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Fifteen

Jul. 04, 2015

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Inspired by the Holy Spirit, our Dominican mission and the call of Pope Benedict XVI to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ through new media, preachingfriars.org focuses on spreading the Gospel through videos, preaching, and theological discourse.

PreachingFriars' Blog

Jul. 15
2015
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(For the English version of this reflection, please scroll down)

El sábado pasado, vi la película “El Lenguaje del Corazón” (se llama Maríe Huertin en francés) con los frailes del Convento Santo Domingo. Me gustó la película mucho y pienso que contiene muchas lecciones sobre las ideas de amistad y amor.

 

La película es sobre la historia de una niña sorda-ciega francesa, se llama Maríe Huertin. Ella vivió en Francia a finales del siglo XIX y el principio del siglo XX. Maríe había nacido en una granja cerca de Poitiers (una cuidad en el centro-occidental de Francia) en el año 1885. Durante los primeros años de su vida,...

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Tags: amistad, amor, El Lenguaje del Corazón, en español
Jul. 11
2015
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As I prepared to travel to Burkina Faso, a little known francophone country in West Africa, I had many little fears. I was nervous about the language barrier, security, getting ill, and what I might encounter. I was also nervous about being a Westerner, specifically being American. I’ve been stewed in the myth of American exceptionalism my whole life, and now I was traveling to a poor mostly-Muslim country as a delegate for Catholic Relief Services. Was I going to be part of the big bad Western world imposing my culture on a group of people I can’t even communicate with? I was nervous that the Gospel, as I knew it, was from a Western perspective; and that what I knew of the faith, of social justice, and of the Church might not translate. And I must admit, I did find myself overwhelmed and stumbled into a few challenges my Western mind had trouble understanding. Yet in the middle of this I discovered that the Church’s wisdom, with...

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Tags: burkina faso, crs, poverty, SILC, subsidiarity, Traveling Friars
Jul. 09
2015
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The first week of the second session has begun. Fr. James Dominic, Br. Patrick, Br. Huy and I have new students eager to learn English. This time around we feel a little more prepared. Unfortunately for the Vietnamese brothers this means more homework, but this will only help them more in their quest to speak English. One thing I have learned teaching English is how much I do not know about the language and how difficult it really is. The opportunity to be here is wonderful, but it is also humbling. I am learning something new every day about the language I learned as a toddler. Independent clauses, irregular verbs, the simple present tense, these are things I have used every day but had no idea when I was using them or how to point them out in a sentence right away. I guess you really do begin to learn something when you start teaching it.

 

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Tags: Dominican family, TravelingFriars, Vietnam
Jul. 04
2015
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I remember being fifteen. I lost an appendix and gained a sports car. I certainly remember being a freshman in high school. As discussed in The Story of Us and Shake it Off, Taylor Swift has an uncanny ability to latch onto our inbred nostalgia. Memories, though, are tricky things. In her memoir We Have Been Friends Together, Raissa Maritain writes: “it is a strange experience to trust one’s memory; its hold on us is stronger that our hold on it; it carries us into its own world which is the very reality of the movement of our past, and we must obey it.”

 

Everyone knows that we can’t run from our memories and that’s okay because most of us most of the time most of us have pretty nice memories, like those nervous memories so perfectly encapsulated in “Fifteen.” I mean, come on. “You sit in class next to redheaded Abigail/ And soon enough you're best...

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Tags: cavarero, crs, hope, poverty, Taylor Swift, TravelingFriars
Jun. 30
2015
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My first full week in Bogota began with a bang- the Feast of Corpus Christi. This was a two day celebration here- Sunday was the religious holiday, and Monday was the government holiday, which shut the town down.

Sunday morning, we had Office of Readings and Lauds at 7am, and then Mass at noon. After morning prayer, I took advantage of an event called “Ciclovia Bogota” which has been going on since 1974. This event shuts down the major thorough-way through Bogota to automobiles every Sunday morning from 7am to 2pm. This creates a 125 km route (about 77 miles) for walking, biking, running, rollerblading, and skateboarding. The route is quite nice and took me past a number of Catholic churches, parks and the Archdiocesan seminary.

