What makes St. Catherine’s different than other Salt Lake City parishes? Some may mention the liturgy, or architecture, or the strong sense of community. One should definitely mention its character as a university parish, a Newman Center. Now, my hope is that along with these features another quality gets listed: that St. Catherine’s is a Dominican parish.
Why does that matter? The most basic answer is our Dominican fraternal life. That fraternal life is what initially attracted me to the Dominican Order, and it is at the heart of our ongoing discernment of the model of leadership that would best suit our community here at St. Catherine’s. Dominicans are brothers together. This means that we live an intentional and communal life, always striving to use each man’s talents together for one common goal: preaching and the salvation of souls. Our fraternal life means that our individual ministries and projects stem out of our shared reflection on the needs of the Church. And in order to answer these needs well, we need to keep leveraging our talents.
So what is happening with the St. Catherine’s Dominicans? By now most of you have heard about our new addition, Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP. He will be joining Fr. Jacek Buda, OP, who served at Juan Diego Catholic HS last year, and me, which brings the number of Dominican friars at St. Catherine’s to three. Why do we need that many, you could ask? Well, I strongly believe that this is actually the only way to let the specific quality of Dominican ministry do its “magic”. The fraternity with which we approach the people entrusted to our care requires this variety of personalities and talents, so that we can best serve the diverse needs of St. Catherine’s and of the Church in Utah. In order to optimize our performance, we came up with the following model assigning primary responsibilities to each friar:
- Jacek will be the pastor of the parish, taking care of the sacramental life, faith formation, and the administrative needs of St. Catherine’s;
- Lukasz will be the campus minister, reaching out to the University of Utah, Westminster College, and Salt Lake Community College, and organizing the faith formation programs of the Newman Center with the help of student leaders;
- Marcin will work with all the communities at St. Catherine’s, helping with the sacramental life and faith formation of our diverse ministries.
Having said that, I need to add that this division of labor is only an approximation, as the specific tasks each of us will get involved with will depend on both our ongoing fraternal discernment and your continuing feedback.
We are undertaking a division of labor, not a division of love. Each of us will be present to the whole St. Catherine’s community in a way that takes advantage of our talents most effectively. You can expect each of us to celebrate Masses and preach on a rotating basis, each of us to be available for confession or conversation, each of us to be involved with the spiritual, the intellectual, and the social life of the parish. To put it simply, our desire is to divide responsibilities to unite us more intimately in our one goal: to be present and attentive to what our individuals and families need in their journey of faith.
May St. Catherine of Siena with her zealous love of the Gospel inspire all of us as we work together on the shape of our faith community.