The International Augustinian Education Congress took place at Villanova University from July 24-28, 2017. More than 150 participants from over 50 of our Augustinian Centers of Education attended the Congress with representation from 25 different countries. The theme of the Congress was Augustinian Pedagogy: A Passion for Education.
Most of the congress was hosted on the campus of Villanova University in the USA, with visits to Malvern Preparatory School and St. Augustine Parish in Philadelphia on Wednesday morning and afternoon.
The congress included spoken presentations, networking opportunities, liturgical celebrations, delicious meals, and creative workshops. Each of the workshops provided opportunities for interaction between the presenters and participants. Each participating center of education was able to share information about their Augustinian school with other participants. At the conclusion of the congress, many people commented on the valuable opportunity the congress provided to meet so many colleagues in education and to learn from each other how we teach and learn in our centers.
Congratulations and thank you to all who participated in this congress and to all who serve in the ministry of Augustinian Education.
Here is a link for more information and pictures Congress Page
Today, Saturday, 29 July 2017, the news was announced that the Holy Father, Pope Francis has named our brother, Fr. Helizandro Terán Bermúdez, OSA, of the Vicariate of Venezuela, Province of the Philippines (Spain), the Bishop of the diocese of Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela. Bishop-elect Terán Bermúdez was born on 7 June 1965 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. After having completed his studies in the Colegio Gonzaga de Maracaibo, he began studies at the Universidad Cecilio Acosta, but interrupted his studies in order to enter the Seminario de los Padres Agostinos in Caracas in 1987. After completing his pre-novitiate in Ocotal (Nicaragua) in 1990, he entered the novitiate (1990-1991). After professing first vows in 1991, he began his theological studies and in 1995 he received his Baccalaureate in Theology from the Pontificia Universidad Salesiana (Rome). He professed solemn vows on 22 December 1994. He was ordained to the priesthood on 9 September 1995 in Caracas, Venezuela. He then completed his studies at the Universidad Cecilio Acosta, in 1996, with the Licentiate in Integral Education. In 1996, he went to Rome and having studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, he obtained his Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology in 1998. He received the Baccalaureate in Philosophy from the Pontificia Universidad Salesiana (Rome) in 2000, and in 2005 he received his Doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome). In 1999, he became professor in the Faculty of Theology at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Caracas, holding the chair in Theological Anthropology and the Mystery of God. In 1999, he was elected as Counselor and Secretary of the Vicariate of Venezuela (1999-2002). He was also a part of the Augustinian Commission for the Revitalization of the Order of Saint Augustine in Latin America. He taught at the Colegio San Agustín in Caricuao, beginning in 2000. In 2006 as professor and doctor at Universidad Andrés Bello he held the chairs of Relevation, Credibility, and Sacramental Theology. Also, in 2006, he was named the rector of the Colegio San Agustín of Caricuao and has continued in that post until the present. In 2010, he was elected as the Major Superior of the Vicariate of Venezuela (2010 to the present).
On behalf of the entire Order, I wish to extend our sincere congratulations to Bishop-elect Helizandro Terán Bermúdez as he is called to serve the Church in the episcopate, and let us all together offer him our fraternal support and remembrance in our prayer s for him as he undertakes this new ministry.
P. Alejandro Moral Antón OSA
Recently, a Conference was organised by the Commission for Evangelisation and Pastoral Ministry for the European circumscriptions. The event took place from 19th to 23rd June 2017 at San Gimignano, Italy titled: “Intercultural Experience of Pastoral Ministry in a Changing Europe. New Forms of Evangelization in the Order.” Some participants were from the Anglo-Scottish, the Italian, the Maltese, Polish and Spanish Provinces as well as the Abbey of Brno. The participants made a trip to San Leonardo and also to Lecceto. It was successful.
Pope Francis is known to be a strong advocate of support for refugees and displaced persons. He famously called on catholic institutions to open up churches, monasteries, schools and formation houses to refugees and displaced persons. Our Prior General Most Rev. Alejandro Moral OSA has equally echoed this call of the Pope in his letters, in the light of the global humanitarian crisis afflicting many regions of the world. The list of the affected countries is endless.
While the task at hand may seem so daunting as to push one into inactivity, Nigerian Augustinians took this call of the Pope seriously and opted to set up a skill acquisition center in Maiduguri Borno state.
The center called Augustinian Vocational and Technical Institute (AVTI), was commissioned on 8th June 2017 by the Nigerian Augustinian Provincial, Fr. John Abubakar, OSA. The center has six departments: computer application, tailoring, catering, knitting, hairdressing and shoe-making. Other departments like carpentry, metal work and auto mechanic would be added in future. Already. 400 refugees and displaced persons have enrolled for the programme. It is a tuition free programme and the participants would be giving starter packs at the end of their six month training. This is the contribution of the Nigerian Augustinian Province to fighting poverty and empowering the vulnerable members of our society.
The Meeting of the Governing Committee of the Institute of Augustinian Spirituality was held in Rome May 24-26, 2017. Participating in the meeting were the following friars: Luis Marin, (President), Joseph Farrell, (Vice President), Pasquale Cormio, (Treasurer), Luis Guzman and Jude Ossai. By means of the internet, Robert Guessetto was able to participate in the meeting also. During the meeting, there was an evaluation of the most recent spirituality course, which was offered in Spanish, as well as the preparation of the next spirituality course, which will be offered in English. Also, various initiatives and activities for the coming year were approved. The Prior General greeted the participants in the meeting and thanked them for the work being done by the Institute. He also encouraged them to continue the work undertaken for the good of the Order.
