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The Closing Celebration for the 800th
Anniversary of the Dominican Order

This past year, Dominicans worldwide have been celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the founding of the Order by St. Dominic de Guzman. This joyous celebration just came to a close and the Sparkill Congregation was lucky to have two of our Sisters, Mary Jane Bookstaver and Kathleen Donnelly, attend the Closing Mass for the 800th Jubilee in Rome!

In his homily, Pope Francis delivered a powerful message to the Dominican Family as we move forward into our 9th century of prayer and ministry.

Sisters Mary Jane and Kathleen shared the following reflection on their experience of gathering with a great number of Dominican Family members in Rome for this milestone occasion.

“A Jubilee Year is a special time in the life of religious congregations – for individuals and for the Order as a whole. Dominicans closed our 800th Jubilee Year with a Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. The entire Order was invited to participate in this celebration.

"January 21, 2017 was a beautiful, sunny day in Rome. We gathered in the Piazza Laterani while we waited to pass through security and find a seat in the Church. The line of Dominican Sisters, Brothers, Priests, and lay Dominicans snaked across the piazza in groups that were four to six people wide. What a sight!

The line of attendees in Piazza Laterani waiting to get into the Basilica.

"Pope Francis presided at the Mass and our Dominican Priests concelebrated with him. Being with Dominicans from all over the globe was just amazing, bringing awareness of the fulfillment of Dominic’s dream to preach the Gospel throughout the world. Prayers of the Faithful and hymns were sung in five languages – English, French, Spanish, German, and Vietnamese – the major languages of our ministries. The closing hymns were the Salve and O Lumen, the hymns we all chant at the end of our nightly prayer. It was so moving to sing these hymns with our sisters and brothers as they have been an integral part of our prayer life from the very beginning of our journey in this Dominican life.

"Celebrating this liturgy with our Pope and our Dominican Family from around the world was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We were blessed to have taken part!”

Sisters Mary Jane Bookstaver (left) and Kathleen Donnelly (right) in Rome, January 2017.

Pope Francis celebrating the Closing Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on January 21, 2017.



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