Our latest blog post comes from Dominican Volunteer Sean Puzzo.
Sean serves with the Dominican Youth Movement in Amityville New York and helps coordinate The Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference, the National College Preaching in Action Conference, and Dominican Young Adults USA.
Sean reflects on how these conferences have gradually shaped his Dominican journey .
Sean also does the graphic design for our monthly Dominican Volunteers USA Newsletter.
Thank you for your Dominican service, Sean!
My time as a Dominican Volunteer is rapidly coming to an end. I have spent the last year with the Dominican Youth Movement USA which connects today’s youth and young adults to the Dominican tradition of preaching and the participant’s own call to preach. The year was filled
with great joys and great challenges all which led to the decision to commit for a second service year.
Although there are many parts about this year that I’d like to share I’m going to focus on the last month of my year of service. While many of my fellow Dominican Volunteers years were winding down as their jobs were coming to an end or their schools letting out, DYMUSA still had two major programs ahead of us - the National College Preaching in Action Conference and the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference. In short - These conferences empower students to discover and deepen the preacher within themselves. Participants spend a week actively engaged in prayer, study, service, community, and creative ways to make preaching a living dynamic in their daily lives. These conferences, especially the college conference hold a special place in my heart as it was there where I was first introduced to Dominican Volunteers some four years ago.
I had attended the conference three times, but this was the first time in which I was involved with the running of the conference. How lucky I was that the college conference was being hosted by my alma mater, Caldwell University. It’s safe to say that at the end of the conference I could finally take a deep breath and a looooooong well-deserved nap.
It was at this conference which I think I first heard God “talking” to me. Each day of the conference focuses on a different aspect of preaching - Dominican preaching, through the signs of the times, through service, through the arts. That first year, on the final day, preaching through the arts, I felt God somewhat screaming to me. He was saying, “Hey, Sean! This is for you! You can preach through art!” As a graphic designer/artists, I always seemed to be unsure of that whole God-given talent thing - I sometimes felt that he skipped over me, but after that day it was made painfully clear that preaching through art was going to be my jam so to speak.
Here I am four years later working for the Dominican Youth Movement USA which sponsors the college conference. I believe God saw I had a gift to share. He answered my desire to find a way to put faith, justice, and design together as this year I was able to work with S. Gina to remodel the website, program materials, create promotional videos, and continue to put DYMUSA and it's programmed in the spotlight I so believe it deserves.
I was excited to work with DYMUSA because I thought back to that day at the college conference when it all seemed to just click. I thought if I could make just one connection like that with a student the whole year would be worth it. Sure enough, I made many more than just one.
From the students at the Youth Preaching Workshops to the Dominican Young Adults, to most recently the high school and college preaching conference - each allowed me to share my faith journey. Throughout the years it seems that Jesus’ message to us has become ever complicated. Yet, for me and these students, through the Four Pillars (rooted in apostolic tradition) and ideals of Dominican Life it has become clear and an integral part of our lives. Another part of my ministry this year was documenting our programs through photography and video. One of my favorite things of the year was watching students develop and especially capture that moment that God spoke to them and this whole “preaching” thing made sense to them.
As I look forward, I am forever grateful to the opportunities that DYMUSA, especially S. Gina Fleming, OP, my administrator, have given me throughout this year. This truly is a program that is answering the call of St. Dominic to find new ways to preach.
I invite and encourage you to visit www.dymusa.org to learn more about the important work we are doing to spread the charism.
|Sean at the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference|