BUILDING UP A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
History of Dominican Laity Building Fund - Saint Dominic's Hall
Dominican Laity Russian Apostolate
Regional Retreat - Saint Stephen's Priory, Dover, Massachusetts U.S.A.
The following is a brief summary/review of the development of the Building Fund since it was established 1983.
I have been on and off the Council since I made Temporary Profession in 1982. (It was legal then for Temporary Professed members to be on the Council.) So I know that this fund has been in existence since 1983. Norma Moreau was Prioress. Norma used to receive money for the purpose of building a "Dominican Laity Community House". She would invest the money in "Money Certificates".. Please read the excerpts from previous Newsletters dating back to 1983. Presently, Fr. Joseph P. Allen, O.P., our Provincial Promoter has a special bank account with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Trust - U.S. Government Money Market Trust" with a total Market Value (dated 3/31/99) of $6,577.20.
September 24-26, 1982 Retreat at Dominican Retreat House in Schenectady, NY
On the last day of the retreat Joan Bergeron came to me and said there was going to be a
meeting in one of the conference rooms and Norma would like all the Council members to be present. This was the first time the need for a Dominican Laity Community House was
Congress '83 - Buffalo, NY (August 4-8, 1983)
The Congress was well attended by Dominican Laity, Friars, and Third Order Sisters. Those of
us from the "Mother of God Chapter, W. Springfield, Massachusetts" started spreading the word there that we were planning to build a "Community House for the Dominican Laity". For many, this idea/plan was welcomed and seemed like a long awaited dream that was coming true. One woman wanted to sell her house and move to W. Springfield to help raise funds for this purpose.
February 1983 "A brief, but very important announcement, was made at our last meeting regarding the
possible construction of our own Dominican Laity Community House. Our Nuns have
graciously donated the land at the foot of the hill, but we do need the approval of our Bishop to go ahead and see if funds can be raised. The Chancery is working on the paper work now, and will submit some type of proposal to our Bishop within the next few weeks. It's an awesome project to say the least, and the Council members, Planning Committee members, and our Nuns beg you all to pray constantly regarding this proposal. It is going to need tremendous "team" effort, and I have every confidence from you past tract record, that we're going to make it! It's foolish for me to go on and on until we receive word from the Bishop. PRAY, PRAY, AND PRAISE GOD!" Norma Moreau
May 1983 "In closing I do want to tell you that as to date we have not heard from the Bishop. Keep on
praying about our new Dominican Laity Community House. It thrilled me recently to receive a beautiful letter from a Franciscan in Florida stating that he was overjoyed with the decision of our Nuns to allow us the land at the foot of the hill -- where we would be a visible sign to the passers by. He, too, is convinced that this is the time of the Laity. His closing paragraph was "As Father Francis might have said to Father Dominic, "Let us begin for we have not even scratched the surface of our calling." Amen! Their chapter in ?aitland, FL generously sent a $20.00 donation toward our new home; I'm sure ever confident that we will sooner or later get the approval to build. Have you continued your prayers for this intention?" - Norma Moreau
September 1983 "DOMINICAN LAITY COMMUNITY HOUSE: Keep this intention continually in your
prayers. To date, we have still just been given permission to verbally solicit funds. There was a meeting this week with Chancery Officials but we have no definite information yet. We're all convinced of the importance of this project and we continue to look to our Lord that His will may be done."
February 1984 "As you know, the chancery officials have not as yet given us permission to solicit funds
for our new home....I believe our Lord and our Blessed Mother purposely have not permitted them to do so, because the time has not yet been right... but, none the less. They have been working...just look at our retreat rooms and the large storage area made available to us at the garage! We are very grateful to those who have chosen to send us funds for our special account, believing that this home will also come to fruition. Recently we received a most generous donation of $2,000 from Jeanne and Dick Bail...also $100 from an anonymous donor...$585 in memory of James Ryan, Rosemary Garvey's brother-in-law....and also funds are coming in in memory of your friends and loved ones...remember we have cards for you to bring to the funeral parlor, and daily we pray for these intentions....see Lucille's letter. In all we have approximately $3,500 in our kitty which we will certainly need to get us started. Thanks to all who have helped in this area." Norma Moreau
March 1984 "Please continue to pray for our Dominican Laity Community House...that we may discern God's Will. To date, without asking, we have over $4,000 in our special account. We feel confident our Lord and "Mama" are preparing us to do Their work. We thank all those anonymous givers, and those who are using our special cards. God loves a generous heart, and blesses a hundredfold. How many of you have told me how the more you give the more you continue to receive! I could personally write a book just in this area!" Norma Moreau
April 1984 "Our humble building account continues to increase, thanks to the generosity of many of our Dominicans. Recently we received $320 in memory of Rose Brighenty's beloved brother, Pasquale Carabetta. His name, along with the others received for our cards, has been placed in a register which is kept on the altar at all our monthly Masses. We remind you to pray for these individuals each morning with your morning prayers, believe in the power of united prayer! We thank all of you who have been encouraging the use of our cards." Norma Moreau
These are but a few excerpts providing a brief history of the establishment of our "Dominican Laity Building Fund". Hence, I can't in conscience let the Building Fund be undermined or discontinued or swept under the table. People donated/contributed money in good faith believing that a "Dominican Laity Community House" will be constructed sometime in the future, and this trust can/should never be violated--unless someone wants to contact all the donors since 1983 and ask their permission to do something else with the money they donated. It's illegal to take money from people for a specific purpose and then turn around and spend it for something else!
Thus, I reiterate that it is not a matter of "do we want to continue doing this", we must--we have to, we are committed to this project until it is completed. And so the history of this "Building Fund" continues.
BRIEF HISTORY OF RUSSIAN APOSTOLATE (the catalyst) & THE DOMINICAN FAMILY GLOBAL ELECTRONIC MAGAZINE
DOMINICANS TRAVELLING ON INTERNET VIA COMPUTER E-MAIL (6/9/94)
Our Chapter went on a family pilgrimage (June 1994), sponsored by the St. Joseph Provincial Council, to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception National Shrine, and the Dominican House of Studies (this pilgrimage occurred around the same time we had planned our trip(s) to Russia but due to uncertainties there, the trip(s) were cancelled). While in D.C., Judy Mahoney introduced Joe and I to other members in her Chapter interested in the Russian Apostolate. Among them were Fran Griffin, Pat Jordan, Tom Martin, and Pedro Saavedra.
THE FIRST DOMINICAN LAITY ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER (7/15/95)
Joe wasted no time exchanging our computer e-mail addresses with Tom Martin and Pedro Svaadra after learning they have computers (with modems), and are connected to "the Internet" (the Information
Superhighway). The Internet is a sprawling collection of computer networks that spans the globe, connecting
government, military, educational and commercial institutions, as well as private citizens to a wide range of
computer services, resources, and information.
Within a few days after returning to our homes, Joe figured out how to set up and use "an email
distribution list" on the computer. Initially, the list consisted of four names; Joe, Tom, Pedro, and Gail. I was
designated to maintain the distribution list. Thus, we began to challenge one of the Dominican Order's four
priorities--mass media, and within a few weeks produced the first Dominican Laity Electronic Newsletter. We
wanted to spread the "Good News" via e-mail (electronic mail), whether it be to share the fruits of
contemplation, lectio divina, books, prayers, apostolates, etc. The main purpose is to promote the glory of God
and family unity via this media. The means by which we hope to accomplish this is to firmly establish "The
Dominican Family Global Electronic Magazine" before the year 2000.
The first few days, the wires sizzled with the fire of His love back and forth from Massachusetts to
Maryland. Tom and Pedro zealously cruised "the nets" seeking possible participants, and would send me the
e-mail addresses of possible participants. I in turn would send an RSVP invitation (via email) to the addressee.
