Wednesday, September 12
Dominican (O.P.) Day Celebrations A Success
Units of professed brethren from as far away as Providence College, the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and the Angelicum marched in formation, accompanied by baton-twirling drill-teams of Ann Arbor sisters and one rather muddled group of pom-pom-waving friars from Southern California with whom the Master-General will probably have a little talking-to at some point.
One highlight was the special O.P. K-9 Section from the novitiate in Cincinnati, who formed a dog pyramid while holding flaming torches in their mouths while stopped in front of the reviewing stand at St. Pat's, to the honor of this year's grand marshal, English theologian Aidan Nichols, who rode at the head of the parade in a giant float (due to some last-minute miscommunications) shaped like a mango and holding Miss Dominicana Angelita Santos from Union City, New Jersey.
Other celebrities in this year's procession included Brother Jordan of Saxony Cartwright, the winner of this year's Jordan of Saxony look-alike contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and professional Catherine of Siena impersonator Sister M. Joan Newhart, sister of Bob Newhart.
Bob Newhart himself put in a cameo appearance at the subsequent Black Tie (and Cappa) Gala (with salsa dancing and monastic chant) at the Club Dominicana at St. Vincent Ferrer's bringing the house down with his impression of St. Dominic attempting to explain the nine ways of prayer over the phone to Angelus the Carmelite.
A few small tragedies marred this year's wonderful pageantry. As early as a week before the festivities, several carloads of Nashville Dominicans in souped-up T-birds blasting Salve Regina over their boomboxes disturbed the peace of a few residents on the Lower East Side, as well as getting into a rumble with some roller-blading Sisters of Life in the process. A lone VW Bug filled with CFRs flying the Franciscan flag was sighted cruising up and down in front of St. Vincent's looking for trouble. It was then vandalized by a large and intimidating spray-paint wielding friar (subsequently identified as one Brother Justin), while on Wednesday, several men in plaid shirts loitering in front of St. Francis Xavier's in the Village were mistaken for Jesuits and given atomic wedgies.
Despite this, the local Provincial, Fr. Thomas McGregor, has deemed the festival a success and hopes next year will prove even better. However, his perspective is not shared by everyone, such as the contingent of foreign notables from Ciudad Trujillo who were mistakenly invited to the Reviewing Stand and then turned away. "What are all these crazy old gringos doing marching down Fifth Avenue in their bathrobes?" Francisco Suarez of the Juan Pablo Duarte Chapter of the Rotary Club, asked. "I thought this was a Dominican parade!"