The Augustinian Youth Encounter was successfully concluded with a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Prior General, Most Rev. Fr. Alejandro Moral Ánton. During the Mass four novices made the Simple Profession of Religious Vows and were affiliated to the Province of Belgium in the presence of about forty Augustinians and over 400 young people in the Church of Our Lady of Assumption of the Abbey of Brno.
Some of the highlights of the Youth gathering was the Via Crucis held on Friday evening when we visited Prague city. (We arrived and were warmly received by the friars and the members of the worshiping parish community of St. Thomas. The Eucharist was celebrated with the Prior as the Chief celebrant.
An unforgettable event was the pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain of Svatá Hora dedicated to the Blessed Mother of Perpetual Help. All the young people took part in the 36 kilometres walk to and from the Sanctuary as a journey with the Lord. It was a journey within and without, a spiritual exercise born of a restless search for God who lives among us to satisfy our inner quest.
The Sunday Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Archbishop emeritus of Prague His Eminence Vlk Cardinal Miloslav. A Eucharistic Adoration was later held in the afternoon as a preparation for Sacrament of Confessions.
The last night was dedicated to the "Manifest of Nations", a sort of resolution for a commitment to be proactive in the witness to serve Christ in the brothers and sisters in need.
The next Augustinian Youth Encounter will be in 2019 to be hosted in Panama. Our gratitude extends to all Augustinian friars world-wide especially the Prior General and Council, members of the Order's Commission on Youth Ministry, the speakers, the Priors and friars of Prague and Brno communities, members of the local organising committee, the volunteers, all the Augustinian Youth, their parents, friends, well wishers, etc.
The Augustinian Youth Encounter has begun on 19th July 2016 in one of the Order's oldest Monastery of Svatá Dobrotivá, Zaječov in Czech Republic. The event started at 9.30pm with presentation of the various groups from different countries, the unveiling of the Encounter's anthem. This was followed immediately by prayers, lightening of candles and procession through the Holy Door of Church. The ceremony continued with the reading of a short Gospel text and reflection offered by Fr. Juan Provecho. A moment of assembling the various parts of the Encounter's Logo which were previously distributed to some of the various circumscriptions of the Order around the world many months back. Each of the participants walked up close to the side of the altar where the assembled Logo was kept and deposited his/her lighted candles in front before leaving the Church for the night.
In the successive days talks on "Restlessness of spiritual search" and "Friendship in St. Augustine" were held. There were workshops on various issues ranging from religious, immigration, social justice, employment, sports, etc.
Mons. Herrero was born on 17 January 1947 in Serdio, Cantabria, Spain. He entered the Order as a novice on 26 September 1963, in the novitiate of the province situated at the Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Vid, La Vid, Spain. He made his first profession of vows on 27 September 1964. He completed his studies of philosophy and theology in the Colegio de los Agustinos Filipinos, Valladolid, and in the Seminario Mayor “Tagaste”, Los Negrales. He professed solemn vows on 25 January 1968 and was ordained a priest on 12 July 1970.
He was a member of the following Augustinian communities: Colegio-Seminario San Agustín, Palencia (1970-1971), as professor and inspector; Colegio Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo, Madrid (1971-1974), as spiritual director and professor; Parroquia de Santa Ana y la Esperanza, Moratalaz, Madrid (1974-1984), as prior and pastor; Colegio San Agustín de Santander (1984-1995), as pastor of the Parroquia San Agustín; Residencia Provincial, de Madrid (1995-1999), as provincial counselor and parochial vicar of the parish of Parroquia San Manuel y San Benito. From 1999, he was again part of the community of the Colegio San Agustín de Santander, where he was pastor of the parish until 2014. Since September 2014 he has been pastor of the Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Barrio Pesquero, Santander.
