here are certain diocesan priests who, urged by supernatural grace, discern a call to enroll in the Order of Saint Dominic and profess a rule of perfection suited to their state. In professing the Rule of Saint Dominic, these priests become true sons of Saint Dominic.
They become fully and definitively members of the Dominican Family and enjoy its spiritual benefits. In this way they become members of special communities called the Priestly Fraternities of Saint Dominic and add a new reason for pursuing greater perfection before God and the world. While the Order of Preachers provides them with spiritual aids and directs them to their own sanctification, it leaves them free for the complete service of the local Church, under the jurisdiction of their own bishop.
aint Dominic de Guzmán was born in 1170 to a noble family in Caleruega, Old Castile, Spain. He was inclined to the priesthood and, after training in philosophy and theology in Palencia, eventually became a canon regular in the canonry in the Cathedral of Osma,
following the rule of Saint Augustine. His life changed radically when he accompanied Diego de Acebo, the Bishop of Osma, on a diplomatic mission for Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, to secure a bride in Denmark for crown prince Ferdinand. While traveling, they encountered widespread heretical movements (especially Catharism) in southern France that led many souls away from the Catholic faith. This led to a radical change in Dominic, who sought thereafter to found an order of priests who would combat heresy through preaching and education, combining the contemplative life of the monastery with academic study in a way that imitated the poverty, chastity, and apostolic zeal of the first apostles. They would study the Scriptures and theology in order to be able to counter opponents of the faith, but also educate the clergy and the people so as to understand their faith better.
His order, founded in 1216 and approved by Pope Honorius III in 1216 and 1217 was named the Order of Preachers and immediately began to grow. The friars were sent to all the major universities of Europe and became well-known both for their deep theological wisdom and for their apostolic zeal in preaching. Representatives of the Order are as diverse as St. Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian, to St. Martin de Porres, the humble lay brother and porter, to St. Catherine of Siena, a lay Dominican woman who experienced mystical union with Christ in the midst of her prayers for the Church and priests. Their goal of preaching and the salvation of souls remains highly urgent in today’s world. Professed members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Dominic follow Dominic’s way in the Order of Preachers through ministry in the diocesan priesthood.
St. Dominic de Guzmán
Now associated with the mission of the Order to praise, bless, and preach, this commitment will characterize their diocesan ministry. Drawing from them effective spiritual support on the path of their sanctification and sharing their pastoral concerns, they are careful to account for the expectations of the people of God so that the Dominican family offers adjusted proposals.
–Fr. Guido Vergauwen, OP
Upon the Erection of the Priestly Fraternity in Switzerland (29 April 2018)