Libro de Oración Común
By Julius Ariail
Posted May 6, 2014

A copy of the Spanish Book of Common Prayer in Iglesia Episcopal Santiago Apóstol in Los Conucos. This prayer book was donated by the Diocese of Virginia, and has obviously been well-used.

In 2012 the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguín, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic, put out a call for the donation of 1,000 copies of Libro de Oración Común, the Spanish translation of the Book of Common Prayer, for use in Dominican Episcopal churches. Bishop Holguín noted that there was a great deficit of Prayer Books in many Dominican churches, and that some books currently in use were worn and tattered. He suggested that incoming mission teams bring 20 copies of these Prayer Books, and then the Dominican diocesan staff would distribute them to churches in need. Bishop Holguín’s appeal was included in two of the 2012 issues of Compañeros Dominicanos, the newsletter of the Dominican Development Group (DDG). Praying in your own language with the Book of Common Prayer as a guide encourages newcomers to the church to follow along with the details of the service.

Bishop Holguín's request for donation of prayer books in the DDG newsletter, January 2012.

Alan McCollom, an experienced mission team leader from the Diocese of Connecticut, read these appeals in Compañeros Dominicanos and made arrangements to bring 20 copies of the Prayer Book on his next trip with a contingent of young people from Connecticut to conduct Vacation Bible School at Iglesia Episcopal Santa Margarita in Santo Domingo. Alan has led five such mission trips to Iglesia Episcopal Santa Margarita, and the sixth is scheduled for June 28-July 6, 2014.

From left: Aimee Merkle-Scotland, Alan McCollom, Louise Beecher, and Lucy Galasso (Alan's wife). All four were missioners to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2013.

During that 2013 trip, Alan realized that the need for Prayer Books was so great that a more comprehensive donation project would be quite helpful. Returning to his home parish, St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where he is the chair of the Outreach Committee, he applied for a grant from the Church Missions Publishing Company (CPMC), a granting agency of the Diocese of Connecticut that supports communication and publications about domestic and foreign mission activities. The CPMC is especially interested in partnering with the mission activities of local churches within the Diocese of Connecticut. For the calendar year of 2014, the CPMC made approximately US$30,000 in grants, and US$2,000 of that total was awarded to the Dominican Prayer Book project. Alan’s home church, St. Saviour’s, contributed another US$1,000 to the project, for a total of US$3,000.

In consultation with Karen Carroll, a full-time missionary who works on the staff of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic to coordinate the work of mission teams and other mission projects such as this, Alan contacted Bill Kunkle, the Executive Director of the Dominican Development Group, to make arrangements to relay the donated funds to the Treasurer of the Dominican diocese. The DDG has set up international financial transaction channels to move funds securely to the Dominican church, and those channels were used for this project.

The funds arrived at the Dominican diocesan office on February 5, 2014. The Rev. Canon Juan Márquez, the Vicar General (Canon to the Ordinary) of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic, was in charge of ordering the books. Shipping through the facilities of Agape Flights in Venice, Florida, cost US$320, leaving US$2,680 to buy 160 Prayer Books at a cost of US$16 each. The books arrived at the diocesan office in Santo Domingo in March, 2014. Bishop Holguín will transport them to churches in need as a part of his cycle of annual pastoral visitations.

Bishop Holguín with the boxes of the prayer books donated by this project.

Interested in a project like this in your own church or diocese? For more information, contact Alan McCollom <>, Karen Carroll <>, or Bill Kunkle <>. Bishop Holguín’s call for mission teams to bring Prayer Books with them is still active, so donation projects on any scale from individual team to parish or diocese are welcome. The DDG has experience in coordinating complex mission projects such as those on a parish or diocesan level, and stands ready to provide any assistance needed.