ORDINATION to the priesthood has come one step closer for former Brisbane seminarian Br Sebastian Condon who made his first profession with the Dominicans last month.
Br Condon made his first profession on June 29 in Melbourne, following study in the novitiate for 12 months.
The regular columnist for The Catholic Leader had previously discerned the possibility of becoming a diocesan priest for Brisbane.
He is now considered a full member of the Order of Preachers as per the order’s Constitution, which states a brother “is incorporated into the order” by first profession.
Founded by St Dominic in the Middle Ages more than 800 years ago, the Order of Preachers retains many medieval customs even in liturgies.
The Rite of Profession for men entering the Dominican order, who are considered friars or brothers even at ordination, still retains postures used in medieval ceremony.
“A Dominican profession (is) very quick and simple, solemn, quite medieval, and it’s exactly the same – barring a few words – for the solemn profession,” Br Condon said.
“(It’s medieval) in the sense that you kneel before the provincial, you place your hands in his, with the constitutions held within both of your hands – in the same way that you would if you were a medieval knight or a servant and you were swearing fealty to your liege Lord: you would kneel before them and put your hands in their hands.
“We still do the same motion.”
Br Sebastian is the most recently professed Brisbane vocation for the Dominican Province of the Assumption, which governs the communities in Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
He made his first profession with fellow friar Br Christian Elters who is originally from Nowra, NSW.
“The provincial (Fr Anthony Walsh) is also from Nowra,” Br Condon said.
“For a town of 30,000 people, they’re certainly carrying their weight in terms of vocations.”
Before joining the Order of Preachers, Br Condon was studying for the priesthood at Holy Spirit Seminary Queensland but was attracted to the Dominicans because of their community life.
“When I joined the seminary, what I thought were essential aspects of my call to the priesthood were the community life which I liked in the seminary, and the common prayer which I loved very much in the seminary, as well as the deepening of our understanding of God which comes through further study and theology,” Br Condon said.
“For a Dominican, common life in an intrinsic element, common prayer, we do that multiple times a day – we all get up and chant the office – and the intellectual life is continual; it doesn’t stop.”
There were also the unspoken but apparent “quirks” that characterise the Dominican order.
“I remember I visited the priory in Melbourne for lunch on some ‘Come and See’ weekend,” Br Condon said.
“As I was being driven back home to my place in Melbourne by one of the friars, I said, ‘Yep, they’re a real community – certainly not afraid of insulting one another, are they?’
“But I also think that’s a sign of real community, real friendship.
“If you’re too polite with someone it means you don’t know them well enough.
“Your real friends, you can joke with.”
Br Condon said within the Dominicans he had finally found his home in the Church.
“I said from the first time I visited the priory and I can still say it now; I feel like I’ve come home,” he said.
Meanwhile, back in Brisbane, the Dominicans at Our Lady of Graces, Carina, are also seeing some changes, with the installation of a new parish priest Dominican Father Alex Vickers.
Fr Vickers takes over from Fr Tom Cassidy, who has been called to a new mission in Papua New Guinea.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge installed Fr Vickers on July 8 at the Carina parish.
Read Br Sebastian Condon’s blog on our website: