DROPPING in to the Glebe parish you might spot Dominican Brother Thomas Azzi at the altar. But he’s not a priest, not yet.
Br Thomas is practising the rubrics of the Mass with another priest for his ordination later this year.
Br Thomas is one of four young Dominicans being ordained in Australia this year: two priests and two deacons.
Two more friars will make solemn vows, which makes for a busy house of studies.
“This is a rich time for St Dominic’s sons,” the Dominicans’ Australian vocations promoter Fr Paul Rowse said.
“We’re grateful for our young friars’ courage and generosity.”
Dominicans spend about seven years in initial formation, including the novitiate and some semesters’ pastoral work.
Theological study is a major part of those years of preparation.
Immersion into the Word of God is theology’s work, and Dominican friars make that immersion their own from within the community life of the priory.
Now that he is the chaplain at the University of Technology Sydney, Br Thomas has been reflecting on his years of formation.
“Bookish learning turns to wisdom in the pulpit,” he said.
“The joy of study lies in turning our people’s minds to the Word.”
No doubt, thoughts such as these kept the Sydney-based friar persevering through the Melbourne winters.
For Dominicans the community life is the first preaching of the Word.
“It’s the place we learn the value of the virtues,” Br Thomas said.
The community life of Dominicans shows the importance of the sacred liturgy.
“I am always edified by the liturgy when it is celebrated with reverence and heartfelt devotion,” Br Thomas said.
“It’s the place where heaven meets earth, and earth becomes heaven.
“That’s why we try to get it right.”
Parramatta Bishop Anthony Fisher, a Dominican, will ordain Br Thomas in Sydney.