If the RSVP was acknowledged with a positive response, I would then send and acknowledgement welcoming
them, and ask them to send an introductory message for publication in the newsletter. Joe would follow through
with a brief outline of the Russian Apostolate goals. It was so exciting (and still is)!
The first Dominican outside the St. Joseph Province was Karen Woods, moderator of St. Mary
Magdalene Chapter, Tempe, AZ and editor of the Western Provincial Newsletter "Christ in the World". Karen
was very instrumental in promoting our efforts to our brethren in the U.S. Western Province (Holy Name of
Jesus). She immediately expressed interest in the Russian Apostolate and published Joe's article in her
newsletter. The article captured the interest and enthusiasm of Helen Zachary who immediately contacted Joy by
postal mail (because she doesn't have a computer) and told him about a similar project she is working on in
California. Subsequently, Helen joined forces and among other things established the "Dominican laity Russian
Apostolate of Prayer". Russian Apostolate in California. Subsequently, Helen established the "Dominican Laity
Russian Apostolate of Prayer".
Karen's input and feedback was very helpful to me when setting up a format for the future "Dominican
Family Global Electronic Magazine" (DF GEM).
Karen also put us in touch with Fr. Vincent Benoit, O.P., who is assigned to the Dominican Community of St. Thomas More in Eugene, Oregon, OR, and runs a computer Bulletin Board System (BBS) which is broadcasted to many other BBS's across the country (and Austrailia), and carried on the Catholic Information Network (CIN).
Another result of Pedro's posting was a message received from Andreas Bjorklind in Sweden (6/30/94). "Andreas writes, "I and my wife Carina are actively interested in Dominican life, and are trying to follow the rule. We are affiliated to the Stockholm tertiary group (led by Ms. Astrid Soderbergh-Widding). There are two groups of tertiaries in Sweden: Stockholm and Lund. Stockholm is near! We've been following the rule (or trying!) for 1 1/2 years, and still find the Dominican spirituality very "right". Please add me (and indirectly Carina) to the list!"
Tom made e-mail contact with Andrew Horsfield (Oxford University) who was willing to be a link with the Lay Dominicans in Oxford. Andrew (though not a Dominican) wrote (6/30/94), "The hope is that one day one of the Dominicans will discover the wonders of e-mail, and I will hand on the torch. In the meantime,
however, I am very happy to pass on any messages you send this way." Andrew was willing to pass on messages
to Ian Gardner (who does not have an Internet connection--yet), President of the Lay Dominican Fraternity at
Oxford, England, U.K., and editor of the Lay Dominican newsletter for the English Province of the Order.
In addition to recognizing the hard work and dedicatyion of our core team, it should be noted here that from the very beginning of the Russian Apostolate, Fr. John Carrigan, O.P., and Rose Marie Nathan, moderator of the Mother of God Chapter, West Springfield, MA, have been very supportive of our efforts, spiritually and financially, and for that we are grateful.
July 3rd, Fr. Clint Honkomp, O.P. (Oak Park, Illinois) responded to Pedro's posting on the "Catholic
Mailing List" in which he requested Dominicans to identify themselves and communicate with him. Fr. Clint was
the first Dominican father on the East coast to participate, so we unofficially dubbed him, "our internet chaplain".
THE FIRST DOMINICAN FAMILY GLOBAL ELECTRONIC MAGAZINE (8/1/94)
We forged ahead with a sense of empowerment by the Holy Spirit, ever vigilent of ways to grow, and
improve the style and content of the Dominican internet electronic communication.
The following are samples of the kind of messages received and published: requests to be put on the DF GEM mailing/distribution list, information about the Order, Dominican spirituality, scripture, liturgy of the hours, lives of the saints, books, prayers, Chapter news, inquirers considering a Dominican vocation, announcements re ordinations, anniversaries, deaths, retreats, news from other Chapters, sharing of poems, prayers and personal experiences, as well as excerpts from Pope John Paul II's messages and encyclicals as well as other church documents. As time went on, it seemed necessary to make available a "Dominican Family Internet Intercessory Prayer Line" and "Dominican Family Internet Bullet Board" to accommodate the numerous requests and announcements received almost daily. These requests and announcements are forwarded immediately to all participants. The possibilities and uses for the Dominican Order on Internet are endless.
