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News and views from the Provincial Chapter

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The English Dominicans held their Provincial Chapter at Blackfriars, Oxford this week, opening with Solemn Mass of the Annunciation on 31 March. Fr Allan White, the out-going Provincial (his second four-year term of office coming to an end with this chapter), presided and Fr Mark Edney preached about our mission being like Our Lady's - one is sent to us so that we can be called and in receiving God's grace we may respond to this call by also being sent to bring Christ to the world.


At the end of Mass the Capitulars (those friars who are members of the chapter by reason of their office and those elected as delegates from various parts of the province) processed out of the church into the Chapter Room to elect a new Prior Provincial. Shortly afterwards, a bell rang to summon the other friars present in the priory to hear the outcome of the election.


Fr Allan announced the good news that Fr John Farrell had accepted his election as Prior Provincial of the English Province for the next four years. Later that day the election was confirmed by the Master of the Order.


The Chapter then proceeded with its business of electing those who are to be responsible for writing up the Acts (or decisions) of the Provincial Chapter as well as new provincial councillors. In the evening, the fathers of the Chapter assembled with the Oxford brethren for Solemn Vespers; this was the new Provincial's first liturgical celebration with the brethren and we were joined by our regular weekday congregation.


The Provincial specifically asked that "the ancestors" - the relics of the Order's saints - be brought out and placed on the High Altar and these were duly incensed and venerated during Vespers.



Following Vespers, the brethren gathered for a celebratory dinner in the Refectory.


From Tuesday to Thursday the Chapter was devoted to discussions and decisions about various aspects of the life and mission of the Order in Britain and in the Caribbean Vicariate (Grenada and Barbados). It also made further appointments of brethren to assist the Provincial in various capacities. The main business of the Chapter finished on Thursday, 3 April. 

While the Acts of the Chapter are still being written up in Oxford by those elected to do so (these are called 'diffinitors'), the rest of the Capitulars have now returned to their respective priories.

Please pray for our new Prior Provincial, Fr John Farrell, and the brothers of the English Province, that we may respond with open hearts to the call given to us to continue St Dominic's mission of preaching for the salvation of souls. 

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