November 7 was a cold and rainy day in Lufkin, but the Monastery chapel was filled with light and music and joy as we celebrated our opening Mass for the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order! The chapel was filled with guests and many stayed to continue the celebration afterwards with a lovely dinner and then recreation with the nuns.
The chapel all decorated for Mass and general celebration
We were delighted to have all the branches of the Dominican family present at the Mass! There were friars (represented by our chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP), several members of our local chapter of the Dominican Laity, active sisters represented by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima (who come from Puerto Rico and are currently working in our diocese), and of course the nuns! The first three groups formed a traditional Dominican procession and processed into chapel as the nuns sang the Jubilee Hymn, "Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare" accompanied by organ, guitar and African drum. And of course everyone joined in the singing!
Mass. From left: Deacon Jesus Reyes, Fr. Marcos Ramos OP, Fr. Ron Foshage MS, Fr. Bill Manger, and Fr. Gavin Vaverek
There was a beautiful ceremony involving lighted candles, symbolizing Dominican preaching:
Fr. Marcos hands a lighted candle to Sr. Maria Guadalupe
The four branches of the Dominican family: a friar, a sister, a lay member, and a nun
After the Mass and dinner we met again in the Gate Parlor to share about Dominican life and how the Dominicans have influenced different people. It was a beautiful experience!
Some members of the Dominican Laity in the Gate Parlor
The Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima were all talented musicians and they played and sang several songs for us!
It was truly a blessed day and a wonderful start to our Jubilee year! Thanks so much to all who came and prayed and celebrated with us. And if you missed it this time, don't worry...we'll have other special celebrations throughout this Jubilee year!
You can see a few more pictures of this eventful day on our website, here.