“SACRA PRAEDICATIO” – OUR CHALLENGE IN A FRAGILE EUROPE
Cologne, Germany, October 1-4, 2018
‘Sacra Praedicatio. Our Challenge in a Fragile Europe’ – this was the theme for two days of discussion at an English-speaking Colloquium on Preaching in Cologne.
OCTOBER 2, 2018
On the first day, two keynote lectures were given from the differing perspectives of politics and Dominican spirituality.
Annette Schavan (Germany)
Former German Ambassador to the Holy See
Europe needs a change of perspective
Annette Schavan, former German ambassador to the Holy See, gave the first speech on the topic „Europe needs a Change of Perspective“. This change of perspective , she argued, is crucial for the preservation of peace in Europe. Populist slogans cannot offer solutions. It takes responsible leadership to do so. She pointed out that when it comes to political decisions biographical experiences are important. Additionally, Europe needs what Jacques Delors called ‘soul and spirituality’ in order to survive as a union and to achieve its full potential. This includes an openness to transcendence. Mrs. Schavan highlighted six ‘keys’ in order to realize this change of perspective:
- We must overcome widespread anxiety
- We need a basic attitude of respect for the dignity of every human being and for what each member state brings to the Community
- We must rediscover the power of diversity and tolerance
- Europe needs more intellectual curiosity and a willingness to innovate
- Europe needs to listen to the EU in civil societies
- Europe needs the clear will to adhere to European convictions
Timothy Radcliffe OP (Oxford, UK)
Former Master of the Order
Being a ‘Sacra Praedicatio’. What does it mean for the Dominican Family?
Populism, migration, the widening gap between rich and poor – all these factors lead to a loss of confidence not only in institutions but in European societies in general. Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master of the Order of Preachers, analysed this alarming trend in the second lecture of the day. Following mistrust and anxiety, we lose the ability to get into conversation. As a result societal issues turn into (nationalist) aggression and violence. Radcliffe sees the service of Dominican preaching in strengthening the ability to talk to one another, especially strangers. To instill a culture of listening is a major challenge – especially in respect of those left behind and of those who think differently. Moreover, we have to accept them as ‘fellow seekers of the truth.’ This takes time. It is crucial to be aware of the fallibility of our answers and to avoid setting absolutes in our conversations. A good conversation, Radcliffe states, will not only challenge opposing positions but will lead us to a deeper understanding of our very identity. A good model of this service is the Dominican family, which witnesses to an equality where friendship and true conversation can be found.
Listen to the lecture of Timothy Radcliffe OP here:
OCTOBER 3, 2018
The second and last working day of the congress was characterised by seven workshops in different fields of preaching in various cultural contexts. Sisters, brothers and lay dominicans discussed the challenges and opportunities within their diverse pastoral work, exchanging experiences and best practices, coming to an appreciation of diverse cultural approaches on sometimes similiar, sometimes very different issues.
PREACHING PARISH LENTEN RETREATS:
PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY FAITH REVIVAL AND RENEWAL
by Sr. Marie Therese Clement OP, Italy
Annually, Catholic Parishes in the Caribbean organize parish-wide Lenten Retreats inviting both practicing and non-practicing Catholics to a time of reflection and renewal which culminates in the Easter Triduum. Often the Dominican Sisters are invited to preach these 5-evening retreats to packed churches during which priests make themselves available for the sacrament of reconciliation. For the most part the sisters prepare the retreats as a community praying and reflecting on the chosen themes and scriptural texts. The sisters designated to deliver the preaching are carried in prayer by the rest of the community.
Excerpts of one of the preached retreats on the theme “Loved, Created and Redeemed by Love to live and Proclaim the Gospel” will set the tone for this workshop.
FOR STUDENTS WHO CRAVE SOMETHING ELSE: A PARISH FOR STUDENTS IN TOULOUSE
by Sr. Marie-Laure Larcher OP, France
There are 120,000 students in Toulouse. Ten years ago, the bishop decided to create a parish for students. A priest, friars and sisters of several orders and congregations and students work together to preach the Gospel to these young people coming from all around the world. What can we learn from this experience?
THE PROBLEM OF LANGUAGE IN THE MINISTRY OF PREACHING
by Fr. Felicisimo Martinez OP, Italy
Two main problems are to be faced in the ministry of preaching today:
TEACHING IN AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: THE CHALLENGES OF MULTICULTURALISM
by Sr. Marie Laetitia Youchtchenko OP, Italy
This Worksop is about Sr. Laetitia’s experience at St. Dominique’s French school in Rome with students form 50 different countries, and what she has learnt about multiculturalism.
It will outline some challenges she had to face as a principal, and pose some questions that are still unanswered and that the participants could discuss together.
PROMOTING CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING IN A NON-CATHOLIC CONTEXT
by Sr. Else-Britt Nilsen OP, Norway
The Catholic church is deeply blessed with more than 100 years’ worth of outstanding social justice and peace documents authored by popes, Vatican II, world synods of bishops and national conferences of bishops. Sadly, these documents attract more dust than readers.
In this workshop, Sr. Else-Britt Nilsen, OP unravels how “the Church’s Best Kept Secret” is preached not only in a Catholic but also in a non-Catholic context. She will be sharing experiences on how this great treasure of our Catholic tradition is made known to both Catholic and non-Catholic students alike.
LUMEN DOMINICAN CENTRE IN DUBLIN –
A SPACE OF ENCOUNTER AND REFLECTION TO SUPPORT ADULTS IN THEIR LIFE JOURNEY AND IN THEIR SEARCH FOR MEANING
by Sr. Sabine Schratz OP, Ireland
The common search for truth is at the core of our Dominican ethos. Lumen Dominican Centre in Dublin seeks to provide a space of encounter and reflection, through which adults can be supported in their life journey and in their search for meaning. The centre follows a holistic approach with a special focus on spirituality, theology, art and politics of the day. The dialogue between faith and culture is at the forefront. This workshop will explore the opportunities for and challenges to Dominican preaching in an adult education setting.
CHANCE AND CHALLENGE –
LAY DOMINICAN PREACHING IN AN EASTERN GERMAN PARISH
by Felix Hoffmann OP, Germany
Felix Hoffmann OP will talk about his preaching experiences in a non-Dominican parish in Eastern Germany. The focus will be on the chances and challenges of preaching in an almost completely secular society.
The conclusion of the working day was a Mass at the tomb of St. Albert the Great, the „doctor universalis“, who, among others, established the university in Cologne as the first in Germany. Following the liturgy, participants continued to an original Brauhaus (brewery) for an evening of drinks, food and fellowship.