Opening the Jubilee 800 in Macau


The Dominican Family throughout the world opened the Jubilee 800 of their Order, the Order of Preachers (OP), on November 7, 2015, which is the Feast-day of All the Dominican Saints. Dominic’s Family is composed of four branches: nuns, brothers, sisters, and lay and priestly fraternities. All celebrated the Opening Rite of the Jubilee 800 either within the Holy Eucharist or with the Morning or Evening Prayer.

The Dominican Family in Macau opened the Jubilee’s year-long celebration at the Chapel of St. Dominic’s Priory with the Evening Prayer. The Macau Family is composed at present of fifty three brothers and sisters belonging, the brothers to Our Lady of the Rosary Province, and the sisters to the Congregation of Dominican Missionaries of the Rosary. The Dominicans were accompanied by five candidates of a new Dominican branch soon to be formally organized – a Lay Fraternity -, and by some friends of the Dominicans in Macau. With their simple and solemn opening, the Macau Dominicans joined, in prayer and hope, the whole Dominican Family throughout the world.

The Opening Rite began with the singing of the first stanza of the song of the Year of Consecrated Life (2015): “Wake up the world – with dawning joy.” It followed with the reading of the Message of the Master of the Order of Preachers, fray Bruno Cadoré. The Message was read by fray Edmond Eh Kim Chew. In his message, fray Bruno greeted joyfully all the members of the Dominican Family from Santa Sabina (Rome) where “Dominic’s preaching was rooted.” “Preaching the Gospel of peace is to preach life given in abundance by the crucified Messiah.”

Another significant number of the opening of the Jubilee was the Ritual of the Light. The presiding brother, fray Fausto Gomez, offered to God the large Jubilee Candle and asked him to guide us with the light of the Gospel and the fire of Dominic. Then he lighted the Dominican Candle near the door of the chapel and carried it in procession to the left side of the altar while the remaining stanzas of “Wake up the world” were sung by all: “Let us wake up the world with uplifting words of hope.”

Thereafter, the two Psalms (89 and 98) and the Canticle (Col 1:12-20) of Vespers were recited. The Gospel proclamation (Mt 10:5-16) followed: “And as you go proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The homilist commented: “This is the chapter from Mathew’s Gospel we apply to our Father and Founder Dominic, who continues sending us today to preach the Gospel everywhere as itinerant preachers. Indeed, as the motto of the Jubilee cries out: “Sent to preach.”

The presider of the opening ceremonies continued: “Throughout the world, the different branches of the Dominican Family will carry out many and different activities through the Jubilee Year. The external activities are directed to internal renewal. The eight hundred years Jubilee is, above all, “a dynamic process of renewal” – of communal and personal renewal. No real renewal is possible, however, without internal personal renewal and change. Every Dominican, each one of us will change – that is be converted – if he or she really wants: God always helps but He does not force.” He added: “Someone has suggested to all religious that the easiest and most available method for continuing renewal and conversion is active attention to our liturgical calendar: to the daily recitation of the Divine Office, the daily celebration of the Eucharist, the especial celebration of the seasons (particularly Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter), the commemoration of our saints, and devotion to Mary and to her Rosary. Thus, our daily prayer, personal and communitarian, marks the rhythm of every day and helps each one of us do what we ought to do – our evangelizing mission – in our educational, theological, and pastoral apostolate.”

After the Homily, the moving ceremony of lighting the little individual candle took place: six members (three postulants of the sisters and three professed brothers) lighted their candles from the Dominican Candle; they in turn lighted the little candle every Dominican was holding. With all the candle-lights burning, the lovely Hymn of the Jubilee was sung by all. It sounded so youthful, joyful and alive! Indeed, the Jubilee is a glorious time to laudare, benedicere et praedicare: “Laudare, we praise our Lord with our saints / Benedicere, we lift our voice in song / Praedicare, we proclaim Your Word to the world.” (By the way, the text inscribed on the Dominican Candle is the text of the treasured O Lumen Ecclesiae, which all Dominicans sing or recite every day after Evening or Night Prayer)

The General Intercessions asking God’s graces were closely linked to Dominican preaching. All responded: “Breathe on us once more with the Spirit of the Risen Christ.” The whole congregation then praised and thanked the good Lord for the countless blessings received from his generosity through eight centuries: “Holy God we praise thy name.” The Jubilee Prayer was sung (in Latin) by the brothers and sisters: “We ask you to pour again into us the Spirit of the Risen Christ that we may faithfully and joyfully proclaim the Gospel of peace.”

After the Final Blessing, the congregation sung the Marian song Dominicans sing every evening after the O Lumen Ecclesiae: the Salve Regina to Our Lady and Mother Mary, especial protector of the Dominican Order since the time of St. Dominic.
The Jubilee 800 celebration is a fourteen and a half months pilgrimage of renewal. The Macau Dominicans were kindly asked: “Let us put the mobile of our heart on the Jubilee Mode.” With the Opening Rite, the brothers and sisters of the Dominican Family in Macau – like all the Dominicans world-wide – have just taken the first step of the Jubilee journey, a journey that is taking them back to their origins, forward to a hopeful future by their passionate, creative and faithful commitment to preach the Gospel with apostolic zeal in the present. The words of the brother presiding the ritual of opening still echo in the hearts of the Macau Dominicans: “May the Dominican Candle illumine our Jubilee and fire up the hearts of all those who are sent – all of us -, in the words of Pope Honorius III (who confirmed the Order), to proclaim the Word of God, to preach “everywhere the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

With Mary’s motherly protection, and with the sure help of our Father Dominic and the other Dominican saints, the Dominicans continue the journey: the unique Jubilee 800 Journey!

(Fr. Jarvis Sy directed the Opening Rite with the help of the Dominican sisters and brothers. Fr. Jose Luis de Miguel and Sr. Begoña Abad assisted him earlier in planning it according to the directives from the Jubilee 800 Central Committee of the Order. To each and all: God bless, and many thanks)