This past week we enjoyed a surprise visit from Fr. Ken Sicard, O.P., the Executive Vice President of Providence College. Fr. Ken was in town for meetings of the Economic Council of the worldwide Dominican Order. He stopped in to the PC/CEA Center to see the new premises, greet students, and get to know our Rome Program better.
The students really appreciated the fact that Fr. Ken took the time to visit. They were able to share with him the good things that have been happening here this semester and to learn about how things are going back home on campus. Indeed, his visit helped all of us to feel connected to Providence. Having a Dominican visit our Rome Program highlights the Dominican identity of Providence College.
Providence College was founded in 1917 by the Dominican Order. The Dominican Tradition has its origin in the life and ministry of St. Dominic de Guzman (1172 – 1221), the son of a Spanish noble, who founded one of the largest religious Orders in the Catholic Church. His charismatic vision of a way of responding to the needs of the Church in the thirteenth century led to the establishment of the Order of Preachers –popularly known as the Dominicans.
One of my priorities this year as Faculty Resident Director is to look for ways to enhance the Dominican Mission of our Program here. Exploring the Dominican charism through publications, conference papers, and keynote addresses around the country has been part of my academic pursuit since being hired at Providence College. And so my time in Rome has given me the opportunity to introduce our students to the Dominican tradition in very direct and tangible ways. In addition to bringing the students for a tour of Santa Sabina, the international headquarters of the Order, as was done in the last two semesters of PC Rome, I’ve been working on expanding our “Dominican-related activities”. To that end, here’s what I’ve done:
Our Academic Colloquium in October was given by Fr. Alejandro Crosthwaite, O.P. from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum).
Last week, Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, O.P., a doctoral student in Canon Law at the Angelicum, led us on a Site Visit of St. Peter’s Basilica.
And on Sunday, Fr. Dominic Izzo, O.P., Socius for the USA, celebrated a Mass with us in the Cell of St. Dominic at Santa Sabina.
In November, Fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., Socius for the Intellectual Life of the Order, will lead an extensive Site Visit of the Basilica and Convent of Santa Sabina for our Program.
I think it’s important for our students to get a sense of the international character of the Dominican Order, its history, legacy, and mission in the Church today. These experiences should provide that. After all, a Friar is more than just a basketball mascot!