This afternoon I spent my time at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the Dominican House of Studies to meet with Br. Antoninus. After having lunch I headed over to the Basilica and arrived an hour and a half early for the meeting so I decided to stop by the Basilica’s crypt and found that a Byzantine Catholic vespers was being celebrated in the Byzantine chapel so I decided to join in. I was pleasantly surprised that the vespers were the same as the OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) Greek Orthodox vespers that are celebrated at American University. This was not my first time to a Byzantine Catholic service, I went to a Pentecost Divine Liturgy while in Rome at Santa Maria in Cosmedin but it was in Italian so I had no idea what was being said. As far as I could tell the liturgy for the vespers was the same liturgy that is used during the OCF vespers. It was like I was in an Orthodox church with the icons and iconostasis. After the vespers I headed across the street to the Dominican House of Studies to meet with Br. Antoninus.
During my meeting with Br. Antoninus I talked about my decision to join the Catholic and about RCIA classes in general. Br. Antoninus was interested in why I choose the Catholic because, as Brother said, he was raised Catholic and didn’t experience the decision of choosing to be Catholic. After our meeting Br. Antoninus showed me around the Dominican House of Studies. I was very impressed with the beauty of the small chapel along the main hall and by the sanctuary where Mass is celebrated and the Daily Offices are Held. The Marian imagery in the sanctuary was absolutely beautiful with the stories of the Blessed Virgin giving St. Dominic the rosary, the reredos at the high alter depicting the Mysteries of the Rosary, and the statue of a pregnant Mary symbolizing the coming of the Word. After seeing the sanctuary Br. Antoninus showed me the library and a project he is currently working on translating one of St. Antoninus’ writings into English. I was also shown where the classrooms were on the second floor. I was also invited back to the Dominican House of Studies for their Sunday Mass. I will be going back for Mass for sure! I was also very taken by the hospitality that was shown to me while at the House of Studies from the Brother’s there.