Licensed in Pastoral Theology, he was professor in the diocesan seminary of Corban, Santander, and he also taught in the Estudio Teológico Tagaste (Los Negrales) and in the Centro Teológico San Agustín (Los Negrales-S. Lorenzo de El Escorial). He has held various responsibilities in the Diocese of Santander, where he was the diocesan delegate for Acción Caritativa y Social (Cáritas), and Vicar General and Pastoral Vicar since 1999. He was the diocesan administrator of Santander from 2014 to 2015. He was a member of the Episcopal Council of the diocese and a member of the Presbyteral Council and the Pastoral Council, and a member of the College of Consultors and the Council of Economic Activities of the Diocese of Santander.
On behalf of the entire Order, I wish to extend our sincere congratulations to Bishop-elect Manuel Herrero Fernandez, as he is called to serve the Church in the episcopate, and let us all together offer to him our fraternal support and remembrance in our prayers for him as he undertakes this new ministry.
P. MODESTO SANTAMARTA YUGUEROS (1921-2016)
Eight years ago, Fr. Modesto published a book which was entitiled Reflections. Searching for the Truth. It gathers together brief texts on diverse themes which he was treating, principally, during his first years of pastoral work in the Parish of Ntra. Madre del Buen Consejo in Leon, Spain. To search for the truth in things is the task demanded of every human being. Fr. Modesto searched since he was a boy, in the family environment of profound convictions of his parents Daniel and Maris Carmen, the truth about God, but in reality, it was the Truth itself with a capital “T”, the truth that he encountered in himself and which called him to be an Augustinian and a priest. Fr. Modesto was ordained a priest on 31 March 1945, just exactly about six months before the ending of the Second World War. He was 24 years old. From the bishop who imposed hands on him he heard with attention two truths which were inscribed on his heart with the fire of love which he made his own until his last breath. One was that the priesthood which not just the action of one moment but rather a commitment that was forever. The other was that the priesthood did not belong to him; it was from Christ, who had chosen him for himself as an instrument in order to place him as father, brother friend, counselor, confidant and guide for every man and woman who would cross his path from that moment on. On the other hand, it meant that Fr. Modesto was to offer himself to all selflessly without holding anything back for himself. All along the path of the almost 95 years of his fruitful life, Fr. Modesto found thousands of distinct ways to bring into practice the advice that he heard from the bishop who ordained him. Many are those who benefited on more than one occasion in this selfless, serene but vigorous, calm and patient way in which Fr. Modesto exercised his priesthood. There are many witnesses of that way of acting even up until the very same day on which his weakened health became irreversible and did not permit him to spend uncountable hours in the confessional. Without doubt inspired by Mary the Mother of Good Counsel, many and good were the counsels which Fr. Modesto dispensed tirelessly so that people of every condition and age encountered how to walk by the paths of mercy that God offers us in order to achieve pardon. A priest, without doubt, Fr. Modesto was above all, an Augustinian. Few could imagine the love and determination that he applied to his studies of philosophy, theology, and the seriousness with which he took his vows, which he pronounced for the first time on 30 October 1938 and which his superiors saw for themselves. He occupied himself with works of responsibility and began his teaching career as professor of Philosophy in the University of Goiania (Brazil). In the Province of Castile he was Provincial Secretary from 1960 to1963. For two consecutive periods from 1963 to 1969 he was elected Prior Provincial. The years in which Fr. Modesto served in those posts were, without doubt, easy for no religious superior. Those time coincided with that epoch of comings and goings in the Church which characterized the first attempts to carry out the directives of Vatican Council II. Religious Orders suffered and the Augustinians were no exception. Above all, he knew how to risk the new without leaving behind at the same time the old in order to draw out the best part. His mandte as prior provincial finished, Fr. Modesto, after a brief stay of two years in Valencia, Spain as Prior and Director of the Colegio Santo Tomas de Villanueva, he was called to Rome to form part of the governing team of the Order of Saint Augustine.
