The Dominican Friars are a Roman Catholic religious order officially called the Order of Preachers. Our provincial headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois. As the United States Central Province, with 200 members, we minister primarily in the Midwest, but our work extends throughout the world. Our ministries span from Albuquerque to Detroit, from St. Louis to Minneapolis, then on to Bolivia, France, Switzerland, Rome, and Nigeria and Kenya.
St. Paul posed these two questions, along with their implied answers, to the Romans of his time.
St. Dominic acted on these words. Thirteen centuries later, in 1216, St. Dominic de Guzman responded to a desperate need for informed preaching by founding the Order of Preachers. He trained his preachers to affirm the world as the place where Christ was discovered and to counter false teachings which denied human dignity. Because of him we are called Dominicans and continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in our world today.
Dominic began a new form of religious life, the life of the friar. Before this time, religious life had been monastic, but, with Dominic, the secluded monastery gave way to priories in the cities. From their priories, the friars went out to preach. The friars returned to their priories to be refreshed by prayer and to be supported by the brothers.
Dominic knew that the preaching of the Gospel must be rooted in a deep knowledge of and love for the Gospel. He realized the importance of study for his friars. With his first followers, Dominic became a student of theology (even though Dominic was at that time already ordained a priest with the prerequisite theological training).
By the time of his death in 1221, the Order had spread through Western Europe, hundreds of young men had joined, and the presence of the Order of Preachers was felt at the major universities of the time.
The first Dominicans to come to this continent came with the earliest explorers, but the beginnings of the present provinces date from 1805 when Dominicans came to Kentucky. This was the beginning of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). The Province of the Holy Name (Western Province) dates from the 1850’s. The Province of St. Albert the Great began in 1939 and the Province of St. Martin de Porres (Southern Province) was founded in 1979.
St. Dominic Parish resides in the St. Albert the Great Province (or The Central Province of mid-West North America). The Central Province includes the states of Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Members of the province also minister in Bolivia, Nigeria and Central America. Provincial headquarters are in Chicago, the novitiate is in Denver and the house of theology is in St. Louis. There are about 200 members of the Province of St. Albert the Great. For more information on the Central Province, visit their website at opcentral.org.
All members of the provinces are brothers to one another. Most of the brothers are ordained as priests or are student brothers preparing for ordination. Ordination is not necessary to be a member of the Order. Cooperator brothers are those members of the province whose full-time ministry is that of non-ordained ministry. For many centuries cooperator brothers in the Order provided for the material needs of the community – working in maintenance, administration and housekeeping. Some of the cooperator brothers still serve in this way, but recently many have become involved in other forms of ministry, e.g., preaching, social work, teaching, etc.
The novitiate for the Province of St. Albert the Great has been located at St. Dominic Parish since 1978. This is where the novices spend their first year of discernment in the formation to be a Dominican friar under the direction of the novice master.
During the novitiate, the novices live in the community and learn about life as a Dominican Friar. In addition to regular communal prayer and meals with the community, the novices also take the time to cultivate a private prayer life, and engage in informal study. In addition, they work in apostolates around the Denver metropolitan area one day per week.
The Novices are also active participants in St. Dominic Parish, participating in liturgical ministries, the choir, teaching religious education, and engaging with the Dominican family.
The Lay Dominicans, Denver Chapter is an integral part of the Dominican Family of priests, friars, nuns and sisters. Each member has professed a lifelong devotion to living in the spirit of St. Dominic by preaching the Gospels in the Catholic faith. In so living in this spirit, we preach, not only in words, but through our actions and interactions with others, as well as through service to St. Dominic Parish and other parishes in the Denver metropolitan area.
Dominican priests, brothers, sisters, and lay men and women are found around the globe, all striving in their own way to imitate the example of Dominic and live the gospel. Please visit Dominican Central for an overview of our Provincial and worldwide organization.