Lay Dominicans share in the mission of the Order in a special way. Living in the secular world, they have the opportunity as well as the responsibility to witness to the Risen Christ and to proclaim His Gospel, primarily through their living example. They are called to live as genuine Catholics, assisted on the way to Christian perfection by the Dominican way of life. The lay Dominican must strive so that the Lord Jesus Christ may be truly reflected in his/her thoughts, words, and deeds.
In order to prepare lay Dominicans for this lifelong commitment, the Rule mandates that each province shall establish a programme for the formation of new members, and provide for the permanent formation of Lay Dominicans (cf. Rule, No. 11). Their formation is guided by the Four Pillars of Dominican Life namely: Prayer, Study, Community, and Apostolate. The syllabus can be downloaded here.
The following are the stages of Lay Dominican formation in the Philippine Province:
This period, which lasts for 3-6 months up to 12 months, is intended to introduce the aspirant to the fraternity/community. It aims to expose him to its spirituality, practices, and activities.
This period covers at least three (3) months and may last up to six (6) months, to further determine one's aspiration to become a Lay Dominican. The following are expected of members from postulancy until after they make their perpetual profession:
This stage may take at least one (1) year, within which period the habit of study inculcated before is now intensified. A postulant is admitted to the Dominican Laity as a Novice once he/she passes the interview (examination). He/she is then vested with the small scapular in a Rite held for the purpose.
iv. temporary profession
The Novice is allowed to make a temporary profession after he/she passes the interview (examination). At this point, the promise is to live by the Rule for a period of at least three (3) years.The temporarily professed member may already affix the post-nominal "O.P." to his/her name.
v. perpetual profession
After at least three (3) years of temporary profession, one undergoes a final interview (examination). If the candidate passes, he/she is then allowed to make his/her perpetual profession as a Lay Dominican. This constitutes a promise to live according to the Rule for his/her whole life. The professed may affix "O.P." after his/her name.