Sister Patricia and Father Jude, the Dominican Preaching Team | Sunday to Sunday

Posted By on September 21, 2019


Our preaching journey has taken us to San
Francisco, the city by the bay. We will meet Father Jude Siciliano and Sister
Patricia Bruno. Both are nationally recognized for their work
as Dominican preachers. Their collaborative ministry travels to parishes
across the country where they have a hand in developing the next generation of gospel
witnesses. Good and gracious God, you call us into a
future that is unknown and unpredictable, but we know and trust that you are present
and faithful to us. We know too that whatever the future brings,
it will need merciful, compassionate, peacemaking women and men who hunger for goodness, thirst
for justice, and seek truth. Sister Patricia, good to be with you here
at St. Dominic’s. This is an anchor for the Dominican church
here in San Francisco? Yes. Its just a beautiful church as we will see
as we walk through it. Part of the reason I think people come here
is for the beauty, the acoustics, the music, the preaching, the program. So, its one of the destination churches. and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, which
you are a member, have done great things in the city. Tell us a little about your work there. Well, I think probably what’s really proximate
to here, to the church, is in ’89 we had the big earthquake here in California. So, our convent and school, the academy—St.
Rose Academy—was damaged. So, after that we had to build housing for
our sisters. As a congregation, we made a decision that
we couldn’t build housing for ourselves if we also didn’t do affordable housing
for the city, because you know, housing is really an issue. Housing particularly here in San Francisco. Yes. Let’s take a look more at the church. Sure. This is a place of great devotion and I know
many of the masses and novenas—people who come here on a continuing basis—tell us
a little bit more about the social justice work you have done here in San Francisco. Well, in our congregation I think has a very
strong reputation of doing preaching in many different ways. One of the ways that we preach is through
being involved in justice issues. So, we’ve worked in the western addition
when it was not so gentrified, and we have taught school here and part of the work that
I have done is—I have worked with the North End California Community Loan Fund and did
economic development through the religious communities to get finances, to get money
from the congregations, as loans for the fund. That money went for low income housing, non-profit
agencies, and businesses here throughout northern California. That’s a great work. Do you have any practical suggestions to preachers
and I also get to the point where so many more people—women—youth ministers—have
to be empowered. How do you do that? There’s a protestant homilitician, Fred
Kravic who tells a story about how the Rabbis teach the opening of Genesis. Paraphrased; in the beginning it was chaos,
and the spirit of God hovered over the waters. Then, God said let there be light. Kravic, quoting the Rabbis, the Rabbis teach
by asking questions. So, the Rabbis ask; before God said let there
be light, what was God doing? The Rabbis answered; God was keeping His silence. Out of the silence comes this creative word. So, I would suggest, have suggested as we
have had preaching workshops, that the first thing preacher does is to keep the silence. Hear the word, not only from the scriptures,
but the newspapers and to keep a silence of some kind. Catechists, theology teachers—keep the silence
and then as Kravic says, you break the silence. When you break the silence, something like
Genesis—let there be light, and there was light. So, I would make that suggestion to people
who are preachers. I think we are very—I know we are very,
very busy. We just have a lot of noise in our lives. But, somehow find a silent period to hear
the word. I also think what’s really important because
we’ve designed rituals for the evening services. So, they are not a Eucharistic celebration. As Catholics, we are very used to coming to
mass, but we are also—we are very open, and I think a lot of our tradition comes from
a very rich ritual. So, we have evening services where the community—we
train them in doing different things, because its not just the voice, it’s the whole event. So, if I were presiding at mass, which I don’t
do, but if I were, I would be sure that everything kind of went together. I mean I don’t mean it has to be perfect. That’s not true, but that its an event. So, the preaching event is part of the whole. So, it needs to go together, and we work really
hard in the evening services, because I think as you mentioned earlier, how do we empower
people to speak the word, to pray the word, to celebrate it? I think ritual, which is so much a part of
our tradition, speaks sometimes even louder than words.

Posted by Lewis Heart

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