In a message from Jan Frederik Solom (dated 8/30/94), Oslo, Norway, he said, "Yes please, I would like to be placed on your email distribution list--just what I was looking for! I plan to set up a Dominican home page on the web (www) soon."
Jan Frederik is a lecturer in computer studies and classification theory, Oslo College, Dept. of Journalism, library and Information Studies.
In another message, Jan Frederik writes, "On Sept. 3, 1994, I will celebrate my first 6 years as a
Catholic." I am a convert, like all the members of the lay fraternity in Oslo. At the moment, we are five
professed, one novice, and a couple of people in the process of joining. We were organized as a proper fraternity
only three years ago, when three of us made temporary profession. In Oslo, the whole Dominican family is
represented -- friars (St. Dominic's), nuns (Lunden kloster), sisters (St. Catherine's) and laity. I'm happy to say
that our fraternity enjoys a very good relationship with all the houses! Our assistant/chaplain/spiritual
director/whatever is Fr. Per Bjoern Halvorsen, O.P.
In another message received from Fr. Clint Honkomp, he told us that Fr. Timothy Sparks, O.P., the
oldest Dominican friar in the Central Province of St. Albert the Great (later we learned that Fr. Sparks was a
classmate of Fr. Carrigan), affirmed his interest in the DF GEM by sending a poem written by Brother Conrad.
He also sent information re the four Dominicans beatified November 1994.
Upon learning that Fr. Sparks is a Promoter of Causes of Canonization, Joe immediately sent a message to Father, asking him what the procedure is for nominating a person for sainthood, and recommended Fr. Leonid Fedorov, a Russian intellectual and priest from the early days of this century who did so much to bring the message of the Universal Church to the Russian people. (Joe will be writing more about this in the future issues of Torch-lites.)
The first global announcement re a Dominication Ordination came from Fr. Reid Perkins-Buzo (Central Province of St. Albert the Great). He also sent several inspiring homilies for publication in the DF GEM. He was ordained to the priesthood May 13, 1995.
As time went on, we realized that we were indeed responding to the Order's priority of mass media. We currently have participants from all the continents (except South America). The participant list includes two of
the four Provincial Promoters for the laity, Regis R. Hovald, O.P. (Central Province), and Fr. Alberto Rodriquez,
O.P. (Southern Province).
While Tom and Pedro contributed a variety of messages, Joe worked on translating stories and articles published in Fr. Khmelnitsky's "Truth and Life" magazine, as well as true stories of Dominicans and Catholics in Russia for publication in the DF GEM.
The DF GEM is now issued (via e-mail) on the first and fifteenth of the month, September - May (on
vacation during June, July and August). A Special Issue is published on the feast of St. Dominic (August 8th).
The possibilities and uses for the Dominican Order on Internet are endless.
Subsequently, it deemed necessary to make available a "Dominican Family Internet Intercessory Prayer Line" and "Dominican Family Bulletin Board" to accommodate the numerous requests and announcements that are received almost daily now. These requests are forwarded at once to all members on the participants list, as soon as possible, throughout the year.
THE FIRST DOMINICAN WORLD WIDE WEB (WWW) HOME PAGE (9/14/94) SAINT JOSEPH PROVINCE - U.S.A.
The World Wide Web (also known as WWW or W3) is a hypertext system (simply put--electronic
documents linked together) that allows you to travel around the world electronically looking for information.
You select a topic that interests you, and view related information. Writings of the Church Fathers, all Vatican II
documents and most of the important Church documents are available in electronic form. (A hypertext
document lets you jump from place to place in the document using links of some kind.)
Jan Frederik wrote (9/14/94), "I have made a WWW page available at
Jan Frederik also says, "So far, the page only points to some laity information. I have typed in the Rule and the Master of the Order's General Declarations, and I'd like to enter different Directories later. All previous and current DF GEM issues are stored there in the archives. You will also find the Vatican II degree on the apostolate of the laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem) and I'm working on Christifideles Laici. There are at present no links to other Catholic sites.
