Dominican Laity Welcomes 2 New Members from Fenwick Community

Family of Friars, Nuns and Sisters welcomes faculty member Mr. Joseph Konrad and alumnus Dr. Victor Romano ’76.


Joe Konrad (left) and Dr. Vic “Rocky” Romano

Congratulations to faculty member Mr. Joseph Konrad and alumnus Victor “Rocky” Romano, M.D. ’76, who recently made lifetime profession of promises as part of the Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic! “This is important to for a number of reasons,” says Father Douglas Greer, O.P., the Theology Teacher who started our local Bishop Fenwick Chapter five years ago. “Joe and Rocky’s presence increases Dominican presence and character within the Fenwick community, further enabling us to accomplish our preaching mission.

“Their presence is also a witness to the vibrancy and variety of our 800-year-old Order, which is alive, thriving and growing,” Fr. Greer continues. “We have thousands of members spread across the branches all over the world.”

Members of the Fraternities of St. Dominic are non-clergy laymen and laywomen who are fully incorporated members of the Order of Preachers and live out their Dominican vocation in the world. Lay Dominicans, who in the past have been called Third Order or Dominican Tertiaries, have existed almost as long as the Dominican Order itself. Founded with their own rule in 1285, the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic was officially recognized by the Church on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1286.

Lay Dominicans “are accordingly distinguished both by their own spirituality and by their service to God and neighbor in the Church. As members of the Order, they participate in its apostolic mission through prayer, study and preaching according to the state proper to the laity,” according to the Rule of the Lay Fraternity #4. They come from every background, joining the Dominican charism to their state of life in the world. In this unique Dominican way, they live out their special vocation “to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will.” (Lumen Gentium 31)

What this means is that “they help us preach the gospel in ways consonant with being lay and mostly married people,” Fr. Doug explains. “So, their preaching ministry will not consist in pulpit or liturgical preaching. Instead, it will consist in preaching through the lived witness of their lives as Christian disciples. In Dominic’s time before we were called the Order of Preachers and (later) Dominicans, we referred to ourselves as the sacra praedicatio, ‘the Holy Preaching.’ Thus, there was a consonance between what we did, who we were and how we lived. The witness of our lives is a primary and fundamental form of preaching ministry.”

The Need for Prayer

Mr. Konrad says that his introduction to the Dominicans “came from the Sinsinawa Dominicans from Trinity High School where I taught in the early 1980s, [then] later, of course, here at Fenwick. What stands out in both institutions and with the order that impressed me the most was their dedication to prayer as one of the four pillars of Dominican life. So I use the words of St. Dominic when He says, ‘Arm yourself with prayer instead of a sword; be clothed with humility instead of fine raiment.’ I pray, especially the Rosary, every day. Pray, pray, pray — and brothers and sisters, do we ever need it now. Pax.

From his Oak Park medical office, Dr. Romano adds, “I like being a Dominican laity because we all are called to preach the word of God in our everyday lives — with or without speaking.”

A fellow Dominican Laity member is History Teacher and Faculty Mentor Jerry Lordan, PhD., O.P. In the Bishop Fenwick Chapter, “our Spiritual advisor is Fr. Doug and our president is John Planek, PhD., O.P., an alumnus [Class of 1979] and current Fenwick parent.” Other members include former faculty Ms. Diana Caponigri, O.P.; former parent Ms. Marian Alletto, O.P.; alumnus Matt D’Anca, O.P. ’97; St Vincent parishioner Ms. Kim Burch; and Ms. Toby Andersen, O.P.

“We meet on the 4th Sunday of the month in the Fenwick chapel at 9:00 a.m.,” Dr. Lordan continues. “Membership is open to all baptized adult Catholics — interested parties seeking more information should contact me.”

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