Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Beautiful New Vestments for the Dominican Order

Our long-time contributor, and photographer extraordinaire, Fr Lawrence Lew OP, is currently serving as prior and parish priest of the Dominican church in London, dedicated to St Dominic and Our Lady of the Rosary. The church has recently received some very nice new vestments, beautifully decorated with symbols of the Dominican Order. Fr Lew writes: “To celebrate the 800th anniverary of the English Dominican Province, we decided to commission vestments that will be used by the brethren for concelebrated Masses. I worked with Adam Bławat (of Benedicamus.pl) on the design of the vestments, including the customised damask and orphrey we designed together that features the Holy Rosary, Dominican heraldry and other symbols. This set will be used for the first time at an ordination at St Dominic’s Church on July 4th.

With the help of benefactors, I hope in time that the Rosary Shrine will have vestments with this design in all the main liturgical colours. If any Dominican brothers, convents, provinces would like to order similar vestments, please contact me - we should club together and co-ordinate the order!” Anyone who is interested can contact Fr Lew via email at lawrence.lew@english.op.org. Our thanks to him for sharing these pictures with us.

The dalmatic.
A closer view of the orphrey, with the alternating black-and-white cross of the Dominican Order (a shape known in heraldry as a “cross fleury”), and the MR monogram of the Virgin Mary.

Heraldic symbols of the Dominican Order woven into the damask: at the upper middle, an eight pointed star with a gold-and-white alternation as on the cross fleury seen above; rosaries enclosing a floral border, within which are symbols of the three sets of mysteries of the rosary (a flower for the Joyful Mysteries, a Crown of Thorns for the Sorrowful Mysteries, and an MR with a crown over it for the Glorious Mysteries); a coat of arms of the Order; two dogs with torches in their mouths. These last refer to a pun commonly made about the Dominicans in the Middle Ages, by which they were called “Domini canes - the hounds of the Lord.” It also refers to a vision which St Dominic’s mother, Bl. Juana de Aza, had when she was pregnant with him, of a dog with a torch in its mouth, a symbol of how her son’s preaching would enflame the world. (Closer views of the details given below.)
The chasuble; this is the pose of a priest when he says “Dominus vobiscum” facing the people during the Dominican Mass.

In the Dominican Mass, as in most medieval Uses and the Ambrosian Rite, the priest extends his arms out in the form of a cross at the Unde et memores.

Fr Lew celebrating a Votive Mass of St Dominic in the rite of his order with these vestments today.

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