fr Vincent's Diamond Jubilee
On the feast of the Visitation, the English Dominican Province celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of fr Vincent Cook OP who has been at Blackfriars, Oxford for the past 20 years. Many of those who have visited Blackfriars will have seen fr Vincent being helped by his younger brethren and led into church or around Oxford. Fewer realise that Vincent's example of humility, gentle humour and quiet fidelity has helped many a young Dominican to grow and has led them into a deeper appreciation of their vocation.
As the Prior Provincial, fr John Farrell OP, said in his homily, Vincent, like Our Lady and St Elizabeth at the Visitation, has been engaged in the most ordinary things of life - cleaning, washing, preparing food, 'home making' - but this ordinary living has been filled with grace and has led to an extraordinary witness. In Vincent's case, there is a palpable sense of holiness and the Provincial cited psalm 1: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Vincent is noted for his unostentatious observance, his delight in quietly living the religious life, and his detachment from the worldly concerns of younger friars!
Characteristically, Vincent's celebration was simple but beautiful. His family travelled from Blackburn to be with him and after Mass there was a reception in the Refectory for his family and friends.
We wish fr Vincent many more happy years and thank God for gracing him - and us, through him - with 60 years of Dominican religious life.
Above, fr Vincent is watched by the Prior, fr Simon Gaine OP, as he picks out the message left in braille on his anniversary cake. Taken from Revelation 2:17, the Latin Vulgate text reads: "Vincenti dabo manna absconditum", "to the one who is victorious I will give a hidden manna".