Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:17-27)
For many, it’s back-to-school week. This is the season to sharpen pencils, sort fresh syllabus and lay out new school attire. The languor of summer is over; the full force of fall is upon us. Here at the parish, we conclude our St Dominic’s month of celebrations. One of the primary highlights of the past month was the completion of the seismic strengthening of the Church building that was initiated 25 years ago after the devastation of the Loma Prieta earthquake. With the scaffolding removed from the inside of the Church, the Christ in Glory window once again warms with radiant light. In recognition of this historic moment, our docents led a Grand Tour of the Church windows and statuary that was a wonderful success (we anticipate our next tour at 10:00 a.m. on Sept. 19). Also thanks to Zanna de Sant’Anna & Scott Moyer, the Photo Gallery on our website shines with the vibrant color of past events. In addition, I am grateful to all who made the celebrations of this past month come to life. The musical concerts, the lecture series and the festive culmination at our parish picnic: there was something for everyone as we honored our founder and patron.
Entering into fall, we look forward to new beginnings. RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) begins again this Tuesday. If you or someone you know is interested in entering more fully into the Church or this particular community, know that you are most welcome. Even if you have received all the sacraments, but simply want to renew your faith, join us at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall. Our Wednesday Women’s Bible Study resumes, along with a parallel group on Tuesday evening open to all in the parish as we study the prophet Isaiah. Our religious education for children and families resumes as well, with a pancake breakfast this Sunday morning!
Finally, this year will be the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order. St. Dominic established the Order of Preachers in 1216 to proclaim the Gospel for the salvation of souls, and for the past 800 years, his Order has endeavored to radiate the joy of the Gospel around the world. As a parish, we will celebrate with events both local and international. The launch of this Jubilee involves two dates which I invite you to save on your calendar. First, on Saturday, Oct. 31, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, O.P., the Master of the Dominican Order, will be here to celebrate the opening Mass for the Jubilee year. Worldwide, there are many options which would be an appropriate venue for such an event: Rome, Paris, London, or Bologna. Yet, he has chosen to come to San Francisco in order to usher in the 800th anniversary. All are invited to join Dominicans from far and wide to celebrate with us. The next Saturday, November 1, the former president of our Dominican School, Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P., will be the keynote speaker for a powerful day of prayer, conferences and commissioning as we launch this jubilee as a parish. I will keep you informed of the details of each of these historic days as the plans continue to take shape. St. Paul reminds us this weekend that in the midst of new beginnings, we are called to be doers of the word and not hearers only. May this Jubilee Year be a moment of renewal as we radiate the joy of the Gospel from the heart of the City.
~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.