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Hong Kong: Vestition of the Dominican habit, First Professions, and Diaconte and Priestly Ordinations.

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At 10:30 a.m. the celebration of the simple profession and clothing with the Dominican habit took place at the Chapel of Rosaryhill School. The professed student brothers from Macau and Hong Kong were present and assumed responsibility for the music and the liturgical services. The Eucharist was presided by the Prior Provincial and concelebrated by all the Dominican priest present as well as some visitors including an uncle of Bro. Matthew who is a Monk from Lantau Abbey. We attach his short homily; though short, the ceremony lasted for two hours and fifteen minutes. 

The liturgy was meticulously arranged and organized by Fray Raymond Mi, the Master of novices, to the delight of the congregation where we could notice the presence of a number Lay Dominicans, the English teachers and friends of the communities, together with acquaintances of some of the brothers who were about to profess or begin the novitiate. 

Thanks were given to Fray Ben Mc Cionaoith and by extension the Province of Ireland for having allowed him to be us all these years. His dedication to the postulants during these fifteen years is a gift to the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary. Likewise, the Prior Provincial availed of the celebration to thank the lay English teachers who so generously have come to teach during the year as part of their apostolate and without asking for any compensation. We are truly grateful for their contribution to the cause of formation. 

Likewise, thanks were given to the Fray Raymond Mi, Master of Novices, Fray Jordan, his Assistant and the brothers who helped with the classes to the novices during the whole year, for his dedication to the formation of the outgoing novices.  

After the Profession and vestition we had a fraternal meal in the hall of the school that was well organized and arranged by the staff of the school and canteen under the leadership of Fray Jose Salas and the members of the coordinating team entrusted with the preparation of both events and the ordination scheduled for the afternoon. 

In the afternoon we attended the ordination to the Diaconate of Bro. Gregory and the ordination to the Priesthood of Bro. Ignatius. His Eminence Cardinal John Tong, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Hong Kong had graciously accepted to be the ordaining prelate and His Eminence Joseph Zen (Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong also attended), likewise, all the Dominicans priests, some professors from the Holy Spirit in Hong Kong and from the University of St. Joseph in Macau came to participate together with a number of friends of those to be ordained. The parents of Brother Gregory and other relatives and the brother of Bro. Ignatius, some in-laws and a relative religious sister from Vietnam came to be at his side. Likewise, there was a significant presence of Lay Dominicans, friends and acquaintances of the communities and those being ordained.    

The ordination was solemn and lasted for two hours and a half. At the end both brothers thank God, His Eminence, their parents, teachers and formators, those who were present and those who had assumed responsibility for all the details related to the preparation of the ordination. Finally, the newly ordained asked all those who care for them to continue praying for their perseverance and ministry.

The celebration concluded with a simple snack at the basement of the school. Everybody appreciate a cold drink considering the heat and high temperature of the day. 

As for the future of the two brothers: Fray Ignatius will continue studying Education at the University of St. Joseph in Macau for one more year before being assigned to East Timor. Fray Gregory is already assigned to the Priory of the Holy Cross where he will assume the responsibility of Director of the pre-novices there and enroll in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Santo Tomas. 

Provincial’s homily during the profession and vestition 

As professed brothers you wish to integrate fully into the Dominican way of life and Charism. Long to be at home with the brethren even when you discover that brothers have very different understanding and ideas about the Dominican way of life you do not share. We must be united in love for the cause of the Gospel in different cultural settings. Plurality and diversity are not obstacles to unity if we belong and make a real effort to integrate in the community to which we are assigned. 

As novices you are going to be given a year of discernment, prayer and formation. At the end of this year you will be in a better position to understand the challenges of consecrated life; gain in knowledge of the charism of the Order; get familiarized with the history of the Order and our Constitutions and the unique missionary characteristic of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary in which you wish to be accepted to religious profession.  

Some of you have been drawn to the Dominican Order by romanticism, others because of the love of study, some by our moto veritas, few by our history or by a particular friar. But you undertake today a process of discernment and positive criticism that last for life. You are here because God has taken the initiative and you have answered with your yes and determination to seek his will.

Be prepared to face generational tensions and cultural differences as you journey through life. Celebrating our history or wearing the habit is not all. You must become part of history and builders of a better future with the quality of life that you wish to attain today as you pronounce your readiness to obey God and to conform your life to the Constitutions. Be Holy as your heavenly Father is Holy! 

Demonstrate to God, to the brothers and to the Church that you are ready to serve as you seek your own fulfilment with the generosity with which Jesus has called you to be his own. Be men of community life. Those who belong to the same team are ready to give the best of themselves to a collaborative success. Unity is the source of strength.

Keep an open mind to integrate and to change as you journey through the history of the Church and of the Order where your own history will be realized. Accepting the young into the Order is a challenge to us as the birth of a child changes the life of the family and curtail their freedom.

Be fear in your judgments and pay attention to community dialogues where brothers share together, plan together and serve in the name of the community. Have courage to put in from of others what is in your mind and in your heart as you prepare to welcome and accept other’s views. 

During the novitiate you have learned that there are basic Dominican elements we cannot forgo such as: prayer, study, community, unity and diversity in the mission of preaching. Undertake then the challenge of embracing them. 

There are different ways of being a Dominican, but it does not mean that anyone can just invent his own Order, though the democratic system, proper to the Order, allows for great diversity and flexibility. Likewise, it grants a voice to brothers in community discussions and projects, however, the basic pillars of our Charism remain essential and unchangeable. “Everything in our lives must be rooted in love for God and his Kingdom”. 

I join my prayer to that of Jesus’ asking God: I pray that they may be one as you Father and I are one!  I, wish that you cooperate, share and support the cause of holiness and preaching all your life.