The Dominicans celebrated their 50th Anniversary with Bishop DiLorenzo coming for a special Mass and Blessing for a new Priory on March 24th. The Dominicans came to Charlottesville on the Feast of St. Lawrence August 10, 1963 and established St. Thomas Aquinas Church, which serves Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and The University of Virginia. This priory is the first built in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and offers a religious community for eight priests. The priory was built to last using the skills of local artisans including cabinet makers, stain glass artists, masons, and carpenters.
Daniel White is a young stained glass artist and parishioner with Cain Architectural Glass who co-designed the stained glass windows with pastor, Fr. Luke Clark ,O.P. that adorn the Priory Chapel. The beautiful stained glass was made locally, and incorporated many symbols of the Dominicans.
The priory also offers the St. Vincent Ferrer Columbarium, a first for Catholics in Central Virginia. The word “columbarium” comes from the Latin and translates as a compartmentalized house for doves; the gentle birds mentioned in Holy Scripture and recognized as a symbol of peace. There are over 50 memorial spaces which are available to Catholics for $4,500
The Dominicans, the Order of Preachers, is an order with a strong charism of preaching, and education. The Dominican website explains the essence of the order: Dominicans preach the Word of God in every possible way including liturgical preaching, parish missions, retreat preaching, occasional lectures, addresses at religious conferences, street preaching, teaching, writing (especially books), through art (especially film, television, theatre, and radio), and by exploiting the advantages offered by the Internet and other advances of the digital age, without ever sacrificing the indispensable role of personal presence by which communication becomes true communion. Dominican Blessed Humbert of Romans sums up all of this in his famous 13th century Treatise on Preaching: “How necessary is the office of preaching without which the human heart would not rise to the hope of heaven.” Fr. Jospeph Scordo, O.P., has served as a Dominican in the Military Chaplaincy: The Dominicans also offer a great free App called iDoms Portal. The App offers incredible resources including Dominican articles, videos, and audio from many of their great preachers and theologians.
The Dominicans are still in the process of fundraising, and if you can help I encourage you to look at their websites at the links below. LINKS St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish St. Tomas Aquinas Priory Dominicans of the Province of Saint Joseph iDoms Portal App Article about St. Joseph, protector of preachers statue in Dominicana Saint Joesph and his dog statue in priory courtyard.