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Tiongco exhorts Catholics to be ‘at table’ with St. Dominic

by KAREN RENEE S. NOGOY

screenshot from the official Facebook page of Santísimo Rosario Parish

UST VICE-Rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. has urged Catholics to invite Order of Preachers founder St. Dominic de Guzman to their tables so they can be inspired to share God’s word to others. 

Tiongco said inviting St. Dominic to break bread can make conversations “holy and enervating,” and can make the food and drink “life-giving.”

“Whenever we invite the Lord and St. Dominic to be with us at table, our table then becomes and is transformed into a table of God’s Word and the breaking of the bread of life,” Tiongco said in his homily during the mass commemorating the saint’s feast day last Thursday.  

The table of St. Dominic is the “table of fraternity” where everyone shares stories with their loved ones, Master of the Dominican Order and UST Grand Chancellor Fr. Gerard Timoner III said in an interview with Vatican News.

“It is also the table where we try to encounter those who are different from us and who want to share what nourishes us. So, in this table, we also invite the strangers,” said Timoner.

Timoner set the theme “At Table with St. Dominic” in commemoration of the 8th centenary of dies natalis (birth in heaven) and solemnity of St. Dominic. The theme was inspired by the Mascarella Table, the painted table of the first and oldest depiction of St. Dominic after his canonization in 1234.

Tiongco said the table refers to the refectory table at which St. Dominic sat and multiplied loaves of bread for his brethren.  The Mascarella Table can be considered as a relic of contact, touched by the body of the saint and by the miraculous bread brought by the angels, he added. 

“We will celebrate St. Dominic not as a saint alone on a pedestal but as a saint enjoying table fellowship with his brothers, gathered by the same vocation to preach God’s Word and sharing God’s gift of food and drink,” the vice rector said, quoting Timoner. 

Tiongco recounted the miracle of the loaves, in which St. Dominic told people to “go and pray for the Lord will provide” when there was a food scarcity. He also recalled the event when two angels appeared, bringing loaves of bread, after St. Dominic prayed for two begging friars.

The vice rector called on everyone to reflect on three questions during the celebration.

“First, what does it mean for us to be at table with St. Dominic here and now? Second, how does his life and work inspire and encourage us to share our own life, our faith, hope, and love, our spiritual and material goods so that others, too, will be nourished at this same table? And third, how does this table become a table for the breaking of the word and the bread of life?” Tiongco said, quoting Timoner. 

St. Dominic’s legacy began with his conversion of heretics when he met an innkeeper who was one of the Albigensians, a sect of heretics, while on a trip. After a long conversation with the innkeeper, Dominic resolved to embark on a mission to convert the heretics to Catholicism through preaching by example. 

Following his success in dissolving heresy, he founded the Order of Preachers, or the Dominican Order, which became his eternal legacy, shared and lived by his successors over the centuries, including St. Thomas Aquinas, the University’s patron saint.

The mass for the Solemnity of St. Dominic was streamed live through the Santísimo Rosario Parish Facebook page. F

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