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A Calling in Crisis

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This Sunday, it's Orique's turn to deliver the homily, or sermon. He takes as his text the story of Lazarus. He talks about how Lazarus's sisters, Mary and Martha, react differently to the apparent death and then resurrection of their brother by Jesus, likening this to how his own family members reacted when one of his brothers died. He works in quotes from American author Mark Twain and English poet William Wordsworth. He uses a little black humor in the form of a joke to lighten the subject.

"Jesus calls us to leave whatever tomb we are in," he tells parishioners.

The wood-paneled church, simple in design and decoration with its single candle on the altar and stained glass window above, seats about 300. The two Sunday morning services (mass is performed four times over the weekend) are filled with families as well as university students and older parishioners. The happy din of children mixes with the hymns accompanied by guitars and other instruments.

Later, Orique wants to know if the sermon worked. He works hard on his homilies, scans magazines for ideas while working out across the street at the gym, and seeks regular feedback from a couple of parishioners who are retired English professors here. Dominicans (who spend eight years in seminary instead of four years in seminary for most diocesan priests) are known as the "Order of Preachers" dating back to their founding by Spanish priest Dominic de Guzman in the 13th century.

Of those who hear his homilies, he says: "My goal is to see God in them, and for them to see God in me."

* * *

Ever since the mid-1960s, the Roman Catholic Church has been going through an evolution that may ultimately be revolutionary. This doesn't have to do – directly, at least – with basic theological beliefs or the church's position on such issues as abortion, birth control, unmarried priests remaining celibate, the role of women in religious orders, or the authority of the Vatican – all of which remain fixed.

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