The Madison Chapter of the Lay Dominicans celebrated the Solemnity of St. Dominic on Aug. 8 at Blessed Sacrament Parish with an installation ceremony of its members, including two couples from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Fr. Andy McAlpin, O.P., Pastor, reflected on the significance of the day. “This time of year always brings the memories flowing to us who have lived the life of a Dominican friar, sister or lay person in the Dominican laity. On this beautiful day where we celebrate taking the habit, or the scapular, for the first time. And it is a simple profession that marks the day we take the letters O.P. at the end of our names — the Order of Preachers.”

Fr. McAlpin explained that St. Dominic started the order after his experience with the Albigensian heresy – a good and an evil God. “Dominic spent the entire evening speaking with this man and telling him the truth. And by sun up, the man had returned to Holy Mother Church, proclaiming the true faith, and receiving our Lord and reconciliation, receiving the fullness of grace of God, and repenting from following false gods.”

St. Dominic’s concern was, “What will become of sinners?” What will be the cost for those who do not repent from a sin they knowingly engage in? He saw of lack of education, the lack of knowledge of God and said, “I must do something about it.”

“We have people here today who believe the same,” said Fr. McAlpin.  “I must do something about this.”

Lay Dominicans are men and women, singles and couples living a Christian life with a Dominican spirituality in the secular world. All of the participants in this installation ceremony are members of the Madison Chapter of the Lay Dominicans.

Rachel Dembrun, O.P., and Jared Dembrun live in the archdiocese of Milwaukee. Rachel is a middle school religion teacher at St. Jerome Parish School in Oconomowoc. Jared is a cybersecurity consultant at SysLogic in Brookfield. Rachel became interested in the Dominican Order in 2014 when she was discerning with the Nashville Dominican sisters. She said, “I was drawn to their joy and teaching charism, and felt a special connection to St. Dominic’s zeal to save souls through preaching the Gospel.” Jared became interested in the Dominican Order when he discerned with the friars in San Francisco. He said, “I loved reading about St. Dominic’s passion for the truth and sharing that truth with others.” They are happy to be able to live out the Dominican charism of preaching together in the Lay Order.

Dr. Nicholas Eastman, O.P., and his wife, Holly, live in the archdiocese of Milwaukee. They have three children — Elizabeth, James and Paul. He is the assistant professor of educational studies at Ripon College.  “I was drawn to the rich intellectual tradition of the Dominicans, but what I love most about this tradition is that rigorous study and pursuit of the truth is not about winning arguments or solving academic problems. Its purpose is the conversion of hearts and the salvation of souls.”

The Madison Chapter of Lay Dominicans are part of the Province of St. Albert the Great (Central USA).

To learn more about the Lay Dominicans, contact Mary Ellen Rodriguez, chapter moderator at