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Monday, 29 January 2007 15:50

Written by  Br. Matthew Augustine, OP

Amidst all the discussions surrounding Intentional Disciples over the past few days, you may have noticed that another name was quietly added to the list of contributors: Br. Matthew Augustine, OP. That’s me. A little about myself: I’m a Dominican friar of the Western Province and am studying toward priesthood. Currently I’m living at St. Albert Priory in Oakland while attending school at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley. Before entering the Dominicans four years ago I had only the faintest idea what the Catherine of Siena Institute was and what it did. A friend had taken the Called and Gifted Workshop and, over coffee and desert at a Denny’s somewhere in the greater Seattle area, I and some other friends quickly glanced over the materials she had brought back with her. Given that I was going through the confusing process of discerning a religious vocation at the time, the last thing I wanted was more discernment. The material nevertheless looked interesting and my friend was clearly enthusiastic about her experience. I made a mental note to look into it later. ‘Later’ turned out to be shortly after I had entered the Dominican Order. Having learned that the CSI was a ministry of my Province (it was co-founded by Sherry and one of our friars, Fr Michael Sweeney), I picked up the Called and Gifted tape set and listened to it every day as I went jogging around Oakland. I was totally riveted by what I heard and was probably lucky I didn’t get struck by a car. I had never heard the Church’s teaching regarding the laity articulated before. Drawing primarily from the Documents of Vatican II and from the pontificate of John Paul II, Sherry and Fr. Michael gave a powerful account of the dignity and importance of the lay vocation and apostolate. Given that I may someday be teaching and helping form lay people, I sensed that I should know this material better. I consulted the documents referenced in the workshop and began my own study of the theology of the laity by way of one of the great Dominican theologians of the last century, Yves Congar. Next, having met Fr. Michael and Sherry, I volunteered to help teach the workshop and have been doing so, off and on, over the past couple years. I am excited to be a contributor to Intentional Disciples and hope that my voice adds to the ongoing dialogue here. There is much to explore and discuss.

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