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In 1994, three years after submitting my Doctor of Ministry Project on "A Paradigm for Preaching Personal and Social Transformation" to Western Seminary, I moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Saint Louis, Missouri, to take on a new teaching career as professor of homiletics and director of field education at Aquinas Institute of Theology-a Dominican-sponsored graduate school of theology and ministry dedicated to fostering the preaching ministry of the church. Thirty years earlier, as a student in the 1960s desiring formation for ordained ministry in the Catholic church, I had sought counsel with campus ministers and teachers who discerned in me a vocation to preach and referred me to the Dominicans. By joining the midwest province of the Dominican Friars, I entered an international religious order formally known as the Order of Preachers and founded by St. Dominic Guzman, a thirteenth-century Spanish contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps my mission as a Friar Preacher can be understood as one person's incarnation of the vision statement which the friars of my province spelled out in 1990:If we are to have any distinctive identity, either as individuals, as a Province, or as an Order, in today's world and today's Church; if we are to be of any distinctive service to our brothers and sisters; if we are to be that which each of us, in our hearts wants to be, we must reclaim the vision of our Founder who referred to himself and his small group of followers as "The Preaching of Jesus Christ" and "The Holy Preaching." We must, in short, see ourselves, collectively and individually, as "The Holy Preaching."
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