Western Dominican Province (Order of Preachers)
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Fr. John Marie Bingham, O.P.; 707.334.3114
Oakland, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Anchorage, AK; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; Tucson, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Mexicali, Mexico
Patron Saints/Famous Saints of the Community
St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Albert the Great, St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres
Dominicans are Preachers of Truth. By our life of prayer, study, regular observance, and preaching, we champion the Catholic Faith in the West.
Saint Dominic founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) for the salvation of souls. He ardently desired to radiate the truth of the Gospel and defend the beautiful richness of the Catholic Faith against those who would tarnish it.
It is said that when his mother, Bl. Jane of Aza, was pregnant with St. Dominic, she had a dream in which the saint was a dog with a torch in its mouth running through the world and setting it on fire. This prophetic vision came true. Approved by Pope Honorius III in 1216, Dominicans (‘Domini-canes’ in Latin; “Dogs of the Lord”) have run through the world preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and setting hearts on fire for 800 years.
Dominicans came to California from Spain in 1850 during the Gold Rush. Through itinerate preaching, digital outreach, parishes and Newman Centers, the Western Dominican Province continues to bring the radiant light of Truth to the front lines of a culture that, all too often, turns to the shadows.
The prayer of the Friars Preachers is firstly ecclesial. At the heart of our prayer is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the choral Divine Office that extends the praise of the Church throughout the day. Dominicans desire to pray with the Church in order to more effectively preach on behalf of the Church.
Secondly, our prayer is Marian. From the earliest days of the Order, the Friars Preachers have entrusted our efforts to Our Lady, imploring her aid as we seek to save souls. As promoters of the Rosary, Dominicans see Mary as our model for receiving the Incarnate Word of God and then bringing His Light to others.
Lastly, Dominican prayer is “actively contemplative”. One of our great mottos is ‘Contemplata aliis tradere’; "to hand on to others the fruits of our contemplation." This means that a Dominican seeks God in adoration and in study, not for himself alone, but so that he can share the joy of the Gospel with others. Our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament unites us with the mind and heart of Christ. Our study helps us peer more deeply into the Truth. But in a very real way, the wood of the desk and the wood of the choir stall are but two aspects of the same activity: turning our mind and heart to God so that we become more effective instruments of salvation!
Since we have 800 years of history, the Order of Preachers has many rich traditions. Perhaps it is worth noticing a tradition that is both ancient and obvious: our religious habit.
The habit worn by Dominicans since the earliest days of the Order has many layers of meaning. As with all religious garb, it indicates that we are consecrated to the service of Christ and the Church. The black and white that comprises the Dominican habit further signifies the joy of truth revealed when Christ Jesus is radiantly preached.
Of course, this does not mean that it is always easy to attain to this Truth. Thus, as part of our habit, we also carry the Rosary on our left side. Instead of a physical sword, we carry a sign of Our Lady’s power to shed light through contemplation on the mysteries of her Son’s life. With Mary, keeping these mysteries in our minds and hearts, the Dominicans are known as joyful preachers. The goodness, beauty and truth of God and His creation cannot but bring ardent joy to the lips of preachers!