The Augustinian Recollects from Panama, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Spain have once more chosen José María Aguerri as Prior Provincial to revitalize their idenity and respond to the new challenges of their mission.
2013-05-08 OAR / Miguel Ángel Ciáurriz
With the General Superior of the Order, Miguel Miró, as president twenty religious from Panama , Guatemala , the Dominican Republic, and Spain met.
Open to the New Ideas the Spirit Brings At the opening Father General, using the words of Pope Francis, asked the chapter delegates “to be open to new ideas and not be afraid of God’s surprises nor ever allow themselves to be overcome by pessimism. Miró explained the path of renewal and restructuring the Order has forged up to the present moment and emphasized the importance of a provincial chapter as a time of grace, renewal, and communion for the life of the Province and the Order.
The former prior provincial, Manuel Beaumont, in the sessions that followed, presented the current state of the communities and ministries of the Province.
Youth Ministry and Missions Much discussion was devoted to youth ministry. It is recognized that little progress has been achieved yet in this area and the need to stake it. Also was explained to the delegates the itinerary and functioning of JAR, and the experiences of JAR so far in the Dominican Republic, a topic that perked the interest of chapter. Both initial formation and permanent formation, as well as the diverse apostolate (parishes, missions, schools and social assistance) with other areas that the provincial focused on in his report.
Special attention was also given to the Bocas del Toro Mission in Panama and its inadequate staffing. Its representative shared that the missionaries are open to the option of asking for assistance from other provinces of the Order.
The other chapter delegates representing the religious engaged in the other ministries also explained their situation and the outlook for the future. Personal conversion, searching for God in community dialogue, restructuring as a means to revitalizing both the Province and the Order, youth ministry and vocational ministry, giving attention to educational ministry and, finally, support for the mission apostolate were underscored as well as means of responding coherently to the challenge to evangelize.
“Not just one more chapter”
Saturday, at the start of the first session of the fourth day of the chapter, the president asked all to sincerely face the Province’s real problems and invited them to deep reflection, serious honest discernment that would enable them to make the correct decisions. “This is not, he emphasized, just another chapter.” And he affirmed “We need to ask ourselves what direction should we take considering our personnel data.”
The Central Issue and the Main Objective As the days passed and reflection intensified, the fundamental problem of Consolation Province became increasingly clear. It is, as far as individuals, the poor quality of spiritual and fraternal life; as far as structures weak leadership, lack of commitment on the part of the friars to work together to achieve common goals, and inability of present organization structures to achieve their purposes, and finally the advanced age of individuals.
And, in order to, in the light of faith, deal with this, the chapter approved with a majority vote the following main goal for the next four years:
I. From the personal and communitarian encounter with Christ, revitalize our Augustinian Recollect identity to renew and invigorated the spirituality of the religious and strengthen our community and fraternal life.
II. Renovate our organization structure, by means of adequate strategic planning that allows us to fulfill in the Church and in society our mission of being credible witness of the gospel and offering an integrated effective response to the challenges of the New Evangelization today’s world requires.
The work of the study commissions, the preparation of a program, and the formulation of the chapter ordinances preceded the election of the prior provincial which took place May 8.
Profile of the new Prior Provincial José María Aguerri Santos (Cabanillas, Navarra, España, 1943) has been an Augustinian Recollect since 1962 and priest since 1967. He received his licenciate in philosophy from the University of Salamanca, has work primarily in the field of education, first in Latin America: he has been Director of Colegio Santa Rita in San Cristóbal (Dominican Republic) and of San Agustín in Panama City. Most recently he has been director of Colegio Agustiniano in Madrid (Spain). He has also been prior provincial for two terms. Having been elected again the Chapter has entrusted him with the task of following the map marked out by the Chapter, and reorganizing the prensence of the Augustinian Recollects in Panama, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Spain.
José María Aguerri Santos, the new Prior Provincial