Thus, from 1971 to 1977 he fulfilled the office of Assistant General, which obliged him to travel to a multitude of countries and in this way to come in contact with many distinct social, political, cultural and religious realities which enriched above all his inquisitive spirit. He was Assistant General the during the first period of governance of Fr. Theodore Tack. Fr. Modesto helped Fr. Tack very much in those complicated years after the Council. During those six years of service in the General Curia, his effectiveness, understanding and cordiality resulted in great help to many friars, showing himself always as an authentic father to others.
There is another facet in the life of Fr. Modesto that merits to be pointed out: his work as professor in the Colegio Nuestra Madre del Buen Consejo de León, Colegio Santo Tomás de Villanueva de Valencia and Colegio San Agustín de Alicante. Fr. Modesto demonstrated that he possessed a special talent to connect with children and with youth. He succeeded in transforming the religion classes into windows and doors for the students to enter into the air of reflection on profoundly human and meaningful questions. His classroom was a continual coming and going of youth who entered with their preoccupations and left form there relieved, comforted and peaceful. He dedicated much time to bring families together, to direct many youth with vocational questions and to help them come to know that which he truly was: a man of profound and solid faith, a man of deeply rooted convictions and with an open mind who knew how to draw near to and listen to all without asking them if they believed in God with the same intensity with which he did. From Saint Augustine there is a phrase “One does not honor the dead by rendering them worship but by imitating them” (De vera religione, 55, 108). May the God of all mercy receive with honors Fr. Modesto and give us the strength to imitate him in his many virtues with which he always gave himself so generously to his vows as an Augustinian, to his priestly ministry, to his teaching and to the service of authority. May he rest in peace.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: This is the Day that the Lord has made! This is the Day on which Death has been conquered!
I wish to share with all of you the great joy of the Resurrection of the Lord, the very one who was crucified and who died for our sins.
He, who is “face of the mercy of God”, offers to us the full expression of love and of light that enlightens every person with new life, given to Him by God! The Resurrection means that God accepts the offering of this Man, Jesus, on the cross as the act of reconciliation for all humanity, which is now made new in the Risen Christ.
If we want to receive this life of the Holy Spirit, I invite you to keep alive Charity, to love the Truth and to desire Unity!
Happy Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord! HAPPY EASTER!
Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, Prior General
Bishop John Conway McNabb, O.S.A., passed away in the early morning of February 26, 2016, at the age of 90. He was the first bishop of the Diocese of Chulucanas, Peru (created as a Prelature in 1963, and elevated to the status of Diocese in 1988).
John McNabb, born in Wisconsin, U.S.A., in 1925, entered the Augustinian Order after completing his secondary studies, and professed his first vows in 1945. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1952, he worked in various high schools of the Chicago Province. He was also Province Secretary during a number of years. One of his high school students, at Mendel High School, was Daniel Turley, who later entered the Order and is today Bishop McNabb’s successor as the second bishop of Chulucanas.
Bishop McNabb was named Prelate of the newly created Prelature of Chulucanas, and as such, participated in the last session of the Second Vatican Council. He was ordained a bishop in 1967, and continued to serve as Bishop of Chulucanas until his retirement in 2000.
Augustinians who participated in the Second Vatican Council. John McNabb (back row, second from the right)
During his more than 30 years of episcopal service in Peru, Bishop McNabb was a courageous leader, offering his prophetic and courageous vision to the local church and also through the Peruvian bishops’ conference in which he was well known and highly respected. He was instrumental in the implementation of the pastoral program “New Image of the Parish” of the Better World Movement. Chulucanas was the first diocese in Peru to adapt the pastoral program which has since been adopted by numerous dioceses in Peru and in many other countries, a program which effectively applied the principles of the Second Vatican Council in the renewal of the life of the Church, working to create communities in which lay people are formed to take active and committed roles in the life of the parish and the diocese.
Bishop McNabb was loved and respected by his priests, the Augustinians and other religious and laity who worked in the Diocese, and by many loyal friends. His legacy will live on for many years to come.
