Breaking Ground for the Charlottesville Priory

On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, a groundbreaking and blessing marked the beginning of a new era for the Dominican Friars in Charlottesville. The excitement was palpable, with a crowd of supporting friars, parishioners, and neighbors standing by to watch as Fr. Luke Clark, O.P., pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, and Fr. Joseph Scordo, O.P., one of his parochial vicars, happily shoved their golden shovels into the pile of dirt ceremonially provided for the occasion. At their side stood Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, also equipped with a golden shovel. His was the first attack on the mound—demonstrating with his smile and vigorous spade-wielding how joyful the occasion was for all Dominicans, especially in the Province of Saint Joseph.

The groundbreaking was, perhaps a simple affair (even with the sumptuous celebratory reception parishioners arranged for it), but, indeed, signifies a remarkable achievement for Charlottesville. The priory is a visible commitment of the Dominicans to the Charlottesville and University of Virginia community for the coming century. As Archbishop DiNoia articulated clearly in his remarks at the groundbreaking and at the Inaugural Ceremony the following day for the new President of UVA, the kinship between the Dominican Friars and Mr. Jefferson’s University is a natural and an important one. It is a joyful thing to anticipate the continuing growth and fruitful labors of the Order of Preachers at so vibrant a font of learning. The attendance of so many students and faculty at the groundbreaking shows clearly that the excitement is shared across and around the lovely Grounds of the University.

Donations are joyfully welcomed. For more information, please contact Lori Donlon (; 434-293-8081).

Cross posted from the Dominican Daily

Watch a video of the Groundbreaking ceremony.

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