Lay Dominicans build connections and share passion

On the weekend of 21-23 November 2014 over thirty lay Dominicans gathered in Auckland for a weekend of building connections and sharing passion.   The gathering theme for the weekend came from Jeremiah 1:4-5 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

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Friday evening began with a dinner and welcome, prayer and an opportunity to share our Dominican connections with each other.

A new day dawned on Saturday morning, more people arrived and after prayer we gathered in small groups to discuss:

  • How each of them is living the charism in a particular field
  • Any issues/concerns they might have
  • How can we support and encourage one another in this field

Topics discussed were:

Peace Justice and Environment Discussion

Education and Young People

Creative Arts


Pastoral Ministry

Prayer, Contemplation and Liturgy

We concluded Saturday by looking back at the priorities established at the first national gathering of lay Dominicans in 2010.  All priorities are shown below however only some were discussed in small groups …

– To support each other to seek, speak and live the Truth

Ideas shared:

  • Emailing
  • Keeping up gatherings
  • Continue to talk to other people – strike up conversations
  • Continuing updating resources for schools
  • Sharing books and relevant reading that we have been exposed to (and articles)
  • Developing our own inward understanding
  • Using social media eg Facebook
  • Having a workshop on preaching

– To share in and contribute to the ongoing life of the Dominican charism in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Judith and Mary appreciated being together with hearing Dominican
  • Influence of the Sisters on deaf education – influence and education came through very strongly. This wasn’t something you simply ticked off – it was an inspiration.  Their sense of ministry and sense of Church is amazing.
  • There is a very real desire to establish a Māori Women’s Group in Whangarei. We would be grateful for prayers that this group might be established.

– To find and/or create opportunities where we can respond and enable others to respond to the signs of the times in the church and in society

  • God points – points of intersecting our culture and some of the key issues facing us as Lay Dominicans today. Spent some time trying to identify areas where we can engage as Dominicans – our reflection, contemplation and prayer:
  • Interfaith Dialogue:
  • Partnership with Tangata Whenua – indigenous communities around Aotearoa – continuing dialogue
  • Signs of the times in climate change and environmental issues
  • Recent Synod of Family in Rome and significant developments in universal church – various expressions of family in Society today. Why is it so difficult to engage to be part of families today and the challenges that this creates for the church looking at expressions of family
  • Spaces of reflection and retreat and a commitment to that as local Dominican communities and on a national level
  • Child Poverty
  • Inequalities that exist in the community
  • Participation in the church and marginalised groups in the church and how to continue a conversation with those groups

Bringing that together we look at many of these issues from a visionary perspective as God points and create a forum in the newsletter where we and others make a contribution and of articles (300-400 words).  Let’s make a regular commitment to identify God points at those places of intersection with Society and faith.

– To live and promote the four pillars of Dominican life: prayer, study, community and preaching.

– To promote a theology based on finding God in the world around us (an incarnational theology).

  • The Church has tended to capture the language and the behaviour that seems to be appropriate for God. We felt that this was a shame.  We felt that language and behaviour is the creation God.  The Church has tended to see the bad in the world.  WE need to change that.  There is a language and behaviour that speaks of God.
  • Seeing God in nature and insects. Is God the drunk man who picked me up on the street?  What is your image of God?

– To recognise and promote the sense of belonging to the Dominican family.

– To recognise and encourage the gifts of others.

  • It is important that each one of us makes deliberate choices to look for and encourage the gifts in others.
  • Perhaps every second or third newsletter could contain a short article about how somebody has put this into practice?

– To affirm and support the prophetic voices and action.

– To critique and respond to need, injustice and misuse of power.


On Sunday we again began with prayer.  We had a stimulating discussion about the place of laity within the Dominican Family in Aotearoa New Zealand.  We shared news of groups that gather across the country ~ in Arrowtown, Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, the Far North, the Lower North Island (including Wellington, Kapiti Coast, Masterton and Palmerston North) and Auckland.

Mike recommended as  a reflection on the readings of the day.  Teresa shared news of the Mission and Justice Group and Susan spoke of Dominican links with Pax Christi.

Kevin spoke about 2016 being the 800 years of Dominican life.  This is really significant.  It was agreed that there needs to be some sense of shared planning even though the celebrations may be decentralised.  One idea was that there be some symbolic carrying from one celebration to another throughout the country.

We had appreciated spaces of silence throughout the weekend and so our time together came to a conclusion with a short period of silence, a sharing of one or two words that spoke of the gathering to each person and a final meal eaten together.  We look forward to our next gathering which will hopefully be in the South Island in 2016.

Photos are available online on our Facebook page: or on Flickr at: