The Dominicans Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

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University of Washington Newman

Dec 10, 2012

By Hien Minh Dao

The Dominicans at the Prince of Peace Chapel Newman Center in Seattle, WA are challenging their community members this Advent to break free from their routines of fulfilling only the bare minimum. The first step? A deeper immersion into the true meaning of Advent. Two big opportunities offered this liturgical season were a night of prayer before the First Sunday of Advent and a continuing daily reflection video series.


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On the evening of Saturday, December 1st, the community gathered for a prayer service integrating traditions from both the Eastern and Western Catholic rites.  Fr. Lukasz Misko, OP, Associate Director of the Center, began the night with a Holy Hour based on the Liturgy of the Hours in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament.  The congregation warmed up to the contemplative mood for the evening with the familiar pattern of psalms, readings, and canticles, with psalm tones and meditative Taizé chants sung in four part harmony, accompanied by harp, violin, and cello.

After a short break for fellowship and refreshments, Fr. Christopher Fadok, OP, Parochial Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle, and a Byzantine-Ukrainian Catholic with faculties in both Western and Eastern rites, led the congregation in the Byzantine “Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary,” a 6th century poem chanted to a melody from the famous Eastern Rite Pochaiv Monastery in the Ukraine.

With traditions that millions of Catholics have prayed throughout the centuries, the sense of community – in that particular group as well as with the Church as a whole – became tangible by the end of the night.  Alex Tiffin, a recent University of Washington graduate and Newman Center Alumnus said, “It was a great learning experience as well as a great spiritual experience. You are able to find the rhythm of the chants and focus entirely on prayer, while in communion with everyone participating.”  And as Fr. Lukasz commented, “it was as if the two lungs of the Church, East and West, were breathing together in prayerful expectation of the coming of the Lord.” It was a successful night of prayer and a great way to kick off the Advent season!

 To keep the fire going, the Dominican fathers of Blessed Sacrament priory are also shooting a daily reflection video series based on the themes of waiting, longing, and anticipation for the coming of our Lord.  Geared toward our busy students, these short videos are a great opportunity for them to reflect in midst of the chaos of school, work, and family.  It is also in response to the need of an innovation in our Evangelization in the digital age.

A new video is uploaded every morning and can be found on the UW Newman Center’s YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/NewmanCenterUW.

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