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Saint Augustine Priory, Oxnard, California, June 1, 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 21:24

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 June 2017 21:25
Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Oxnard, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Wednesday, 07 June 2017 13:28

Holy Week at Mary Star—Jesus Carries the Cross. Fray Galo Espinoza, O.A.R. (pastor), led the carrying of the cross on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. This annual outdoor Good Friday devotion was blessed with a sunny California weather and a crowd of faithful praying and meditating on the Passion of our Lord Jesus. Prayers and music were done both in English and Spanish. This Via Dolorosa culminated inside the church with a brief prayer and meditation.

Easter Vigil at Mary Star—Jesus our Lord is Risen. In unison with all the Christian believers, the Religious and the faithful celebrated the coming of our Risen Lord with great devotion in the Holy Sacrifice on April 16, 2017. Uplifting the solemnity of this celebration was the exceptional sacred music, sung in both English and Spanish by a combined volunteer choir. Thanks to the guidance of Lina Avecilla and Vanessa Favela for the joyful sacred music. The religious of Mary Star, Frs. Galo Espinoza, Antonio Palos and Eric-Antonio Crelencia, together with the Recollect religious of St. Augustine Priory, were joined in this solemn celebration by Fr. Jose Sergio Sanchez, Provincial of St. Nicholas of Tolentine.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 June 2017 13:47
20th Annual Tagaste Monastery Golf Outing PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Friday, 02 June 2017 05:08

In the midst of a very rainy week the sun was shining very nicely on Wednesday, May 24, for the 20th Annual Tagaste Golf Outing held at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern, NY, and sponsored by the Golf Committee and the Pius X Guild of Tagaste. A great deal of credit goes to Mr. Greg Hayden and the other members of the committee who met and worked tirelessly since the beginning of the year to recruit golfers and sponsors for the event as well as to organize the activities of the day. Some 115 golfers participated, enjoying a noon lunch followed by a 1:00 pm shotgun start. After a full afternoon of golf there was a cocktail hour followed by dinner and an awards presentation at the Spook Rock Chalet. There was also a silent auction and a 50/50. Special appreciation plaques were presented to Margaret Evans, president emeritus of the Pius X Guild, and Rita Gannon, secretary of Tagaste, for their outstanding support of the Outing over the years. Fr. John Gruben, OAR, prior of Tagaste, welcomed all of the golfers and gave the table blessing to begin the dinner; Fr. Fidel Hernández presented a slideshow with photos of all the candidates who were helped by the scholarship fund since its beginning in 1997 as well as a short video in which Fra. José Arredondo, recipient of this year’s scholarship award, offered words of thanks from our house of formation in Madrid. By a happy coincidence, Fr. Michael Rafferty, prior provincial, and Fredric Abiera, province secretary, who were present for the event, were celebrating their 14th anniversary of priestly ordination. The Golf Outing has become the biggest and most successful fund raising activity of the year for Tagaste and has contributed substantially to the education of our candidates to become Augustinian Recollect priests and brothers.

Rita Gannon, Greg Hayden, and Peggy Evans

Fray José Arredondo, recipient of this year's scholarship.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 15:08
Annual Retreat 2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Thursday, 01 June 2017 05:48

Annual Retreat at Saint Augustine Priory, Oxnard, California

May 29- June 2, 2017

Forty- three Augustinian Recollect Friars gathered at St. Augustine Priory in Oxnard, California, on the afternoon of May 29, 2017, to begin their annual five-day retreat. Of the friars present, six were members of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Province and the rest from St. Augustine Province, representing another step toward unification of the two provinces, mandated by the General Chapter of 2016, and enforced by the commission on the unification of both provinces. The Priory extended its traditional hospitality to the retreatants, making everyone feel welcome, well cared for, and well fed! The retreat director, Fr. Michael DiGregorio, OSA, is prior provincial of the Villanova (Eastern) Province of the Order of Saint Augustine. Fr. DiGregorio offered a morning and afternoon conference each day and a question-and-answer session in the evenings; he also preached each day at Mass. The conferences centered on the Rule of St. Augustine, and challenged all those present to take a fresh look at this central document of Augustinianism, to continue to grow in self-awareness, and to experience anew the joy of living together in community as brothers who are united in the common life and in service to the Church.


