We preach for the salvatiom of souls.
The Dominican Family of Trinidad and Tobago

The Dominican Laity of  Trinidad and Tobago.



The Dominican Family consists of several branches: friars, nuns (contemplative), sisters (share an active apostolate) and the laity (who share the Order's way of life). 
Fundamental to the life of a Dominican are: community, prayer, study and constant dialogue. In community, it is where Dominicans discover ongoing insight as they study and dialogue with the Word, with each other, and with the world. 
Today the laity live a renewed commitment as they come to experience their contribution as a part of the collaborative efforts with all who work on behalf of the Kingdom of God. A collaborative ministry is but one way of keeping abreast with changing times, heavier demands and the challenges of touching the lives of those who are not always present with the gathered community. The laity role's is a vital one since through their mission they touch the lives of all those who may not always be gathered with the Church community. They will no doubt be able to better interact with others in the political, economic and family environments. The lay Dominican is like St. Dominic - an apostle of truth, whose aim is to bear witness to Christ in one's life and human community and to uphold and live the truths contained in the Gospel. The heart of the Dominican charism must be found in preaching. To be a Dominican is to be a preacher. This is the primary concern of the Dominican project. The strengthening of their role in the church and in society is one, which does not seek to threaten or substitute the role of the presbyterate. Neither is the role of the laity to be seen as important because of the decline in the number of ordained ministers among local communities. The role of the laity is important and necessary because theirs is an authentic ministry. By their very baptism, the laity share in the work of spreading the Gospel. 

 Chapters do their best to live in true community in the spirit of the beatitudes, and they give expression to this in regard to other members of the Dominican Laity, particularly the poor and the sick, and as circumstances require, by doing works of mercy and sharing with them what resources they may have, and by offering prayers for the dead, so that all may be united in heart and soul in God ( Acts 4:32). 
Together with the brothers and sisters of the Order the members of the Chapters take part in the apostolate; they are to share actively in the life of the Church and be ever ready to work with other apostolic groups. 
The principal sources from which Lay Dominicans draw strength to go forward in a vocation which combines the contemplative and the apostolic life in the closest union, are the following: 

A. Hearing the divine Word, and reading sacred scripture. 

B. As far as possible daily liturgical celebrations and participation in the sacrifice of the mass. 

C. Regular celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. 

D. Celebration of the liturgical hours in union with the whole Dominican Family, as well as private prayer such as meditation and the rosary. 

E. Conversion of heart through the spirit and practice of the repentance demanded by the Gospel. 

F. Sustained study of the revealed truth, and constant reflection on the problems of the day in the light of the Gospel. 

G. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the Order's tradition, and to our holy father St. Dominic, and to St. Catherine of Siena. 

H. Spiritual retreats from time to time. 

The purpose of a Dominican formation is to produce people truly adult in faith and so able to hear, celebrate and proclaim the Word of God. Every Dominican should be able to preach the Word of God. It is in this preaching that the prophetic office of the baptized Christian is exercised. 
The principal sources for a complete Dominican formation are these: 

A. The Word of God and theological reflection.
B. Liturgical prayer. 

C. History and tradition of the Order. 

D. Contemporary documents of the Church and of the Order. 

E. Understanding the signs of the times. 

To be incorporated into the Order, members must make a profession or commitment by which they formally commit themselves to live according to the spirit of St. Dominic and in the manner prescribed by the rule. 


1. All Catholics of good will and over the age of eighteen (18) years are eligible for membership. 

2. Members who come together in the same place and at the same time will form a Chapter. 

3. All Chapters should have a President, elected by the Chapter for a period of three (3) years and eligible for a second consecutive term but never a third. 

4. All Chapters should have a council of not less than three (3) and not more than five (5), in addition to the President of the Chapter. 

5. Each Chapter shall have a secretary and treasurer elected by the council and from the council under the same terms and conditions as that of the President and Council. 

6. There shall be a National Council comprising of Chapter Presidents and one elected delegate from each Chapter. 

7. All Chapters shall decide for themselves the frequency, place and duration of meetings. This shall be reviewed regularly by the Chapter. 


The period of discernment begins when interest in expressed by someone who would like to share in the life and mission of the Dominican Family. It is recommended that the formator of the Chapter be responsible for welcoming and orientating all visiting and new persons to the Chapter. 

1. There shall be an initial familiarization process, which will focus on the life and times of St. Dominic de Guzman. 

2. The duration of this initial period will depend on the suitability of the candidate for the second (2nd) stage and on the advice of the formator. 

3. The reception of the scapular marks the second stage of the discernment process. During this period it is recommended that basic scripture studies be        undertaken. Candidates will, therefore, be required to have a basic working knowledge of the scriptures. The duration of this period will depend on the suitability of the candidate and on the advice of the formator. 

4. The making of the first promise marks the beginning of the third (3rd) stage of the discernment process. This period lasts for a minimum of three (3) years and a maximum of four (4) years. Renewal of the first promise for one year after the first three years have elapsed will be determined by the formator and the candidate in consultation with the council of the Chapter. 

