Signs of the vocation boom are everywhere. Perhaps nowhere more so than in Washington, D.C., where the Eastern Province of the Dominican Friars is located. This fall they will welcome twenty one new men to their community. Twenty one! While I have no way of knowing for sure, that would seem to represent one of the largest groups to enter priestly formation for any diocese or religious congregation’s province in a very long time.
What made the Dominican Province of St. Joseph so attractive to these twenty one men? The same things that are attracting other young men to enter formation all over the world. Many factors could be named, but I’ll focus here on two that stand out for these men who have requested to follow in the footsteps of St. Dominic.
First - and this appears to be universal wherever vocations are increasing - men are looking for a formation and ministry environment that is unwaveringly faithful to the teaching authority of the Church. Second, in the case of these young Dominican aspirants, they recognize how the order has remained loyal to the charisms of its founder, and they, too, wish to embrace lives of poverty within community, as well as lives of intellectual formation, all for the purpose of preaching the gospel in both word and action.
The Dominican habit has always been one of my favorites among religious communities. I’m thrilled that so many new ones have to be made for this year’s class of novices in the Eastern Province!