidate now enters the next stage of formation known as the novitiate or novice program. This class concentrates on the Dominican Rule and Dominican spirituality. At the end of a year or year and one half, the candidate makes a temporary profession and enters a three year period of formation. After three years, candidates make final profession to live the charism of the Order and follow the Dominican rule for life. Currently, the new Catechism, as promulgated by the Holy See, is the focus of our on-going formation program and will continue for three years. The Chapter community life formation program, and various spiritually oriented events, serve as a solid foundation in the candidates individual personal and family life.
In response to the challenge presented to all Dominican Laity at Congress '92, our Chapter is effectively responding to the following four apostolic priorities of the Order:
-Catechesis in a dechristianized world
-Evangelization in Diverse Cultures
-Justice and peace
-Communication through the mass media

All Chapter members are encouraged to engage in group and individual apostolates in their parishes, community, diocese, nationally and internationally. Members are encouraged to participate in chapter community life and local parishes, to serve as Eucharistic ministers, choir members, altar servers, lectors, catechists, promulgators/promoters of the rosary and Marian devotions. There are
Apostolates of visiting shut-ins, promulgating the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, telephone intercessory prayer line, Chapter communication outreach to inactive members, monthly newsletter, andraising funds for the greater Dominican Family/missions, as well as for many charitable needs of the local, regional, national and international community. A major source for raising funds is the annual Holiday Crafts and Tag Sale.
The Russian Apostolate is more recent. Members are working to establish spiritual unity and educational dialogue with our brethren in Russia (the former USSR) with the hope of assisting them in their needs, and exchanging visits in the future. The establishment of The Dominican Family G.E.M. (Global Electronic Magazine) via computer communication networks is the results of efforts to communicate not only with our brethren in Russia but all over the world. The Russian Apostolate also includes researching the history of the Church and Order in Russia (from early 1900 to present).
All apostolates are carried out in conjunction and consultation with Chapter Council, Regional, Provincial Council. Plans are adapted, modified based on input from Provincial Promoter and Councils.
All members are encouraged to attend a Chapter sponsored annual retreat of at least three days. If a member cannot attend a Chapter sponsored retreat, he/she is encouraged to make a retreat independently. Also recommended are days of prayer and recollection. Joint retreats and days of recollection with other chapters are encouraged.