5. The making of the final promise marks the fourth (4th) stage of the discernment process. 


The apostolate of the lay Dominican is primarily to bring the teaching of the Gospel to bear on one's life and in whatever situation one may find oneself. 
Each Chapter shall consider ways and means of living the apostolate of the Order in conformity with the needs of each place. 


1. Each Chapter shall maintain its own records. 

2. All admissions, promises and renewals are to be recorded in one common register. 

3. The secretary shall be responsible for maintaining all Chapter proceedings/business. 

4. The treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining all financial records. 

 130th Anniversary Celebration of the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago. 

On Sunday 21st October 2001, approximately 80 members of the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago gathered in Holy Cross Chapel, Arima. The occasion was the celebration of the 130th anniversary of the presence and activity of the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago. The day was divided into three sections: a talk on "the contemplative life of a Dominican", a talk on " justice and peace: a dimension of contemplative life", and the celebration of holy mass. 
Sr. Martin Joseph, O.P. (Sinsinawa Dominicans) presented on the contemplative life of a Dominican. She drew from Meister Eckhart, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. and the sacred scriptures. Her insights called for reflection on personal prayer and quiet time for contemplation, the traditions of the Order and her personal experiences. Fr. Prakash Lohale, O.P. (of the Indian province) presented on justice and peace. He highlighted the workbooks of the Order on justice and peace, making specific mention of each booklet's intention and use. Fr. Prakash is a former promoter for justice and peace for the Asia-Pacific region. His six years as promoter and personal experiences greatly enhanced his sharing. Some members of the gathering already had limited prior experiences with the booklets. This will be another opportunity to renew interest in the booklets. To start off his talk, Fr. Prakash made everyone remove one shoe and toss it into a heap. Then each person was to take up a shoe. The owner of the shoe one took became the partner with whom that person shared something about themselves. For those who tried on the shoe they picked out, became aware of what it is like to be in another's shoe. 

"Being in another's shoe is the first stage of working on behalf of justice and peace", Prakash said. We begin to feel with the other: their life, circumstance, condition. Fr. Prakash then went on to explain the purpose of each of the six booklets and the ways in which they can be used for reflection and action. Without a contemplative heart, work for justice and peace is difficult, impossible even. 
The day was characterized by a healthy spirit of sharing. Each Chapter brought one dish for lunch which was shared among all. We were treated to a delicious plate of vegetable rice, baked chicken, pigeon peas and green salad. There was also a sharing of cakes and coffee after the evening mass. I was the celebrant at the evening mass. During mass several people were received and into the Dominican Laity formally, several made their first promise and some made their final promise. Much preparation went into ensuring that the day was fruitful. It was meant to rekindle the spark of a Dominican vocation and renew spirits. From what I have noticed most everyone left with high praised and renewed energy for the journey. 

Each Chapter put up a booth displaying their membership, activities and projects for the future. It would have been extremely difficult to give a prize for the best display, for the most informative display. Truly, the booths were of good quality, the presentations were great and the participation was enlivening. 
The Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago accounts for 10 chapters. From 1871 to the present there has been an active presence in various areas. Among are work with battered women and children, addicts, catechetics, home visitations, sale of religious books and articles and intercessory prayer.    


The history of the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago goes back to 1871. This history began with the zealous Fr. Forestier, O.P. who established the first fraternity with a group of very devoted ladies who helped him care for the little orphans he had gathered together in a house in Belmont, Trinidad. Since then other fraternities were formed. These provided the vehicle for a sound Dominican Spirituality for those who were open to sharing the Dominican Way. Those who belonged to the fraternities met regularly for prayer and study. Fundamental to the life of these Dominicans were community, prayer, study and dialogue. In community, it is where one discovers ongoing insight through study and dialogue with the Word of God, with others and with the world.  The Second Vatican Council did much to open the way for a more vibrant lay participation in the Church as a whole. A shared responsibility which has been a long standing tradition in the Order. There is now, more than ever, a more profound experience of co-responsibility and a community among the laity. The Dominican Laity is no exception to this reality. The present is a time when the laity are awakening to the call of the Gospel and the challenges of society with new boldness and renewed courage. It is a time when they feel themselves truly a part of this growing Church, which invites men and women every day to ensure that their contribution is seen and felt in dynamic ways. It is by their baptism that the laity are guaranteed a share in the work of spreading the Gospel. Spreading the Gospel is the work of Dominicans.  The heart of the Dominican charism must be found in preaching, in the kerygma of the Word of God. To be a Dominican is to be a preacher. The work of preaching is both demanding and challenging. The challenges of our modern world impress upon Dominicans the need for ongoing dialogue, prayer and study.  Since 1993 the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago underwent a renewal. There are eleven chapters present and witnessing in Trinidad: Belmont, Caranage, Diego Martin, Barataria, St. Joseph, Arima, Sangre Grande, Chaguanas, La Romain, Point Fortin and Cedros. Each Chapter meets at least once a month. Some Chapters hold a second meeting for more in-depth study and reflection.  All Catholics of good will who are eighteen years plus are eligible to join the Dominican Laity. Anyone is welcomed to share in monthly meetings. The general promoters of the Dominican Laity in Trinidad & Tobago are Sr. Martin Joseph, O.P. and Fr. Dwight Black, O.P. 


To preach, to bless and to praise.