2 Times Dominican Friars Made Some News in 2016

Dominican friarsdomini_canes041Normally, Dominican friars are kind, unassuming guys, traveling the world in their distinctive white or black-and-white habits, rosaries looped to their belts, preaching the Gospel wherever they go.

But this week, one caused a bit of a fuss when he was spotted walking in the vicinity of the Bloomington campus of Indiana University, prompting a frightened student to tweet:


The online multi-university news site The Tab got the scoop:

Students widely disseminated messages like the above. There was no safety alert released by the University.

While the KKK has been active in the area in the past, it later became apparent this klansman armed with a whip was actually just a monk of the Dominican order in traditional white robes. The “whip” he was holding may have been his rosary beads.

He was sighted off campus the same evening at the Red Mango on 10th St.

And here he is:


From The Tab:

Meet Father Jude McPeak, a Dominican friar, an active member of the St. Paul’s Catholic Church network, and the man of the cloth whose great habit contributed to the biggest false alarm IU has encountered since Read Residence Center’s most recent literal false alarm.

He’s actually been an active member of the community since he became an ordained priest and came to St. Paul’s in Bloomington two years ago. In fact, he was doing the Lord’s work with students the night of his rise to IU celebrity.

“I help run a men’s group that meets in the Wright formal lounge Monday nights,” Father Jude explained.

Or, as one student said:


Since Dominicans are an order of preachers, one could consider this incident of mistaken identity a chance at evangelization. If students at this university didn’t know what a Dominican priest was before, they do now! After all, the black-and-white robes of a Dominican look like a sheepdog, and it’s the job of such a dog to help its Master go out and find the lost sheep, corralling them all into the safety of the Church.

In fact, one of the symbols of the Dominican Order of Preachers is a dog with a flaming torch in its mouth. Here’s how one Dominican Website explains it:

The symbol of the dog has been applied particularly to St. Dominic, the Founder of the Preachers, to signify his mission as Preacher par excellence. His first historian and successor, Jordan of Saxony, in the biography written just before the canonization (1233), recorded the vision which the mother of Dominic had before his birth. She saw the child under the form of a dog, holding in his jaws a flaming torch and setting fire to the world. Jordan explains that this signified what an illustrious preacher Dominic would be, for by the barking of sacred wisdom he would awaken souls from the slumber of sin and pour out upon the entire world the fire which our Lord Jesus came on earth to kindle.(25)

The second historian of St. Dominic, Peter Ferrand, who wrote shortly after the canonization, included the same fact in his account and developed the symbolism more explicitly. Among other things, he declared that Dominic would put to flight, and drive off the wolves from the flock by the barking of his incessant preaching.(26)

The symbol is also explained in a recent short animated film, called “Domini Canes,” by student filmmaker Jakub Bednarz. Here’s what YouTube has to say about it:

***Official selection Holland Animation Film Festival 2016
Film made for the 800-years anniversary of the Dominican Order. A story based on a legend about the dream of mother of St. Dominic, in which she gave birth to a dog that would set fire to the world, with a lit torch held between his teeth. The story later became the symbol of Saint Dominic and the Dominican friars.

Interestingly, while it doesn’t have the reputation of a Christian nation, Holland was also the country where “The Passion” originated a few years ago. The musical outdoor presentation of the Passion of Christ, using popular music, includes a street procession with participants carrying a lighted cross. On Palm Sunday, Fox aired an American version, set in New Orleans.

Here’s Bednarz’s lovely film in its entirety:

Images: Courtesy Jakub Bednarz, The Tab

Visit the Family Theater Productions homepage and Facebook page to learn more about how FTP is reaching out to Hollywood and producing its own projects.