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 June 2017 06:12
Tagaste Monastery, Suffern, New York PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 08 May 2017 13:55

End of the Summer. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, visited Tagaste Monastery on August 29, 2016, and celebrated a 10:30 AM Mass in the Tagaste chapel together with Fr. Provincial, Michael Rafferty, and Frs. John Gruben, Charles Huse, and John Oldfield. Also present were the presidents of the SAR fraternities of Tagaste, Mr. Joseph Marsico, and St. Cloud, Mr. Joseph Gruszczynski, and Ella Slivka. The Cardinal brought his very informal style to the liturgy, speaking about Sts. Augustine and Monica and asking about the other saints pictured in the stained glass windows, especially Ezekiel Moreno. After Mass all gathered for breakfast and a lively conversation about the Augustinian Recollects and their work in the US and around the world and well as prospective changes in the Order with the upcoming General Chapter.

Visit of Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Tagaste (l to r): Mr. Joseph Gruszczynski, Frs. John Oldfield and Michael Rafferty, Cardinal Dolan, Frs. Charles Huse and John Gruben, and Mr. Joseph Marsico, August 29, 2016.

Novena of Guadalupe. Fr. Fidel Hernández presided at the opening of the novena on December 3. The chapel was, as usual, beautifully decorated with a large image of Our Lady and statue of Juan Diego along with an abundance of roses. The rosary was recited each evening along with hymns honoring Mary as well as readings telling the story of the apparition at Tepeyac. After the services, refreshments were served in the hall along with costumed dances performed by the young people of the community. The Feast of Guadalupe (Dec. 12) began with the singing of Las Mañanitas at 5:15 AM with music provided by the Tagaste Hispanic choir and a mariachi group; an evening Mass was celebrated with Fr. Hernández presiding.

Guadalupe Novena: Fr. Fidel Hernández with “Los Viejitos” dancers.

Annual Guild Communion Breakfast. Around 100 people attended the 9:30 AM bilingual Mass on December 11 celebrated by Fr. Provincial, Michael Rafferty, assisted by Frs. John Gruben, John Oldfield, and Fidel Hernández. Everyone then adjourned to the hall for the breakfast of bacon and eggs, sausage, rolls, and pastries, coffee and tea. Peggy Evans, President of the Pius X Guild, welcomed all and presented each of the friars with Christmas gifts. Door prizes were also distributed. The Guild has been a vital part of the life of Tagaste for over 50 years.

Guild Communion Breakfast (l to r): Peggy Evans (Guild President) and Frs. John Gruben, Michael Rafferty, and Fidel Hernández, December 11, 2016.

Christmas and its Vigil. Frs. Gruben and Hernández were busy with Christmas Eve Masses in the parishes as well as at home, where an 8:00 PM Vigil Mass was celebrated. The Mass was followed by the traditional devotion honoring the Infant Jesus and then by refreshments in the hall. After finishing the Masses on Christmas Day, Fr. Fidel left to begin vacation time with his family in California.

New Year 2017. After celebrating the Masses of New Year’s Eve/Day honoring Mary, Mother of God, Fr. Gruben, accompanied by Joe Marsico, former SAR president, joined Fr. Oldfield and the community at St. Joseph Villa in Sloatsburg, NY, for a New Year’s Day lunch. Many of the families of the residents along with Bishop Paul of Stamford, CT, Eastern Rite superior (Ukranian) of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate were present for the occasion. As usual, the Sisters put on a worthy feast.

On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 8 in the Archdiocese of New York, the Magi, Mary and Joseph, and several angels joined the procession for the 10:30 Mass presided by Fr. John Gruben, and with much splendor, worshiped the new born Jesus in traditional fashion. The “three kings” presented their special gifts at the time of the Offertory.

