Master of Dominicans On Flying Visit to Sydney

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
14 Jun 2013

Master General of the Dominican Order, Fr Bruno Cadoré met with Notre Dame University staff during his visit to Sydney

French-born Master General of the Dominican Order, Fr Bruno Cadoré OP met with staff and students at the Broadway campus of the University of Notre Dame this week during his whistle-stop tour of Australia.

In Sydney for just under 24 hours, Fr Cadoré spent Tuesday evening with the Dominican community at St James Priory, Glebe. The Bishop of Parramatta, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP joined the community and shared the evening meal with Prior of St James, Fr John Neill OP and Fr Cadoré.

Also at the meal was Fr Andrew Forlan OP who is among the first of four Polish Dominicans to have completed chaplaincy ministries at Columbia University in the US and will take up similar roles as chaplains to the University of Western Sydney.

After the meal, a plenary session was held where Fr Cadoré  spoke of how to preach as St Dominic himself would have preached both in terms of what needed to be said as well as how it was said.

"He also emphasised the importance of how this should be a corporate effort of the entire Dominican community as well as an individual effort," Fr Neill explains.

The following day, as is the tradition for the Master General of the Dominican Order, Fr Cadoré met with individual members of Australia's Dominican community, including members of the Dominican Sisters from Santa Sabina College, Strathfield; the Sydney-based community of Nashville's Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia; and the Dominican Sisters of Malta who run aged care and nursing homes for the elderly in Blacktown, NSW.

Fr Bruno Cadoré with University of Notre Dame Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Hayden Ramsay

Fr Cadoré also met with the Dominican laity and students from the University of Sydney and UTS. As chaplain to both universities,  Fr Dominic Murphy OP and his recent replacement, Fr Paul Rowse OP have been responsible for helping many students with faith formation and in discerning their true vocations, with quite a large proportion of these young men now in training as priests at the Dominic's Priory in Camberwell Victoria.

Despite his crowded schedule, Fr Cadoré found time to meet with students and staff at the Sydney Campus of the University of Notre Dame (UNDA).

On Wednesday he led a votive Mass of St Dominic at St Benedict's Church, Broadway before joining the university's staff and students as well as members of the Dominican community for lunch, and later giving a short address on the role of St Dominic in today's Church.

"Spreading the Good News is the responsibility of all those who walk in the footsteps of St Dominic," he said.

On this his first visit to the Dominican Province of the Assumption which spans Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, Fr Cadoré told those present that to be a preacher following in the footsteps of St Dominic was not about speaking from the pulpit and telling people what to think, what to believe, what to be and what to do and what not to do.

"The main goal of preaching is to go far from the temple to reach those who will not gather around. Go from the pulpit to the people and introduce the people to our best friend: Christ,'" he urged.

Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia, Sr Maria Kolbe (left) and Sr Mary Rachel Capets (right) with Fr Bruno Cadore

Fr Cadoré , to whom Dominicans owe their obedience, was elected Master General of the Order of the  Preachers in September 2010, becoming the 87th successor to St Dominic.

Trained as a physician, the 59-year-old entered the Dominican novitiate in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1986. An authority on bioethics he was awarded a doctorate in Moral Theology in 1992 and for much of the 1990s served as Director of the Catholic University in Lille, France.

Prior to his election as Master General , he served as Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of France.

As Master General of the world's Dominicans he will serve for nine years and during this time will visit every Dominican province and meet with every Dominican priest, brother, religious and the laity of the region.

Prior to arriving in Sydney, he spent three days in Melbourne with those in training as future Dominican priests.

"The fact every Dominican has a physical as well as spiritual connection with the Master goes back to more than 800 years to the days of St Dominic himself," explains Fr John Neill and described the past week for Dominicans across Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Solomons as both important and inspiring.

He was also particularly pleased, Fr Cadoré was able to visit UND's Sydney campus and meet with students and staff there.

"Having been part of the initial Notre Dame project 25 years ago when the first campus was being established in WA, the university has had a strong connection with the Dominicans," he says.

Fr John Neill OP (centre) with UND's Chaplain Fr Lam Vu (left) and St Benedict's parish priest, Fr Michael de Stoop

Fr Neill was the first Chaplain of the University of Notre Dame of Australia and helped with the design of the university's core curriculum. All students at UND from all disciplines and on each of the university's campuses in Fremantle, Broome and Sydney must study Ethics, Philosophy and Theology at a tertiary first year level as part of their degree.

"This makes UND distinctive and not just another university," Fr Neill says, heartened that the very spirit of St Dominic is present in university life.

Saint Dominic whose Order of Preachers was the first instituted by the Church with an academic mission was given Rome's ancient Santa Sabina Basilica by Pope Honorius III in 1220.

"But instead of living there, St Dominic chose Bologna. At the time Bologna University led the world in the teaching of civil and canon law. The University assisted him in the formation of the Constitution of the Dominican Order," Fr Neill says and recounts how during this formative period of Dominican life, St Dominic sent Dominicans to the university towns in Europe to preach and spread the Word.