....

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Tags: Cathedral Primada, colombia, Museum of Gold, Social Justice Summer
Jun. 30
2015
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Br. Phuc and Br. Drew at a parish carnival

The brothers’ English is improving day by day. Their pronunciation and comprehension has improved significantly since the first day we arrived in Vietnam. We are in the last week of the first session for the English classes. After this week most of the brothers will go to their summer assignments to do ministry in parishes throughout Vietnam. Some will stay and other brothers will come from the parishes to start the second session. As of right now we have a little over 20 brothers that will partake in the second session.

 

 

There have been challenges for both the student brothers and for Br. Patrick and I. The student brothers are eager to learn to pronounce words in English, but the accent sometimes gets in the way. As a native...

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Tags: English, Pho, teaching, TravelingFriars, Vietnam
Jun. 24
2015
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On Wednesday morning we drove out of the capital sprawl of Ouagadougou for a bumpy three hour drive to Kaya. The first thing that struck me was the absolute poverty of the land. I grew up in Illinois, a state which is home to some of the most fertile land on the planet Earth. Instead of fields of corn and forests, the Burkina countryside was littered with shriveled attempts at greenery and cows thinned to their ribcages. Simply put, the nation of Burkina Faso does not have the resources to adequately feed the people within its borders.

 

This makes for an interesting case study when we consider what the Church can offer to the environment efforts and debates today. I’m reminded of a point Paul Virilio makes in his book Negative Horizons when he discusses the necessity of viewing an object from a variety of angles to ascertain the reality of the object being viewed. As Pope Francis repeatedly stresses in the first two major...

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Tags: burkina faso, crs, Evangelii Gaudium, laudato si, Pope Francis, poverty, TravelingFriars
Jun. 23
2015
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¡Saludos desde Bogotá​, Colombia!

 

Greetings from Bogota, Colombia!

I arrived in Bogota, Colombia on June 3 and was warmly greeted at the airport by two Dominican students who insisted that I try “Colombian hamburgers.” I was skeptical at first, but did find the food at “El Corral” quite good. I would categorize this Colombian chain as a higher end fast-food restaurant, similar to a Fuddruckers or a Culvers (minus the custard).

The front of the convent and chapel. (Courtesy of conventosantodomingo.com.co)

I was then brought to St. Dominic's Priory in northern Bogota (El Convento de...

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Tags: bogota, colombia, Santo Domingo, Social Justice Summer
Jun. 16
2015
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The first day of class

 

A week ago this Monday the Convent of the Most Holy Rosary, the location of the House of Studies in the Vietnamese Province, underwent a huge change. Not only did the English classes start for 31 of the student brothers in Vietnam but everything (well not everything—the signs are still in Vietnamese) has been changed into English. As a part of trying to help the brothers integrate English into their lives the entire Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and prayers at the dinner table are being done in English. For the first ten days in Vietnam Br. Patrick and I listened to everything being done in Vietnamese. After a couple days of being in the convent (what would call a priory in the US) we caught on to what was happening. About ten days ago...

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Tags: English, teaching, TravelingFriars, Vietnam
Jun. 11
2015
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Motorbike transit!

Our first Sunday in Saigon was one of the most incredible days of my life! It will be one I will never forget.

 

During breakfast I was told by one of the brothers I would be going out for the day with Br. Du (pronounced "You"). During our time here, we will be working every day except Sunday where one of the brothers will be taking us out to see Vietnam. I had met Br. Du my first full day in Vietnam and he and I had chatted for a little bit. I was told I would go with him to the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica and then afterwards Brs. Patrick and Huy would join us for lunch at Br. Du's grandmother's house. When I asked how we would be going there I was told we would be going by motorbike. One thing to mention is...

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Tags: motorbike, TravelingFriars, Vietnam, View from Vietnam

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