After 154 years, Dominicans leaving Most Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch

Last Dominican-run parish in Oakland diocese; Dominicans withdrew from St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley in 2017, and from ministries at the University of California's San Diego and Riverside campuses

Very Rev. Mark Padrez, OP (from The Catholic Voice)

The Oakland-based Western Dominican Province announced Dec. 4 it had made the “painful decision” to withdraw from Most Holy Rosary Church, which serves a thriving parish, including an elementary school of 3,000 families.

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, has pledged his support “to make this as smooth a transition as possible.”

The Dominican province said in the letter it began discerning in 2014 the need to the build up its communities. It needed to balance being faithful to their common life and ensuring their ministries were well-staffed.

“We also saw the reality that we are an aging province and simply do not have enough friars to properly staff our ministries,” the letter said,

The letter-writers are encouraged by 24 students and novices in formation, but noted that it takes six to eight years to prepare a student for ordination and pastoral ministry.

During his time as provincial, Very Rev. Mark Padrez, OP, said, there have been 21 funerals and “not even close to that many ordinations.”

Most Holy Rosary is the only parish from which the Dominicans are withdrawing this year. It is their last parish in the Diocese of Oakland. Last year, the Dominicans withdrew from St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, which they had served since 1923, and from ministries at the University of California’s San Diego and Riverside campuses.

“We’ve been there for 143 years,” said Father Padrez. “This was not an easy decision.”

But it was a decision rooted in the Dominican charism, Father Padrez said.

“We need to be careful and remember who we are,” he said. “We are called to community life, study and prayer.”

That community life is thriving in some of the places the Western Dominicans serve: There are 11 members of the Dominican community, not including novices, at St. Dominic Parish in San Francisco; seven in Seattle and Los Angeles; and six at St. Dominic Parish in Benicia.

Full story at The Catholic Voice.

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  1. This is sad, and even tragic for the people of Antioch, but Fr Mark Padrez leads the Dominicans wisely, prayerfully and with keen attention to the movement of the Holy Spirit. True Dominican life, and all religious communities, depend very much on community life and that life being full of “community”.

  2. Robert March says:

    Since we Catholics contracept and abort at about the same rate as the rest of society, and have been doing so for decades, Catholic families are smaller, and the pool of potential new clergy and religious is smaller, too. Add to that the dilution of the role of the priesthood in the Novus Ordo mass, the consequent loss of priestly prestige, the prevalence of homosexuals in the priesthood and hierarchy, and the lingering stigma of the abuse-coverup disaster, and it’s no wonder that new vocations are few.

  3. Liberal Mark says:

    Love the Dominicans. Sorry to see them leave the parish after so many years of dedicated service.

  4. Sadly the Dominicans ranks like those of other modern religious communities like the Franciscans and Jesuits are dying. Many parishes will close over time as there won’t be enough modern religious to staff them. This is an awful and dangerous trend. Someday without a turn-around/catholic resurgence, there won’t be any modern religious communities to assist modern catholics. The good news is Roman Catholic parishes practicing tradition(e.g. the TLM) are growing in numbers and size. That news pertains to parishioners and religious! Our Lord stated it very clearly that He will be with His disciples to the end of time. He keeps His promises!

  5. St. Christopher says:

    Well, well, chickens coming home to roost, are they? So many good and wonderful Dominicans, that is prior to the implementation of Vatican II. This “community” is likely in its death spiral now. Perhaps the Traditional Dominicans will save the day for that order; too early to say.

    There is always the Benedict Option, versus the “going home to die,” one.

    • St. Christopher, you’re actually promoting ex-Catholic Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” term?!?

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      Correct.

      The Western Province of the Dominicans, with its storied history, which prior to 1962 had between 150 and 200 priests, is now reduced to only about 40 priests active in the apostolate.

      24 men in formation, comprising over an average of 6-8 years’ training, assuming all of them remain and are ordained, is completely insufficient to offset the retirements.

  6. The real reason: Given the number of properties and high cost of living in the areas where this religious organization resides, it is mere impossible to maintain these facilities. Fact, less catholics attending the already few parishes they are taking care of, where they offer little to no support other than that quick mass they offer where homilies lack “the spirit of the Lord” and new religious who want to be “cool”, or to separated from the role of the priesthood. Thus, no wonder lack of vocations, if one notices the high cost of educating a “religious”, expensive, takes many years, and even when that is done, there is always the risk of potential low sanctity and tendencies to embrace modernism . But this is not a surprising…

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