The meeting was held in Bogota, Colombia from 14 to 17 June. This very well organized gathering included intense days of formative, celebrative, cultural and festive aspects in which friendships and fraternity were deepened. It was truly a gift from God that the Assistant General, who is also a member of the International Commission of the Order for the Laity, attended the meeting. We wish to thank the Province of Colombia for their generous participation, to thank the speakers, to thank all who collaborated to make the congress a success. Also, we wish to thank our lay Augustinian brothers and sisters for their dynamism and participation. Let us continue to live our Augustinian charism, giving our joyful witness in the midst of the world. May God bless us all.
The General Council of the Order met from the 1st to the 14th and on the 19th of May, presided by the Prior General, Alejandro Moral Antón.
Among other themes, the following were discussed.
New houses: The erection of two new communities in Kenya were approved:
Augustinian Community, Holy Family Parish, Mbwiru, diocese of Meru, Chuka-Meru, and Augustinian Comunity, Saint Luke’s Kebeneti Parish, Kericho,
Admissions and Dispensations: Approval was given for various friars to be admitted to solemn profession, presbiteral ordination and other ministries. Approval was also given for the dispensation from vows for various religious.
Chapters: Approval was given for the opening date and place for the Ordinary Chapter of the Vicariate of the Congo. (February 20, 2018, in Kinshasa).
Generalate Houses: Discussions regarding some of the needs of the communities that fall under the direction of the General Curia.
Circumscriptions: Information and consideration of the electoral process in the Provinces of Mexico and Colombia for the election of the Priors Provincial. The nomination of the Vicar for the Vicariate of Viena. Discussion over the project of agreement between the circumscriptions of Chile and Bolivia.
Gathering of the newly elected Major Superiors: The gathering of the newly elected Major Superiors will take place from September 25-27, 2017. The assistants general Edward Daleng and Patricio Villalba will organize the details of this gathering.
Luther Congress: Information was shared regarding the program, guests, and speakers for the Congress on Martin Luther. This congress will take place in the Augustinianum from November 9-11, 2017.
Discussion on determination 6 from the CGI 2016: A work plan was approved for the study of a revisión of the structures of the Order. This plan will be prepared for the General Chapter of 2019.
Economic Themes: Diverse economic themes were presented by the General Economo: Scholarships for students in Saint Monica, contracts, help, maintenance, work of the Foundation, Augustinians Across the World.
* John Flynn: Presented the new Catalogus of the Order, recognizing the assistance he received from P. Fernando del Rio.
* Patricio Villalba: Canonical visitation with the Prior General to the vicariate of Argentina and Uruguay; meeting of OALA, discussion on the possibility of a Theological Center of Study in Latin America.
* Anthony Banks: Canonical visit with the Prior General to the Province of Australia, the Delegation of Korea and in Vietnam, the meeting of the English speaking provincials, reunión of OSAAP.
* Edward Daleng: Themes from the Vicariates of the Congo and of Kenya; themes from the community in Anaba.
* Franz Klein: Reunion of the federation of Belgium-Germany; Provincial Chapter of English-Scottish Province, petition of suspended regime, discussions with the Province of Ireland.
* Joseph Farrell: Themes regarding the Generalate Houses; Congress at Villanova University for the Augustinian Centers of Education (July 2017); meeting for the African formators in Nairobi, organized by the Commission for Augustinian Initial Formation in collaboration with the Institute of Augustinian Spirituality; Web page for the Ratio Institutionis; Convocation of the three Augustinian Provinces in North America (Villanova University, June 2017)
* Luis Marín: Canonical visit with the Prior General to the Provinces of Castille and Matritense; the upcoming visit to the Province of Malta, themes in the Italian province, information on the Spirituality Institute Course in Spanish, Program of renewal for the monastery in Lecceto, work and topics regarding the Federation in Spain
* Alejandro Moral:Information regarding the meeting with Pope Francis on May 8, 2017.
Next meeting of the Council: 18-30 September 2017 in Rome.
The Pope has nominated the Augustinian bishop, Mons. Alberto Bochatey to be a member of the Academy of Life. The auxiliary bishop of La Plata, Argentina, is professor of Bioethics and vice-rector of the Catholic University of La Plata.
We offer heartfelt congratulations to Mons. Alberto for the nomination and we ask the Spirit to help him with his power and enlighten him with his light in order to be able to fulfill this service for the good of the Church.
From 30 May to 1 June the meeting of the OAE, the Organization of the Augustinians of Europe, took place in the Convent of Saint Thomas in Prague. The Major Superiors of the circumscriptions of Europe were participated in the meeting. Also, the Provincials of Nigeria and Cebu, Philippines were present also, since members of these provinces serve in Europe. During the meeting, the topics of renewal and perspectives for the future were discussed. It was a real joy to see the dynamism of the friars of Prague and the excellent work being carried out both in the parish and in the school, which was established a few years ago and which we had the opportunity to visit. We also visited the most beautiful and historic Abbey of Brno. Thanks to the organizers and to the Augustinian communities of Prague and of Brno for the experience and for the witness of fraternity that were offered!
Celebrating our Augustinian Ethos!
A visit to our College by Fr Alejandro Moral Anton, Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine, and his assistant Fr Luis Marin De San Martin. This visit is part of the Prior General's canonical visit to the Augustinians in Malta.
(photos by Fr Raphael Abdilla osa)