The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Great Dominicans: Savonarola

Monday, June 06, 2016
Savonarola was a Dominican friar who lived at a time when the Church had a great power and influence in the city states of Italy. The Papacy, as well as the clergy, often furthered their own personal interests and those of the ruling families in Europe, such as the Borgia Popes. Read more

The Saint and the Chopped up Baby

Thursday, May 05, 2016

The title of Laura Smoller’s book “The Saint and the Chopped-up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe” is perhaps designed to grab attention. Saint Vincent Ferrer (b.1350, d. 1419) was a Dominican friar, and is Patron Saint of builders, plumbers and construction workers. Saint Vincent is said to have traveled across Europe and was supposedly able to speak in tongues, with those in different countries able to understand him. Read more

Popular Piety: Litanies and Novenae

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
“When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7). These words of Our Lord are often cited by opponents of the traditional practices of Novenae—which involve the repetition of set prayers on nine consecutive days—and Litanies—with their repeated invocations and responses. These forms of prayer are inherently repetitious and predictable; they are often caricatured as monotonous and lengthy (‘litany’, for example, has passed into idiomatic secular English: “the customary litany of complaints having duly been received…”).  Read more

Popular Piety: The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Monday, January 20, 2014
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is an image etched deeply in the minds of many Catholics. The devotion emphasises the perfect, redeeming love of Jesus, and the living water which flows from His heart (cf Jn 7:37-39).
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Popular Piety: Scapulars and Medals

Sunday, January 19, 2014
 “… I suppose they try to make you believe an awful lot of nonsense?” Read more

Popular Piety: Processions

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In the Catholic Church processions are part of the liturgy and they have a religious character. They are public acts of homage to God, to give honour to Him, or to the Mother of God or to the saints. The word 'procession' comes from the Latin word 'procedere' which means to go forth or to proceed. In this case it emphasizes the dynamic character of the liturgy which in turn reflects the dynamic nature of our faith. Processions express the physical and spiritual condition of human beings who are pilgrims on this earth and who are always on the way.

Liturgical processions have some important Biblical precedents. For example, 1 Chronicles 15 and 2 Samuel 6 describe the procession with the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, carried by the people with music, dancing and shouts of joy. The Psalmist sings of a  procession to the Sanctuary of the Altar with the singers, the musicians and the congregation. Not all Biblical processions were joyful. We also find references to funeral processions, for example Luke 7. All four Gospels describe a procession forming as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

There are two Biblical processions that have a particularly deep significance. The first was when Israel went out from Egypt and God led them to the promised land for forty years. The second is the Way of Cross when Jesus went to the place where he was crucified.

Processions are also part of the Eucharist. There is a procession at the beginning of the Mass, with the Book of the Gospels, and another when people bring the gifts before the offertory. During the liturgical year there are a few processions. The best known is the procession on the solemnity of Corpus Christi. There are also processions on Palm Sunday and after the Easter Vigil to announce the Resurrection of Christ. There may also be processions ordered on special occasions, for example the feast of the dedication of a church, processions with relics because of the feasts of saints, as well as thanksgiving or penitential processions.
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Christmas Customs in Poland

Friday, December 27, 2013

Popular Piety in Advent: facts, threats and opportunities.

Friday, November 29, 2013
Advent is the opening liturgical season of the Church’s year. It has its own distinct character and popular piety should be informed by it, and lead towards it. In some ways popular piety can be seen as a bridge between the things of God and the things of the world, suffusing the world with Christian truth and values, and lifting the world to God, in praise, offering and an exchange of blessing. As a specific liturgical time, there are forms of popular piety that are specific to Advent, and others that take on a particular hue and mood in Advent. It is a time of waiting, conversion and hope. We wait to celebrate Christmas, the first coming of the Lord in human flesh, while assessing the way in which we wait for his return in glory at the end of time. The former leads us to focus on the past and the memory of salvation history, the latter leads us to focus on hope, if also vigilance and generosity, aware of a coming so glorious it can scarcely be imagined. Conversion, including almsgiving and penance and a focus on simplicity, is how we prepare for the coming of the Lord, be it now or in the future. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 28, 2013
In our Oxford priory we celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a big dinner with all the students of Blackfriars Hall, many of whom come from the USA. We provide the turkeys and the students bring lots of side dishes and accompaniments. For many of them it might be the first Thanksgiving away from their family, so we make an effort to create a festive atmosphere here while keeping the families in our prayers. Read more

Popular Piety: Icons and Images

Friday, November 22, 2013
Liturgical icons can be found not only in Catholic Churches; in our homes also we can find a lot of images depicting the saints, the Mother of God or Jesus Christ. We might ask why and for what purpose we need them? What is their role in our faith? Probably many of us keep photos of our families member in our wallet or have a family album at home. We do this, because we love these people and we would like to have something to remind us of them especially if they are far away. Read more
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