Dominicans worldwide pray for their deceased parents

Washington D.C., Feb 11, 2018 / 05:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Dominican friars around the world celebrated a unique tradition last week: they offered Masses for their deceased parents and for all deceased parents of friars. Feb. 7 is specifically designated in the Dominican order’s liturgical calendar as a day of prayer for the deceased parents of all Dominicans.

The Dominicans regularly dedicate themselves to pray for the repose of souls. Each day the friars pray for the souls of those Dominicans who passed away on that date. And Dominican priests are bound to offer Mass for recently-departed brother priests.

“Most Dominican friars have heard at some point in their life that the Dominican Order is not only a good order to live in, it’s a great order to die in. That’s because from its foundation, the Dominican order has had a strong devotion to praying for the dead,” said Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., academic dean of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., in an interview with CNA.

“Every day, friars gather to pray for the souls of their brothers who have died on that particular day. When a friar dies, his brethren who are priests are bound in obedience to offer a Mass for him, and one rosary each week said by a friar is for the souls of his deceased brethren.”

Petri thinks the custom of praying for deceased parents developed because “unlike other orders in the history of the Church, the Dominican order rejected a sense that that friars are cut off from their family, like men dead who rise again in the service of Christ,”

Despite their total dedication to the order’s mission, the Dominicans respect the fact that without their parents, they would not have been born, and therefore would have never become friars.

“In filial piety, we recognize that we wouldn’t be here without them. Therefore, we constantly pray for the parents of the brethren, and most especially, when the parents of the brethren die. Like our devotion to praying for our deceased brothers, we pray for our deceased parents and celebrate Mass for their repose.”

The Masses celebrated by Dominicans on Feb. 7 had a bit of an adjustment to the normal words of the liturgy. Petri explained that the friars prayed a special prayer that God would have mercy for their parents, and that one day, they themselves will be reunited with them in heaven.

“(…)we pray, in the words of the Collect for the Mass, that God have mercy in his compassion on our parents, forgive them their sins, and bring us to see them one day in the gladness of eternal joy.”


1 Comment

  1. On page 60 of the Enchiridion for Indulgences, is a plenary indulgence that the Church should be announcing from the roof tops but it hasn’t:

    N. 18. To the faithful in danger of death who cannot be assisted by a priest to bring them the sacraments and impart the apostolic blessing with its attendant plenary indulgence (according to canon 468, 2 of the Code of Canon Law) Holy Mother Church nevertheless grants a plenary indulgence to be acquired at the point of death, provided they are properly disposed and have been in the habit of reciting some prayers during their lifetime. To use a crucifix or cross in connection with the acquisition of this plenary indulgence is a laudable practice.
    ” properly disposed” is not explained but could mean the plenary’s ordinary requirement of
    “detachment even from all venial sin” or it could mean simply a reverent attitude since at the point of death who would still be attached to venial sin if they also had a reverent attitude in facing death. So in many cases, Dominican parents followed the good thief in skipping purgatory but not in all cases. Their tradition is laudable but very committed Catholics who persevere to the end avoid Purgatory per the above grant which St. Teresa of Lisieux urged all to do. She may have even been the sole motivator of the Church granting the above plenary such was her committment against purgatory if you could avoid it.

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