POPE FRANCIS called on Dominicans to bring the Gospel to the peripheries and be inspirations for Christians worldwide in his message for the 800th death anniversary of St. Dominic.

“May the Order of Preachers be in the forefront of a renewed proclamation of the Gospel, one that can speak to the hearts of the men and women of our time and awaken in them a thirst for the coming of Christ’s kingdom of holiness, justice and peace,” the Pope said in a letter to the Master of the Order of Preachers, Fr. Gerard Timoner III, O.P.

The Pope emphasized the efforts of St. Dominic to establish an ecclesial community with a “fraternal unity and missionary discipleship” in preaching the Gospel through words and deeds.

“His (St. Dominic) witness to the mercy of Christ and his desire to bring its healing balm to those experiencing material and spiritual poverty was to inspire the foundation of your Order and shape the life and apostolate of countless Dominicans in varied times and places,” said the Pope.

In his response, Timoner thanked the Pope on behalf of Dominicans worldwide.

Timoner narrated how St. Dominic and the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, both embodied “saintly fraternity and friendship” as the foundation of their works of evangelization.

“Indeed, it is marvelous that on this providential coincidence of jubilees, a confrere of Ignatius, the first Pope who chose the name Francis writes a letter to the family of Dominic!” Timoner said.

On May 24, the Order of Preachers marked the anniversary of the Memorial of the Translation of St. Dominic, one of the two feast days honoring St. Dominic on the Dominican calendar.

Twelve years after his death, on May 24, 1233, Dominican friars moved St. Dominic’s body, during which, it was said, he emanated the “odor of sanctity,” a phenomenon recognized in Catholic theology as an indication of sainthood. M. A. O. Castillo and J. B. Martinez


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