Now, every year Dominican friars, sisters, and laity all over the world celebrate St. Dominic on May 24.
Mass is celebrated at the Basilica of Santa Sabina, the mother church of the Dominicans in Rome, for this feast.
The tradition is for a priest of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans, to say the Mass and preach. After Mass, the procession of friars stops at the first side chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, to sing the O Lumen, the Dominican antiphon to St. Dominic.
Besides the tomb with the saint's body, which is in the basilica in Bologna, there are few relics of St. Dominic in existence.
One relic, a piece of his skull, can be found in Rome. It is at the church of Santa Maria del Rosario, part of a Dominican monastery located on Monte Mario, the tallest hill of Rome.
Fr. Urru said he was not sure how it came to be kept in the monastery, but that it originated when some students in Bologna stole it to have in their chapel.
"There is also the breviary of St. Dominic, a small breviary," he said.
In 2016, the Dominicans celebrated the 800th anniversary of their founding with a Jubilee Year, culminating in an International Congress for the Mission of the Order, which took place Jan. 17-21 in Rome.
Fr. Urru voiced gratitude for the blessing of vocations, which allow the order's work to continue.
Thankfully, though there are some provinces which are very small, many are growing and are very strong, he noted, such as those in Vietnam and Africa. The United States as well has seen a good number of new vocations, he said.
Around the world, "there are many initiatives of the order," and they are working hard still, just as they have the last 800 years.
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Ultimately, though, he said, the future of the order is "in the hands of God."
This article was originally published on CNA Aug. 8, 2017.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.