Blessed Sacrament is a Dominican Parish. But what does it mean to be Dominican and how does that inform our spirituality?
Dominicans all over the world continue to draw upon the charism of St. Dominic in order to serve as preachers of the Gospel. To be a Dominican is to be part of a family that includes cloistered nuns, ordained and non-ordained friars, religious sisters and laity. Dominicans are formed throughout their entire lives according to the four pillars established by St. Dominic: Prayer, Study, Ministry and Community. Our tradition of spirituality is rooted in common life, liturgical prayer and meditation, study, and ministry of the Word. A spirituality which was meant to bear the fruit of an active apostolate.
Blessed Sacrament Parish is a ministry of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (aka Western Dominican Province). To learn more, visit www.opwest.org.
Traveling through Spain and southern France with the Bishop of Osma in the early 13th century, Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest, encountered many confused people who believed that the physical world was evil, and created by an evil god. He saw the need for good preachers who could explain the truth of the Catholic faith and reconcile those who had fallen away.
Inspired to address this intellectual and spiritual poverty, St. Dominic de Guzman founded the Order of Preachers (aka the Dominicans) in 1216AD, having received approval from Pope Honorius III. Upon approval, Pope Honorius called the Dominicans “Champions of the Faith” and “True lights of the world.”
As members of the Order of Preachers, we are called to follow in Dominic’s footsteps, imitating his mercy and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in and out of season.
Our life in common, along with our time in study and at prayer, allows us to share the fruits of our contemplation and proclaim the good news to every land and nation.
The Dominicans have given the Church some of her greatest saints, including: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Martin de Porres. We have spread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the gift of the Most Holy Rosary, promoted the Holy Name Society and the Angelic Warfare Confraternity since their earliest days, and have exclusively served as Theologian to the Papal Household since 1218.
Dominicans in the Western United States
Dominican friars in the United States are affiliated into four general regions, also known as provinces.
The Province of the Holy Most Name of Jesus, commonly referred to as the “Western Dominican Province,” was founded in 1850 during the California Gold Rush.
From the very beginning, the territory of the Western Dominican Province has been a place in great need of evangelization and missionary activity. Our original purpose was to bring the Catholic faith to a rapidly growing population in the Western United States. While the population continues to grow, our challenge today is a bit different. With secularism, atheism, and religious apathy on the rise, particularly on the west coast, the need for Dominican preachers is greater than ever.
Today the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus continues to be at the forefront of teaching and preaching for the salvation of souls. We serve in parishes and campus ministries, international missions, special ministries for evangelization, prayer, education, and service to the poor and sick; as well as at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, which trains the future leaders of our Church and world.
There are currently 150 friars in the Province, preaching the Gospel in virtually every major city across the Western United States – from Anchorage, Alaska to San Diego, California to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Suggested Reading —
Mission West: The Western Dominican Province (1850-1966) by Fr. Fabian Stan Parmisano, O.P.