26th August is the Feast of Passionist Blessed Dominic Barberi or Dominic of the Mother of God as he is also known.
you sent Blessed Dominic
to seek out the lost sheep of your flock
by preaching your truth
and witnessing to your love.
May we follow his example
and build up the unity of your Church
as a sign of faith and love.
Taken from Fr. Julian Tenison Woods and the Passionists”, Fr. Gerard Mahony C.P., Passionist Via, December 1980
Fr. Dominic was a humble sort of person and so was undaunted by the laughter and smiles of the people as he tried to preach. He decided to give the people a little MIssion as preparation for Holy Week. So he preached his first full-length sermon on Passion Sunday, 13th March 1842. The English of his extant manuscript was fairly good, but his delivery and accent were bewildering.
“He stood up boldly and preached Christ Crucified”, wrote Fr. Bernard O’Loughlin, C.P. (This priest came from around Birmingham and entered Aston Hall England as a lay novice. Dominic professed him as a cleric and he later became Provincial). “But his language was so broken and imperfect that even the pious could not suppress their amusement”. (Archiv. Ormskirk). He prefaced his sermon with an apology for all the mistakes that he would make, and then proceeded to open his heart. “I cannot explain to you the feelings of my heart. One thing only I will say to you, that the greatest part of you were not yet born since I was desirous to see you and do something for you. There are now 28 years since I expect the moment of coming to you. Behold now, I am in the very of all my desires upon the earth. Now I have nothing to do but dedicate all my soul, my heart, and my entire life, for the glory of God and for your spiritual advantage. I shall begin today, but I hope shall not finish until my death.” (AP. MSS iv. 11.5-17)
In the end, he won them all over and the converts began to multiply. For seven years Dominic preached missions and retreats all over the country. And when death overtook him his body was brought back to these people at Aston that he had come to love so much.