The Order’s Commission for the Laity met with the lay coordinators in General Assembly on 18-19 February in Rome. The commission looked at the situation of the Augustinian laity in the diverse areas of the Order and analyzed the mission of the assembly as an organizational group for the diverse experiences of the Augustinian laity.
As a result, regional/continental sub-committees were set up both for the lay and the religious members and to them was entrusted the mission of looking at the objectives of the commission and of empowering the presence of the laity in each region of the Order.
It was the decision of the commission to enlarge the number of lay representatives in each region and to set up ways for responding in each region’s needs. It will also be the work of the sub-committees to establish the ways in which to appoint/elect representatives so that they can be a part of the assembly beginning in 2019.
They reviewed the themes of the recent international congresses in order to plan for the meeting in the summer of 2018 with a theme flowing from those of the previous meetings.
The next meeting of the assembly will be in February 2017.
The Order of St. Augustine celebrated the concluding days of the year dedicated to Consecrated Life with a gathering of 13 of our 20 Augustinian brothers who have been called to serve the Church as bishops. The encounter was held on February 1-3, 2016 in Rome. At the moment the invitations were sent, positive responses came back with notes of thanks and enthusiastic expectations for the chance to meet , to listen to each other, and to share our Augustinian fraternity. Thanks to the cooperative work of many friars, these expectations were met and exceeded. Each participating bishop was given the opportunity to present the current situation of his particular ministry which sparked some lively questions and discussions. On February 2, everyone was invited to participate with Pope Francis in the Mass in St. Peter Basilica to officially close the Year of Consecrated Life. The final portion of the encounter was dedicated to exploring possible ways of building relationships and maintaining mutual support between the Order and our brothers called by the Church to serve in the episcopacy. In the final evaluation of the encounter it was agreed that this was a valuable encounter and the participants look forward to other opportunities to share our Augustinian Fraternity with each other.
The Province of Cebu organised an Augustinian Youth Encounter from 15th to 19th November 2015 as part of the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Augustinian Missionary expedition in the Islands of the Philippines. The theme of the Encounter was “Proclaiming the Word, Empowering the Poor and Sustaining the Mission.” Many young people drawn from various schools (elementary, colleges and University) and parishes run by the Augustinians of the Cebu and Orient circumscriptions, the Augustinian Recollects, the Assumptionists, the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, the Augustinian Sisters of Divine Mercy, the Augustinian Sisters of Divine Love and the Augustinian Sisters “Misioneras” participated in this event. Young people from Indonesia were also present.
“Read the Gospel, pray with the Gospel, because in the Gospel Jesus manifests the Mercy of God,” so says Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, the Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine, emphasizing the centrality of the Gospel and of the Holy Scripture in this Hoy Year of Mercy. He invites all to a reading and to an entering into the sacred texts. “The Kingdom of God is the Mercy of God and it is the Love of God and it is the Compassion of God,” so explains Fr. Moral, which recalls the invitation to conversion: “Jesus invites us during this year to open our hearts to conversion, to the mercy of God.” The Prior General recalls the teaching of Saint Augustine, the invitation to draw ourselves within ourselves in order to cultivate a spirit of interiority, to know ourselves better, to know our hearts better, to open them completely to the mercy of God. The love of God, emphasizes the Prior General, “must lead us to live more profoundly Augustinian communion. It is not possible to live our Augustinian communion if there is no mercy, if charity does not exist… Our communities are not simply human communities where we gather together as friends. We are gathered together because we have been called by God and therefore, as Saint Augustine says, it is not enough to share material goods – we do that because in this way communion becomes more profound also through material goods – but it is necessary to live charity because without charity we are not able to construct community.” Fr. Moral concludes with a strong invitation to live in this Holy Year the Mercy of God in order to cultivate the communion of the Order and with our brothers and sisters. With a message of greeting for the coming Christmas festivities, he says, “God takes on human flesh, he becomes man: this is the act of love and of mercy and of compassion of God for humanity. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016.”