A Dominican Journey to Holy Orders

March 29, 2012

The Catholic Herald, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington, VA, recently ran an article on our brother Matthew Carroll, O.P.  Br. Matthew was ordained a Deacon earlier this year and hopes to be ordained a priest in May, 2013.  The article is below:

Br. Matthew Carroll, OP
A religious vocation is a “challenge and responsibility,” surrounded by “so many blessings,” said Dominican Brother Matthew Carroll, a 28-year-old Manassas native who was ordained a deacon earlier this month. Currently living and studying at the Dominican House of Studies in Northeast Washington, D.C., Brother Matthew will spend his diaconate year taking classes during the week and serving Mass at St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean on Sundays. An alumnus of All Saints School in Manassas and Paul VI Catholic School in Fairfax, Brother Matthew visits both schools at least twice a year and maintains a “pen pal” relationship with classes at All Saints. He knows the importance of this personal ministry, because it was in elementary school — second grade, to be precise — that the seed of his vocation was planted. “You never know what lives you’re going touch when you go back there,” Brother Matthew said during a recent interview at the Dominican House. “Kids at that young age are so open to God’s grace.” At Paul VI, he hopes to inspire older students to think about their vocations carefully. “To be there and be able to share a little bit about my own journey and how I got to be where I am … it makes it real,” Brother Matthew said. “To have a brother or a deacon there just to talk to and ask questions of, it’s a great opportunity just to be present with them.” Born March 8, 1984, Brother Matthew is the oldest son of Jane and Matthew Carroll Jr. With his family, including younger brother, Chris, Brother Matthew grew up attending All Saints Parish. After graduating from Paul VI in 2002, he attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, and graduated in 2006 with a major in music and a minor in computer science. The years at William and Mary were extremely formative for Brother Matthew as he began to develop a deeper relationship with God through prayer, community and service. At the end of his sophomore year, he was asked to be the grand Knight in charge of the college council of the Knights of Columbus. That led him to learn more about the Faith and become more active in campus ministry. This led him to attend daily Mass, pray the rosary, go to eucharistic adoration, take spring break service trips and participate in a monthly men’s discernment group. He also served as the coordinator of spiritual life activities during his senior year. Brother Matthew’s familiarity with the Dominican order came, simply, through their presence. Every weekend, priests from the Dominican House drove to Williamsburg to celebrate Mass for the students. As a result, “I began to find myself drawn to the Dominican way of life,” Brother Matthew said — especially the community aspect of it. The call to the priesthood that he had been experiencing on and off since elementary school “began to resurface,” he said. But that discernment wasn’t entirely painless. “I fought it for quite a while,” Brother Matthew said. “Eventually at one point I realized that in order to be happy I had to accept this call from God. With that realization, it really was a moment of great joy and peace — to finally stop trying to do things my own way and to give myself into God’s hands. “No matter how much I tried to run away or try to hide from this call, it wasn’t going to work,” he added. “If I tried to hide or tried run away … it would be a life on the run. That wasn’t what I wanted.” During his senior year, Brother Matthew visited the Dominican House on a vocations weekend, applied and was accepted. After graduating from William and Mary in 2006, he joined the Dominicans in July. “It’s great to have that community life in the Lord, to be together with your brothers who are after the same things, who are after living a life completely given over to God,” he said. “To have that fraternal life together is really a great blessing.” Brother Matthew spent his novitiate year at St. Gertrude Parish in Cincinnati praying and learning the Dominican life. On Aug. 15, 2007, he made his simple profession — taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for three years. Back in Washington that fall, he began to take classes at the Dominican House, where he is in his third year. Brother Matthew was ordained a deacon March 10 at the Dominican House chapel. Because of his local ties, he had a strong showing of friends and family present to cheer him on. “It was a great day of joy to be able to share that day with all of them,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to his time of service, especially where the liturgy is concerned. A week later, Brother Matthew returned to All Saints to preach, for the first time, in the Arlington Diocese. Overall, his time of formation has been a “great time of growth,” he said, including the development of a deep devotion to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Mother. To give himself over to the Lord by studying and preaching for the salvation of souls is “a great blessing,” he said. “It’s a great call. To be able to respond to that is a wonderful thing.”

More News & Events