Where Prayerful Hands Serve With Love

Third Order of Saint Dominic



The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic normally meet at Sacred Heart the last Saturday of the month from 2-4 p.m in St. Dominic's Room.


From The Rule of Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic
"Among the disciples of Christ, those men and women who live in the world are, by their Baptism and Confirmation, made sharers in the prophetic, priestly, and royal offices of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 They have as their vocation to radiate the presence of Christ in the midst of the peoples so that 'the divine message of salvation be known and accepted everywhere by the whole of mankind' (Decree of Vatican Council II, Apostolicam Actuositatem on the Apostolate of the Laity, §3)

Some among them are moved by the Holy Spirit to live according to the spirit and charism of St Dominic and are incorporated into the Order by special commitment according to statutes of their own.

They form communities and together with other groups in the Order makeup one family (cf. Constitutions of the Brethren, §141)  

Hence they are marked out by the particular style of their spiritual life and of their service to God and to their neighbor in the Church. As members of the Order, they share in its apostolic mission, by study, prayer, and preaching in keeping with their state as members of the laity."

Drawn up by the International Congress of Dominican Laity, Montreal, June 1985, approved by the Holy See, January 1987, and promulgated by the Master of the Order, February 1987 (see Analecta of the Order, 1987, pp. 82-87).

What Is Involved? 

The Third Order is part of the Dominican Order. In receiving a person into the Novitiate, the Dominican Order makes them a member of the Order. From the beginning of the Order of Preachers, there have always been lay people who associated themselves with the Friars. Some were called to a great involvement in the living out of Dominican spirituality and these were received into the Third Order, whose first Rule was approved in 1285 by the Master of the Order. The tertiary makes a Profession to the Master of the Order himself at the end of that first year. This Profession is one of a promise to live according to the Rule of the Third Order of St. Dominic.

For most modern Third Order Dominicans, living one's vocation in the Order is much different from the way in which religious live. Most Third Order Dominicans work in the world and attend to their vocation of marriage and the responsibilities of family life or to the responsibilities specific to their single state of life. Therefore for most Third Order Dominicans, though not all, community life is most directly experienced in the family. For example, a father who has a vocation to the Third Order carries out most directly the communal aspect of his vocation with his wife and children. He prays with them, cares for them, and helps them.

In addition, Third Order Dominicans, whether single or married, meet with their local chapters and exercise their call to community specifically among this group. The local chapter is a group of lay individuals in a city or area who share in common a vocation to the Third Order. Much as the early Christians who came together to support one another in the faith, Third Order Dominicans try to meet regularly. Each chapter typically gathers once a month for spiritual and intellectual formation; in most cases, a Dominican priest or a professed Dominican tertiary direct this formation. (Most study by a tertiary, then, is done individually throughout the remainder of the month.) In addition to this monthly meeting, the members of the chapter trying to see each other as often as possible at daily or Sunday Mass. If the members are able, the Third Order group can meet from time to time to pray the Divine Office aloud together. Any opportunity for coming together as a group, whether for Mass, prayers or socializing helps to strengthen the unity of the Dominican chapter.

Is This a Lifetime Commitment? 

Final profession in the Third Order of St. Dominic is a lifetime commitment but it is made only after four and a half years of preparation and discernment. Final Profession confirms the individual's vocation in the Order of Preachers. The Rule of the Third Order of Saint Dominic (1987) states that one may advance to Final Profession when: A. The period of temporary profession, at least three years, has preceded the request, B. The On-Going Formation materials have been part of the lessons for advancement, C. An evaluation and approval on the part of the Formation Council is given, D. The candidate has reached his/her twenty-first birthday, and E. The Chapter Council, after meeting and discussing the candidate's qualifications for advancement, gives consent. Members make Final Profession to the Master of the Order, and as such accept the serious canonical obligations of being a Dominican tertiary. During the Rite of Final or Perpetual Profession, the candidate promises "to live according to the Rule of the Third Order of St. Dominic for my whole life."

In one sense becoming a Dominican will take a lifetime. It is a way of life that deepens and grows as long as you live. You do not initiate your own vocation. You are called to a vocation, and so if you are considering Dominican life you need to be drawn to prayer, study, and evangelization. How much time you spend on these pursuits as a Dominican will depend on how God chooses to use you and your talents.