Dominicans at St. Raymond Parish to stress ‘preaching to the unchurched’
June 20th, 2013
By Valerie Schmalz
The Dominicans are coming to St. Raymond Parish in Menlo Park.
And they are bringing an emphasis on Blessed John Paul II’s new evangelization to the parish and school.
“For us, what is central about being parish priests is that we try to guide the parish in the direction of becoming a center of the new evangelization,” said Dominican Father Christopher Fadok, who was appointed pastor effective July 1 by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. “We cannot be satisfied with preaching only to those who come to Mass. Each one should be the basis for preaching to the unchurched.”
The Archdiocese of San Francisco signed an agreement with the Western Province of the Order of Preachers to administer St. Raymond. Six friars will form a community there.
They are: Father Fadok and parochial vicar Dominican Father Ambrose Sigman, ordained May 31; Dominican Father Eugene Sousa, Corpus Christi Monastery chaplain, part-time. In residence will be Dominican Father Xavier Lavagetto, who is ending his tenure as pastor of St. Dominic and will join Stanford Catholic community director Dominican Father Nathan Castle; Dominican Father Patrick O’Neil, director of Vallombrosa Center.
Father Fadok said he is working with St. Raymond’s pastoral council and the liturgy committee to create a liturgy plan which will be the focus for the first year or two. He expects to offer the Liturgy of the Hours in the church so parishioners can pray the prayers with the Dominicans, to offer confession before Mass, and to schedule eucharistic adoration. Adoration and confessions might be offered during the times when parents are dropping off and picking up kids from school, he said, suggesting that might be one way to make the faith more accessible to busy Catholics.
A quarterly Mass for anointing of the sick is another idea that the parish council and Father Fadok are tossing around, he said.
“I think what we want to do is to make sure the liturgy is celebrated with a great sense of prayer, a great sense of reverence and also with a strong focus on hospitality,” Father Fadok said. “One practical thing it will mean is adding a lot more greeters, making sure there are folks at the door to put on a smile.”
The Dominicans meeting in 1995 in Spain voted for legislation that mandates the focus on new evangelization, Father Fadok said. “We are still discovering how to do that. I don’t want to at all suggest we have some perfect model. It is a process of discovery.”
Father Fadok will celebrate a Mass June 30 at the parish with parish administrator Father Edward Inyanwachi who was called back to Nigeria by his bishop and for whose assistance with the transition Father Fadok expressed “great personal gratitude.”
St. Raymond will become the second archdiocesan parish to be run by the Order of Preachers. Unlike the case of St. Dominic Parish in San Francisco, where the church and grounds are owned by the order, St. Raymond’s will remain the property of the archdiocese, said Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, who noted the outreach to the Dominicans was begun by Archbishop George Niederauer and continued by Archbishop Cordileone.
Father Fadok, 45, is a former software engineer who grew up in Arizona. He was ordained in 2010 at St. Dominic Church in San Francisco and for the past three years served as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Seattle.
From June 21, 2013 issue of Catholic San Francisco.