Letter to My Brother

Hey Brother,

So, we’re off. It’s one day after Pentecost and we’re getting a taste of the apostolic life, jumping into cars and hopping onto planes.

Sorry I didn’t catch up with you before departure day. Summer assignments arrive so quickly after finals, especially when we have to prep for the ordination of 9 priests. All that work paid off though. How beautiful was that Mass?! The celebration afterward was incredible too. I love those moments when we can step back from the grind, the study, the sweat, and see God pouring his blessings into our lives.

Pretty soon we’ll know the joy of our brother priests. I’m not sure they sat down at all after the Mass; the line for blessings seemed endless. Yet, that smile never came off their faces. I wonder if they even slept before their first Mass.

It’s not an easy life, but it’s a blessed life.

The past weeks have been full; it’s incredible to think back on. Today, we’re heading to Argentina, France, Chicago, Las Vegas, Austria, Chicago, and much of the Province: Kentucky, Ohio, Providence, Virginia, New York. We’re being scattered like seed. Just a few days ago we sang out in joy as our 9 brothers we’re ordained. One week before that, we tearfully chanted the Veni Creator Spiritus at Br. Saúl’s funeral. The Holy Spirit did come in full force.

My cheeks still haven’t dried from that Mass. He was professed only 4 years, but he made it usque ad mortem. As tragic and unexpected as his passing was, how beautiful was the Mass? That Church was packed. Seeing all the different religious, priests, and laity from all over the world… it was as if you could see the Church mourning. He impacted so many in four years. God can do a lot in a short time.

Something stayed with me from that funeral. One of the Capuchins said, “We stand at the foot of the Cross with Maria” (Br. Saúl’s mother). Standing outside, as we were saying our last goodbye, I noticed the processional cross, the San Damiano Crucifix. It shined like a jewel in the noonday sun. It was a sharp contrast to all those mourning in black.

I also saw Maria. My heart is still moved by compassion. She was standing and sorrowful. We really saw Calvary that day. Seeing Br. Saúl’s mother showed me something of Our Blessed Mother’s own suffering. She’s close to Maria now. They share a wound only a mother could know.

Father Corbett preached once about Our Lady’s passion at the Cross. She was spared the pain of childbirth in Bethlehem, but that pain sank into her in Jerusalem. She underwent the pain of childbirth upon seeing her Son giving birth to the Church from His pierced side. “And you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:35).

Mary suffered tremendously for us to be her sons, and that is what we are. We’re on this apostolic mission, following after her Son, preaching His word, going out to the Church. We will no doubt experience many things this summer: joy, sorrow, baptisms, deaths, conversions, car breakdowns. Some will ask us to leave their presence, and some will invite us to the family dinner. It’s never dull, and God is with us through all of it.

Don’t forget your Rosary, Brother. We’ll keep each other in prayer until August 8th. It’s always great to reunite on the Feast of Holy Father Dominic.

In Our Lady and Our Holy Father St. Dominic,

Br. Irenaeus M. Dunlevy, OP

Memorial of BVM, Mater Ecclesiae

21 May 2018

Photo by Matt Hindenlang (used with permission)

From Dominicana Journal