This past week I had the pleasure of visiting St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, my former home parish in McComb, Mississippi. I arrived there a few minutes before mass began, and I saw the most wonderful thing. A young, African-American girl in the front pew got up and ran across the church into the welcoming, warm arms of a young Caucasian woman and her family. Since then
I have been asking myself, why has this encounter been so moving for me? On one hand, this interaction came as no surprise for St. Alphonsus has always been on the forefront of advocacy for racial and socio-economic equality. On the other hand, what inspired me most was how a new encounter could lead the way for a new history.
Community life, the second pillar of the Dominican char.ism, requires both a knowledge and appreciation of one's history and openness to new encounters which make way for a new history. Our Dominican church family's history is something that we are proud of here at Holy Rosary. At the same time, this history can only be honored if we work to enhance our traditions and customs by seeking new encounters with the Lord and one another. We must worship together in the present without forgetting the wisdom of our past customs. We also must remember our past without being paralyzed by "how things were done before".
The Holy Spirit invites you and I as members of this Dominican church family to get up from our pews and nm towards a new encounter within our community. These next few weeks we will be exploring what allows or blocks these new encounters from happening. In the meantime, I invite you to pray for the grace to get up from your pews and walk towards a new encounter, a new history.
-br. James Martin Nobles, O.P.