Dominican Priories: Cracow, Poland
Just as Cracow is a really important place on the map of Poland, so too the Dominican priory is a vital part of the map of Cracow. The Blackfriars arrived in this city in 1223, only a few years after the Order of Friars Preachers was established. The founder of the Cracow Priory was St Hyacinth, who had received the religious habit from St Dominic in 1221. To this day there exists a lively veneration of St Hyacinth. He is the patron of the Polish Dominican Province and of Cracow as well. Every day many people make a pilgrimage to his tomb and also the brothers of St Hyacinth go in procession to the Founder of their Province just after the evening prayers.
The Tomb of St Hyacinth
The Dominican priory in Cracow is one of the biggest in the Dominican Order. Currently, there are eighty-seven brothers living there. Exactly forty of them are priests with pastoral and academic activities. There are around ten chaplaincies for the youth, students and families. It is worth noting that in this year, the Dominican academic chaplaincy Beczka (The Barrel) celebrates its fiftieth jubilee. Beczka is the oldest chaplaincy for students in Cracow and at present there are over two hundred people involved. But the most important of the Blackfriars’ activities is certainly preaching and celebrating the Liturgy. Every Sunday approximately four thousand people attend Mass, and many of them go to Mass during a week as well. In particular the liturgy of the Holy Triduum enjoys popularity among not only among Cracow’s inhabitants but also people from the whole of southern Poland.
Easter Vigil in the Dominican Basilica
The Dominican priory in Cracow is also the House of Formation and Studies for Polish Dominicans. There is the Philosophy and Theology College where forty and seven Dominican friars and six Benedictine monks are studying in preparation for the priesthood and life as Religious. Teachers in the Dominican College are both Dominicans, and lecturers from the Jagiellonian University, the Catholic University of Lublin as well as the Pontifical University of John Paul II. In this studentscommunity live together not only Polish friars but also brothers from Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and Slovakia.
Vespers in the Basilica
Apart from daily preaching and celebrating the Liturgy, Dominican friars are involved in many intellectual and cultural projects. Blackfriars organise theological conferences as well as debates about religion, spiritual life and modern social problems. The Dominican Liturgical Centre attached to Cracow priory thrives, gathering lots of people interested in promoting the beauty of liturgy and enhancing the quality of liturgical music in Poland. Also the Provincial Archives and the Dominican Historical Institute are placed in Cracow. There, many experts cooperate with Dominican historians who publish relevant books about Middle Ages and the history of the Dominican Order. Finally, for five years there has been the Dominican Studium of Philosophy and Theology which offers a four-year programme of studies for everyone who wants to know the theological basics or wishes simply to broaden their knowledge of God.
All of these activities are aimed at accomplishing the Dominican charism: to preach to all, everywhere and every possible means. Dominican friars during a recreation
Dominican Ordinations to the Priesthood with English subtitles
Top image: Dominican Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Cracow