THE ORDER of Preachers’ pointman for the Asia-Pacific has called on his fellow Dominicans to promote a “culture of encounter” by going to the peripheries and listening to the poor.
“The people in the periphery are central to our ministry. We are told twice to be served by the people we are intending to serve. We can become more effective in our preaching if we listen more attentively to what our hearers tell us,” Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P. said in a regional conference on Dominican Preaching in Asia and the Pacific.
Timoner, a member of the International Theological Commission, said preaching to build communities was not just pastoral ministry but a work of charity and a path to sanctity.
“When Dominic [de Guzman] expressed his wish to be buried at the feet of the preaching brothers, he wanted to be proximate, to what constitutes for him a path to sanctity – the preaching of the Gospel,” he said.
Timoner previously served as prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines and vice chancellor of UST.
Sr. Bernadette Kiley, O.P., coordinator of the Dominican Sisters International-Asia-Pacific, said educational institutions, as a major charism and ministry of the Dominicans, were avenues for inter-religious dialogue between students and scholars.
“It is [by] having in their schools children of other faiths. They may not actually sit down and talk to them about Christianity but they build bridges between the two faiths. Scholars would talk about what they have in common and that is what’s important,” she said.
Kiley lamented that economic growth and the desire for smaller families had led people to disregard religious life as an option.
Organized by the Dominican Province of the Philippines, the Institute of Preaching and the Dominican Family in the Philippines, “Vade Praedica” conference was held at the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. building in UST from Oct. 10 to 12.