Lay Dominicans

St. Michael’s is home to a warm and vibrant Lay Dominican group!  If you would like to learn about this vocation in the Church or find out how to begin the formation process with us, or be invited to a meeting as our guest, please click here to email us.

About Us

Who are the Lay Dominicans? Lay Dominicans are one of several recognized “Third Orders” within the Catholic Church, which are defined as “Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute” (Code of Canon Law #303). Lay Dominicans are a branch of the Dominican religious order.

Our History: The Dominican religious order is one of the 4 great “mendicant” orders of the Catholic Church. Dominicans are formally known as “the Order of Preachers” (or O.P.), and were founded by St. Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish priest (1170 – 1221 A.D.). The Order of Preachers was approved by Pope Honorius on December 22, 1216 A.D. Dominicans have been around for a long time!  Over the last 800 years, the Dominican Order has given the Catholic Church several Popes, Saints, and Doctors of the Church.

The Lay Dominican vocation is a way to live a faithful and intentional Catholic life.  Dominican spirituality focuses on 4 “pillars” that sustain us and help us grow in our love for God and His Church, and these are four basic things that are beneficial for every Catholic: Prayer, Study, Community, and Preaching the Gospel.

 Our Monthly Community Time at St. Michael’s: We have a formation meeting once a month and our time includes prayer, community fellowship, study and discussion. Our usual meeting day is Saturday morning and generally follows this outline: 8:00am – Morning Prayer in the Church, led by Fr. Buettner 8:15am – Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. Buettner (this is usually a Low Mass in Latin), followed by a short prayer in the Church 9:30am – Small group formation sessions with discussion, facilitated by various group members 10:15am – Community time

During your formation, which takes place in the monthly meetings (and prayer and study on your own), you will learn what it means to live out these 4 pillars in your life as a lay person, and a Lay Dominican in the Catholic Church.

How will formation in this Third Order help me get to heaven? There is an ancient prayer to the Holy Spirit which the Church prays in the 9 days leading up to Pentecost, and a line in that prayer says, “Grant me the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God, and know myself, and grow perfect in the science of the Saints”.  Holy Mother Church wisely directs our gaze towards the lives of the Saints and calls our attention to that “science” or formula of their lives, so we can follow their example as a way to love and serve God on earth, with the hope of eternally enjoying His presence in heaven. Many Saints were in some form of consecrated life, such as “religious life”.  Therefore, the Church recognizes religious life as part of that “science” or formula that helped contribute to their lives of sanctity lived on earth.  The general components of religious life which can also be found in the Lay Dominican life include:

An “active discernment” of the vocation which takes place while in the formation process

  1. Having and following a “Rule” promulgated by the appropriate Church authority
  2. A program of formal formation and study, faithful to the teaching of the Church’s magisterium, led by those who have already been formed in this way of life
  3. Regular prayer in the community, and on one’s own (especially the Divine Office)
  4. Studying Sacred Scripture, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the lives of the Saints
  5. Availing oneself of the Sacraments frequently
  6. Being part of and accountable to a dedicated spiritual community that is part of an Order of Consecrated Life in the Church
  7. A focus on practicing love and the virtues within the local community and obedience within the Order’s hierarchy
  8. Having a “Council” of elected professed members which help provide governance and guidance
  9. Having recognized formation stages of postulancy (inquirer), novitiate (candidate), temporary & final promises, and movement from one stage to the next through Church-approved rituals and rites
  10. Setting oneself apart by making a public profession through promises, affirming the commitment to living out the spirituality of the order, and a public acknowledgement of that commitment by the larger community
  11.  Setting oneself apart by making a public profession through promises, affirming the commitment to living out the spirituality of the order, and a public acknowledgement of that commitment by the larger community

Dominican activities you may already be participating in without realizing it:

  • The Angelic Warfare Confraternity, into which Fr. Buettner offers enrollment to parish members each year around the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, in January.
  • The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, which was entrusted to the Dominican order over 500 years ago.
  • The Holy Name Society, which has been entrusted to the care of the Dominican order.
  • The Consecration to Jesus Through Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort is a Dominican-related activity, because St. Louis was a Dominican in the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic!

 Study Materials:

We have a short list of books you will need to begin formation. The 2 foundational books are the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Kristen Levin, co-owner of Seven Gifts (the Catholic Bookstore in Gastonia near our parish), has generously offered our Dominican group a discount on the books and resources we need for our Dominican vocation studies. Here’s how it works: During our meeting, we ask if anyone has any study material purchasing needs, and then we place a GROUP ORDER with Seven Gifts – this save on shipping and resources for the bookstore.

St Michael Catholic Church