Jan-Frederik compiled a report and presented it to the Master General outlining all the work that has been accomplished, thus far. As a result, he has been asked by Fr. Oscar Mayorga, O.P. (assistant to the Master
General, and among other things in charge of mass media) to coordinate a team to further the Dominican
presence on the Internet, sharing ideas and hopes on this issue. He went on to say, "We think that our challenge
is to preach through this new way making somehow a marriage between Theology and Electornics."
Fr. Mayorga named six members for the team; Jan Frederik Solom (Oslo, Norway), Fr. Daniel Ulluoa (Santa Sabina, Rome), Fr. Bernard McCay-Morrissey (Dublin, Ireland), Br. Reid Perkins-Buzo (St. Louis, Missouri), Gail Waterman (West Springfield, Massachusetts), and Fr. Gareth Moore (Belgium).
Hence, it deemed necessary for me to form an advisory team consisting of the following members:
Carina Bjorklind (Chapter in Stockholm, Sweden); Dr. Jill O'Brien, President of Central Province Dominican
Laity Provincial Council (member of St. Vincent Ferrer Chapter, River Forest, Illinois); Anna Donnelly (Our
Lady of the Assumption Chapter, New York City), Marie Soelner (Molloy College, New York); and Karen
Woods, Moderator of St. Mary Magdalene Chapter (Tempe Arizona). Together I pray we will continue to forge
ahead and complete the task now in progress for the Order.
THE FIRST DOMINICAN OP-L LISTSERVER AT BERKELEY (10/13/94)
In case you might wonder or ask, what is a listserver? Simply put, Listservers are another kind of mailing list, which is smaller and connected to the Internet. The principal purpose of listserver software is to facilitate one-to-many communication for network users.
The following e-mail message was received (10/13/94) from Fr. Michael Dodds, O.P. (Dean of the
Dominican School in Berkeley affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union which in turn is associated with
the University of California at Berkeley). "The Western Dominican Province has set up an E-mail list on
preaching and related topics. It is under the direction of Fr. Patrick LaBelle, O.P., Director of the Preaching
Institute at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA". Fr. LaBelle is also pastor of St.
Mary Magdalen Parish, a Dominican Parish in Berkeley in which a member of his parish, Czeslaw Jan Grycz
Chet recently retired (two years ago) from the Office of the President of the University of California, and was asked by Fr. LaBelle to address a group of Dominicans gathered for a conference in which he (Chet) spoke about setting up an electronic discussion list. Chet was involved with a variety of initiatives and projects having to do with the sharing of scholarly information and research in electronic form. In an introductory message
(11/4/94), he wrote, "I teach several courses in Library and Information Science, and am on the permanent
faculty of the Denver Publishing Institute. I am also founder of the Wladyslaw Poniecki Foundation (named after
my grandfather), which is a California non-profit educational Corporation. The Ponieck (pronounced
"Pon-yet'-skee") Foundation is involved in a variety of outreach projects directed at Central and Eastern
European countries, especially libraries and information centers who are hooking up to the Internet." Hence the
reason the OP-Listserver is located on the Poniecki server, and his involvement on the list.
Subsequently, Fr. LaBelle wrote (11/6/95); "We would like to make this (OP-L) a national and even
international means of communication for Dominicans. It is good to be connected to you in this manner."
In another e-mail message Fr. LaBelle writes: "It does seem that for some purposes (individual notes,
greetings for feast days, etc.) the OP-Listserver would be more convenient than the E-mail newsletter. It's less
work for you in compiling all the messages and sending them out twice a month and it's faster since the messages
are sent out as soon as they arrive. The newsletter might include gleanings of certain items of information and be
sent out (also via OP-L) once a month--a kind of 'CRUX" of the Dominican e-mail activity--what's been
happening what's coming up, etc."
The OP-Listserver served as a forum for "spirited debates", and "lively soundingboard" for such topics as, use of appropriate abbreviations after names of Dominican laity, The General Concensus of Dominicans re Political Campaigning on the Dominican Internet, Women's Role in the Church, and a more recent "lively"
discussion re the movie, "Priest".
November 23, 1994, the following message was received from Fr. Patrick L. LaBelle, O.P. "The
Dominican Leadership Conference (Major Superiors and Councils of the Friars & Sisters) met at Adrian,
Michigan in October. During the meeting I put a list for them to sign if they wanted to be a part of our Poniecki
Foundation services. Little by little I would hope that more of the leadership of the Conference would get
involved. And I would think that getting the Nuns on board will 'round out the program - especially with so
many of the Dominican Laity already involved.
And for the Dominican Laity, happy feast! Thursday is not only Thanksgiving but also our Dominican
PROVIDENCE COLLEGE ON INTERNET (11/21/94)
Now and then, Tom tested the connection at/with Providence College, Rhode Island (the only college in
the USA operated by Dominican friars). And on November 21, 1994, he received a message from Fr. Richard A. McAlister, O.P. (the day before Thanksgiving)--Subject line: "Dominicans on the Internet".
DOMINICANS NOW TRAVEL TO RUSSIA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD VIA INTERNET
Once Tom learned that Fr. Alex Khmelnitsky (Dominican priest in Moscow) had a computer and an
internet account (but is "frozen", i.e., not used), he sent e-mail messages to various places in Moscow, inquiring
how he may communicate with Fr. Alex by e-mail. Sunday, January 15, 1995, six months after the first
Dominican Family Global Electronic Magazine was issued, we received the first e-mail message from Fr.
Khmelnitsky. He wrote, "Dear Gail, Thank you and Mr. Martin's messages. I have only now got my account
with GlasNet de-frozen and my communication software adjusted to be able to read them. Now I am able to
take part in the Dominican E-mail magazine. Many thanks to Prof. Joseph Lake for his donation. Greetings to
all sisters and brothers in St. Dominic. Fr. Alexander Khmelnitsky, O.P.
Future Publication of Book(s) re Dominicans and Catholics in Russia
(Research, and translations by Professor Joseph Lake,
University of Massachusetts Amherst)
We attended the 1995 Provincial Council meeting held in April at the Dominican House of Studies, where we met Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P. who initially inspired the Dominican Laity Russian Apostolate by telling about his trip to Russia in 1993.
We (Joe and I) were asked to give an update on the Russian Apostolate. Joe presented a teaching on the history of Catholics and Dominicans in Russia, while I focused my presentation on the development of the
Dominican Family global Electronic Magazine. Prior to this presentation, Anna Donnelly provided an excellent
background on the history and development of the computer Internet.
On the eve of Palm Sunday, 1995, a small group gathered around Fr. Cessario as he sat in front of his
computer in his office at the House of Studies, and typed an email message to Fr. Khmelnitsky in Moscow. He
wrote, "Greetings" to our brother, Fr. Khmelnitsky in Moscow via Internet. The message read: "Mr. Joseph
Lake, Mrs. Gail Waterman, Mrs. Rose Marie Nathan, Prioress, and Father Romanus Cessario on the eve of Palm Sunday, send warm and fraternal greetings to the Roamn Catholic community in Moscow. We are especially mindful that we share a common bond in the profession of obedience to God in union with the Blessed and ever Virgin Mary and blessed Dominic.
We also wish to take this moment to affirm the support of the Mother of God Dominican Laity (West
Springfield, MA) support for growth of the Church in Holy Russia. During this Holy (Great) Week, we pray
especially for Our Holy Father John Paul II. May God grant him long life and blessings.
Now, with gratitude to God for the gifts that he has given to Professor Lake that enable us to develop
bonds of friendship and support with the Dominican Family in Russia, we give the keyboard to Joe."
Professor Lake will be telling more about the Catholics and Dominicans in Russia, and the book(s) he is writing in the next issue of Torch-lites.