Fr. Bryan as Regent of Studies for the WDP
Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, OP was nominated Regent of Studies for the Western Dominican Province at its quadrennial Chapter in January and confirmed by the Master of the Order on February 3, 2011 to a four-year term. In the following interview he answered some questions about his new role and the responsibilities and challenges that come with it.
Q: What does the Regent of Studies do?
Fr. Bryan: In the Order of Preachers, each province has a Regent of Studies to promote and coordinate the intellectual life of the province. Working under the authority of the Prior Provincial and with advice from the province’s intellectual life commission, he has special care for its center for studies, and works with the intellectual life commission and friars throughout his province. The Regent also takes part in coordination and planning efforts with the regents of nearby provinces and the entire Order.
Q: What do you see as your chief priorities at this time?
Fr. Bryan: The formation of the friars will remain a central priority, of course, but there are many challenges facing us as a province. Let me begin with the need for regional and worldwide cooperation that I already mentioned. We could see this cooperation merely as a requirement, but actually it is a tremendous opportunity. The fact that our Order is located throughout the world is a great asset, offering great potential for intellectual engagement. There is a kind of built-in network of people across the globe – our friars in their communities engaged actively in the Church and regional culture – that can widen our perspective in many ways. I hope that exchanges across regions can receive an even greater emphasis for us as a Province.
Q: Where would DSPT fit into this priority?
Fr. Bryan: I hope that exchanges of professors and students can become more frequent between DSPT and institutions of higher studies in other provinces, not only among the friars, but also among other religious and laity. There will be administrative and financial challenges associated with these exchanges, of course, but the enrichment of intellectual and cultural life would be great for all students and faculty at DSPT. We have taken many steps in this direction already, but I would like us to continue forward with this.
Q: Are there other challenges you would like to mention?
Fr. Bryan: There are many, but one more that comes to mind is trying to improve the connection between DSPT and the other ministries of our Province. DSPT depends on the support of the Western Dominican Province, and in turn, DSPT trains friars for the mission of preaching. Our province has come to realize that DSPT is also an apostolate to the Church in the West, bringing the Gospel to the world in a respectful, informed, and deeper way. Yet DSPT has great potential also to be a resource for our own apostolates – a resource for the friars and for the laity and others with whom we work. For example, it can offer classes for priests and other ministers. It can also make special lectures or events more accessible, through on-site visits by lecturers or by webcasting events. In fact, the DSPT is already experimenting with live-streaming lectures, beginning with my own Aquinas Lecture on March 2.
Q: Is there anything that particularly excites you as you look forward to your work ahead?
Fr. Bryan: Preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ remains my main passion and calling – and I see my work at DSPT as a part of that. But how do you preach unless you remain in prayer with God, together with your faith community, and in dialogue with the world? I see the intellectual life as a kind of extension of these three kinds of conversation – with God, Church, and world. The Regent of Studies is one who needs to be in active dialogue with many different constituencies, among the friars, in the Church, and beyond. I look forward to those many conversations.
Q: Your specialty in theology is eschatology, or the “Last Things.” Will this affect your perspective on your role as Regent of Studies?
Fr. Bryan: Well, it does give me some perspective. I sure don’t think it’s the end of the world just because I was named Regent! Seriously, I believe that the teaching that “Christ will come again” helps us to look humbly at our future. That means not trying to impose our will on the future, but rather, to try to see where God is leading us. We are also to remember always that the kingdom is never fully realized, but is supposed to grow. So we are not to sit back passively. We need a kind of active listening, to God and to witnesses to the truth throughout the centuries and today – which, by the way, is not a bad image for the intellectual life in the Christian tradition. I hope I can be someone who actively and responsively listens, and acts, for the good of the province, the Church, and the world.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Fr. Bryan: Yes: please pray for me, as I do for all those who support DSPT.
Fr. Kromholtz will be delivering the Aquinas Lecture at DSPT on March 2 at 7:30 pm.