Accidental Theologian

Mr. Mark Connolly, OP, MTS

Hello! I am a permanently professed lay Dominican. I went through a little over a year of inquiry, a little over a year of candidacy, a little over three years of temporary promises, and became permanently professed earlier this year (2021.)

I am 64, married to Rosie, we have two children, 7 grandkids with one on the way, two Great Pyrenees, two new kittens.

Short recap of faith journey: After my wife and I married we rediscovered our faith – we are both what are called reverts, and I became active in RCIA for Children and Youth, attended a CHRP retreat, joined a men’s group called Joe Catholic, and just generally threw myself into understanding and growing in my faith and understanding of Christ’s church and my role. Rosie bought me the Liturgy of the Hours one Christmas, and I was struggling off and on trying to understand and use that.

Somewhere along the line I ran into the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, and actually went to the St. Albert the Great Priory in Irving Texas for the rites involved in joining the Confraternity. Oh, and I attend St. Catherine of Siena in Carrollton, TX. Apparently I was destined to become a lay Dominican. (St. Albert the Great was a Dominican and teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Catherine was a lay Dominican.)

The man who started Joe Catholic, Don Gonzalez, encouraged me to apply to the Masters program, and I did – it just sort of felt like the correct next step. Three years later, in 2014, I received the Masters of Theological Studies degree from Ave Maria University.

Why did I pursue a Masters in Theology? Well, not for the high paying Religious Ed position at my local parish. As Professor Bushman told me when we were talking about why this and why now, “Knowledge is an end in itself.” Nevertheless, when I was done with that degree I was looking at the diploma and wondering, “Now what?”

One Saturday morning a man named Sir Patrick Norton (that’s what Rosie calls him anyway) gave a talk at Joe Catholic about third order religious. He closed with the revelation that he was a lay Dominican. (The Dominicans don’t use the term 3rd order.) I spoke with him for some time after our meeting and asked for more information. Long story short I attended an inquiry meeting, and here I am 6 years later.

Because I like to read and write, most of my preaching is via blogging, and I have written a couple of articles for this website. One you might find interesting is Four Causes, Four Pillars. I also meet weekly in my Theological Armory with some friends and we discuss the sublime to the ridiculous over whiskey and cigars.

I consider it an honor and a privilege and a distinct responsibility to be a lay Dominican. If we have not already met, I look forward to meeting you and sharing Community, Study, Contemplation and Preaching with you.

Aristotle defined friendship as two people searching together for the Truth. I hope that we will become friends.

Veritas.

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