That afternoon, some twenty-five SAR members and their families gathered in the fireplace room at 1:00 PM for a truly delicious pot luck lunch featuring lasagna, baked ziti, egg plant parmigiana, sausages and peppers, chicken, ham, and many other items together with an abundance of desserts. The meal began with a procession to the chapel, a reading of the Epiphany story, and a return to the dining room with the singing of “We Three Kings” and a number of other Christmas carols. After lunch there was a grab bag and a sharing of Christmas stories among the members. Frs. Gruben and Theresa Giampaglia, new SAR president, thanked all of our SAR members for being part of our community life and encouraged recruiting of new members.

The Guild sponsored its annual St. Patrick’s dinner dance on March 11. The dinner included the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and all the trimmings: boiled potatoes, carrots, and plenty of soda bread. March birthdays were celebrated with special fanfare for Frs. Fidel Hernández (Mar. 3), Charles Huse (Mar. 17) and John Oldfield (Mar. 25). The evening included a 50/50 and a very lively music program provided by Mary Taylor with Italian, Latino, and group dances as well as favorite Irish songs. In spite of very cold weather over 100 people attended the event.

St. Patrick’s dinner dance, 2017 (l to r): Frs. John Oldfield and Charles Huse, Peggy Evans, and Fr. John Gruben.


An enormous late winter snow storm named “Stella” dumped over a foot of snow on Suffern and even more elsewhere in the New York area on March 14, bringing traffic and most activities to a stop. Fortunately the heat and lighting continued to function at Tagaste, and the drive way was plowed several times, leaving, however, a sheet of ice to contend with. In the wake of the storm the temperatures continued bitter cold ensuring that the snow would be around for some time.

The Hispanic committee with the help of Fr Fidel Hernández organized a week of Lenten reflections entitled “La Misión”, March 27-31; between 40-50 people assembled each evening from 7-9 PM. Fr Fidel started off the Lenten talks with Augustinian spirituality centering on the teaching of interiority. Some of the coordinators prepared talks on: transmission of faith; the sorrows of Mary; dying to ourselves; and penance and reconciliation. One evening was dedicated to a dramatization of some of the miracles of Jesus including: the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana, and the healings of Peter's mother in law, a blind man, the ten lepers, and the woman with the hemorrhage. The mission closed with Stations of the Cross and Holy Hour with Benediction.

Lenten Retreat: “Resurrection of Lazarus”.

The Easter Triduum (April 13-15). On Holy Thursday, Fr. Fidel Hernández was main celebrant for the 8 PM accompanied by Frs. Gruben and Oldfield. Fr. Fidel washed the feet of six persons who were candidates for Baptism/Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. At the conclusion of the Mass all processed down to the Guild Hall for an extended vigil before the Blessed Sacrament.

On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross were celebrated on the grounds of the monastery with the various groups leading a considerable crowd in the meditation at each of the stations. Fr. Gruben presided at the 3 PM Liturgy of the Passion in English and Fr. Hernandez at 7:30 PM in Spanish.

For the Easter Vigil, Fr. Gruben was main celebrant, assisted by Frs. Oldfield and Hernandez. Victor Frias, a member of the Tagaste choir, sang the traditional Exultet followed by 4 readings from the Old Testament and the required New Testament readings. There were two adults who passed through the catechumenate program and were admitted to Baptism, 5 candidates for Confirmation, and one for First Holy Communion.

Fr. John Gruben Confirming candidates at the Easter Vigil, 2017.

Holy Saturday, 2017 (l to r): Frs. John Oldfield, Fidel Hernández, and John Gruben with newly baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil.

Divine Mercy Sunday. Tagaste once again hosted the annual Sacred Heart service on April 23 with Fr. John Gruben presiding at the Benediction and giving the talk. He was joined by Frs. Matthew Furey (pastor of Sacred Heart) and Fr. Innocente (assistant) hearing Confessions. Activities also included a movie on the life of St. Faustina Kawalska, refreshments, and sale of devotional materials. Some 100 people were in attendance for the day, which was coordinated by Nancy Camilleri, SAR.

Fr. Sergio Sanchez, provincial of St. Nicholas Province, accompanied by Fr. Rafael Mediavilla and Dn. Cristino Gutierrez from Union City, NJ. visited Tagaste on April 24 as part of the process of merging our two provinces as mandated by the last General Chapter.

Visit of Fr. Sergio Sanchez, St. