The Order of Friars Preachers founded by Saint Dominic “is known from the beginning to have been instituted especially for preaching and the salvation of souls.”
How do we understand what preaching is? The act of preaching is as much a dynamic of communion as it is communication. The end of preaching is to cause hearers to move closer to the Person of Christ. Preaching is about this approach of persons to God. Preaching is not just about helping others “understand better.” It is not enough just to communicate a message. We are called to preach the Person of Christ, not merely the message of Christ. The end of preaching is not that people “like the sermon” but that they “catch fire.” Preaching must effect in the hearer a palpable movement in truth and grace toward Christ. In this way, preaching is quasi-sacramental.
In authentic preaching, a connection is made in which people realize that “there’s something more going on.” Good preaching makes the hearer eager for communion. Preaching has “the inside track” versus other modes of communication precisely because it builds such communion; it is given person to person. Thus, a theology of reception is important in preaching: “I have to listen to their listening.” Preaching can be deemed successful if the response of the congregation is “we knew how much he loved us.” Accordingly, for Dominican preachers, community remains the seedbed of preaching. Good preachers are attractive human beings. When preaching is effective, the response will be like that heard once by a friar: “At last! Someone who believes!”
The friars of the Priory of the Immaculate Conception preach in a variety of contexts in the local area. Priests from the House of Studies celebrate Mass every Sunday and throughout the week at parishes, convents, schools, and military chaplaincies throughout the Washington, DC area. Brothers ordained to the transitional diaconate serve at local parishes in Washington and Arlington.