To Learn and Serve

Residency year is typically the 4th year of formation for student brothers of the Western Dominican Province. During this time, we take a break from the usual academic routine and devote ourselves to ministry. Each of us is assigned to a Dominican parish or Newman Center where we get some real-life experience of what Dominican ministry is like.

I am now beginning my residency year at St. Dominic’s parish in Benicia, California, and I am very excited to be here. It is inspiring to work with the many active, joyful, and faithful parishioners at St. Dominic’s. I am also enjoying the wonderful Dominican family here, both my fellow friars with whom I live, as well as the Dominican laity who do so much for us.

Last year, I would sometimes ask the brothers on their residency year, "What do you do during residency?" And their response was often something like this: "It’s hard to say. It’s basically a lot of little things." Now that I am on residency year myself, I am beginning to understand what they meant. It is a very busy year, but the work is spread out into many different tasks and projects, including: preaching, visiting classes in the parochial school, leading prayer services, giving talks for various groups, facilitating book studies, helping out with Confirmation classes and religious education, visiting RCIA and marriage prep classes, and helping out with the liturgy.

There is much wisdom to having residency year take place in the middle of our formation, rather than at the beginning or the end. This way, our ministry can be informed by some previous study, while our latter study can be informed by previous ministry. As Dominicans we are particularly called to have this dialogue between study and ministry, and to continue this dialogue throughout our life.

I’ve already begun many of these ministries, and I’m in the process of planning more. It looks like it will be hard work, but it will be a good kind of hard work, namely, the kind that is a blessing to the one doing it. I am very happy to be here, and I look forward to this wonderful year-long opportunity to serve God and His Church.

-Br. Patrick Rooney, O.P.

Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE