Over 30 Dominican Friars came together in La Verna, near Vanderbijlpark, on 19 January for their annual meeting which prefaced their elective Chapter at which a new vicar general would be elected.Also present was Fr Dominic Izzo, representing the Master of the Order, and Fr Emmanuel NTAKARUTIMANA of Burundi who would moderate the meeting.
The vicar general, Fr Sikhosiphi Mgoza opened the proceedings with a warm welcome to our visitors after which the programme was finalized.
The brethren then gathered in the chapel for a service to mark the launch of the 800th anniversary since the founding of the Order - Jubilee 800. Similar services were held in other parts of the world. The simple service began with the reading of the gospel of Luke and the anointing of Jesus marking the beginning of his ministry. Fr Emmanuel then shared on the gospel and the implication of jubilee. Jubilee was a time of rest and a time of setting free those who were enslaved in any way. It was a time of freedom and liberation, a time of forgiveness and reconciliation. What was needed was courage and wisdom as one faced the future in a new spirit.
After the service in the chapel, Fr Joseph Falkiner, one of the senior brothers in the Vicariate, followed by all the brethren, carried the freshly lit Jubilee 800 candle in a procession to an adjoining hall while a hymn was sung. Each brother was given a candle which was lit from the Jubilee candle after which all were invited to offer a prayer of thanks for something received through the Order over the years. This was a moving moment as many brothers recalled with gratefulness the ways in which the Order had touched them over the years. Then followed a prayer and dismissal and the singing of the Dominican Salve Regina and the anthem in honor of St Dominic, the O Lumen.
After the blessing and dismissal there was a joyous celebration and recreation.