At this point in the academic year, I am finishing my year of ‘residency.’ This year – typically a student brother’s fourth year of formation – is an opportunity for him to experience full-time ministry at one of our parishes or Newman centers before he makes solemn vows. The life is quite different from both the Novitiate at St. Dominic’s Parish in San Francisco and the Studentate at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland. During this non-academic year, a brother on residency has more independence and more ministerial responsibilities.
I have been working at our Newman Center at the University of Washington, which serves the undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, in addition to other young adults and members of the local community. We work in close partnership with nearby Blessed Sacrament Parish, another ministry of our province.
This past year at the Newman Center, we completed an exciting renovation and new construction on the building. The ministry had quickly outgrown the previous chapel, so we expanded it, refurbished the staff offices and student leader (peer minister) apartments, and built a new, two-story addition complete with breakout rooms, a lounge, and a large, multi-purpose gathering space. It has been wonderful to see the efforts of our donors, staff members, architects, construction workers, any many others bear fruit to create a beautiful new building. I enjoy seeing students use the new space to study, have small group meetings, learn about their faith, worship, pray, watch movies, and host parties.
This year, I have served the Newman Center community in many capacities. I have given several talks to students on diverse topics such as Dominican life, the life and work of Fra Angelico (one of our Order’s most famous artists), prayer, managing burnout, and ‘goodness’ as a transcendental. I have served several students as a spiritual counselor and guide. I have even led prayer on campus and given reflections at the end of Mass.
However, the most rewarding part of the year has been the simple joy of getting to know the people of God and participating in the life of the Church in this setting. I am inspired by the efforts of students seeking to know the Lord and develop a relationship with Him. I am honored to get to know students and young adults – to become a part of their lives – and to love them. In doing that, I hope to configure myself to Christ and advance in my understanding of what it means to be a Dominican.
Br. Scott Norgaard, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE