About the Order
The Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order, is a mendicant religious order founded by St. Dominic de Guzman in the early thirteenth century. It was formed to combat heresy through the preaching and living example of friars and priests who prepare themselves through thorough study. Dominicans are known for their love for learning and their undying service for the Truth. Hence, one of the Order's motto is "Veritas."
The Order was born during tumultuous times, when heresies were widespread and many people turned blind to the truth of the Catholic faith. St. Dominic's first community was formed in Toulouse (France) by the authority of the local Bishop. Afterwards, Dominic petitioned Pope Innocent III to approve the foundation of his new community so that they may be authorized to preach beyond Toulouse. Pope Innocent died, however, and was succeeded by Honorius III. It was him who immediately acceded to Dominic's request and granted the approval of the Order by issuing the bull, Religiosam Vitam, on 22 December 1216. A month later, on 21 January 1217, Honorius III issued a second bull, Gratiarum Omnium Largitori, which completed the confirmation of the Order by giving it its distinct name and character.
Back then, the authority of preaching was reserved to bishops who, as successors of the apostles, possessed the fullness of priesthood. Pope Honorius III clarified that this is not only an Order of men who happen to be preaching, but an Order of Friars Preachers.
Growth of the Order
The Order grew in membership that it became necessary to group Dominicans according to their geographical situation. These groups came to be known as Provinces. The Order also cherishes the democratic tradition it inherited from St. Dominic, which is the reason for the General Chapters and Provincial Chapters being held on a regular basis. Chapters are periodic gatherings of Dominicans in which the primary agenda is to discuss important matters and make collective decisions.
St. Dominic died in 1221, but his glorious legacy lives on. Others succeeded him in his position as Master of the Order. This unbroken line of Masters continue up to this day. The current Master of the Order is Rev. Fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, from the French Province.
We are One Dominican Family
800th Anniversary of the Order
In 2016, coinciding with the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by His Holiness Pope Francis, the Dominican Family celebrated the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Order with the theme, Sent to Preach the Gospel. The year-long celebration was marked by events all over the world, such as pilgrimages, conferences, recollections and retreats, liturgical celebrations, the opening of Jubilee Doors, and several works of mercy. The celebration was officially closed with a Mass celebrated by the successor of Honorius III, Pope Francis, on 21 January 2017, the 800th anniversary of the issuance of the second Bull of confirmation.