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Keeping the Light Shining Bright
Our Program of Formation involves eight years of academic and ministerial training. Throughout all that time our student friars in formation depend completely on the generosity of others and so keep our benefactors in particular at the center of our prayer life. Pleased do ad your own regular donation to our continuing need. We thank you now and will continue to thank you with our prayers.
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Western Dominican Province
5890 Birch Court
Oakland, CA 94618-1626
Our Dominican School
The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA offers Masters and other degree and certificate programs rooted in the tradition of the Dominican order and our brother, St. Thomas Aquinas. Faithful to the teaching of Holy Mother, the Church, our school prepares not only young men studying for the priesthood, but also other men and women who will be the leaders of local communities of faith. Please do join in supporting this essential ministry of the Western Dominican Province.
Fr. Vincent Benoit, OP
Greetings from a 99.44% Seattleite. Although I was not born in this fair city, I arrived when barely a month old and lived here almost continuously for the next 23 years. My cradle Catholic upbringing included Catholic elementary and secondary education. Although my mother was born and raised Lutheran (as her family remains), she became Catholic long before I could even begin to understand there was such a thing. My father was raised Catholic and even attended the same grade school as my sister, brother and I attended. Catholic schooling put me inside church almost daily, and I recall actually liking it. I was never an altar boy (flunked out of altar boy school), but I did sing for a while in a boys chorus, until my voice mysteriously changed.
In high school I was still a frequent daily Mass attendee, whenever I could force myself to move in the morning (I was never great at wake-up calls). I was perpetually thinking of labor saving inventions and other nifty gadgets, including improved food products (I actually thought of Peanut Butter and Jam mixed together long before it was commercially available (and they messed it up!). As an awkward gangly youth, I found it difficult to walk and chew gum at the same time, thus my sports career was stunted by an unbelievable rejection by team coaches throughout the years <grin> . I did try to play baseball and was becoming a fair wrestler, but obviously I had not found my slot.
I was more or less a normal cradle Catholic with the required Catholic parents and siblings. We went to Church together through the first years of high school, we prayed together (often the rosary), and made the great sacrifice of attending 6:30 a.m. Mass together during Lent. Of course, after-Mass-incentives of breakfasts and special packed lunches encouraged us in our piety. By the end of high school, I discovered the wonder of the Charismatic Movement through a good friend. It did not stick very well and a few years after high school I drifted away from God and Church.
In an effort to bring me back to Himself, God took me on a very convoluted journey. A journey that caused me to re-evaluate my values and goals. Eagerly studying to become an engineer, I fostered a deeper relationship with God and Church and renewed my association with the Charismatic Movement. All I did was place my desire to become an engineer, marry, raise a family, and live a simple life in the hands of God. It seems that if you enter a deep life of prayer, your prayers are bound to be answered—be careful about the content of your prayer <grin>. With power and wonder, God settled everything by awakening in me a profound vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
Although it took a bit of work, and what seemed an endless series of interviews and paperwork, I placed the vocation possibility in God's hands. If it was to be, then God would open the doors. If not, I was happy with whatever happened. In the end, the doors opened and I experienced a wonderful community, fraternity, liturgy and tradition of study. I am sometimes taken by surprise, even now, that I was chosen and given this awesome gift within the Church, the Dominican Order, and the Western Dominican Province.
I have been and continue to be filled with happiness, that I am who I am before the Lord. The people of God are an inspiration and a great blessing to me, no matter where I serve. I have been a stage hand, parochial vicar, Newman chaplain, director of our retreat center, a high school teacher, and now director of our province web presence. Every community has been unique and a true blessing to me. I experience many blessings day by day, because our God chooses to save. He is giving each of us new life in Jesus Christ, and abundantly filling us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.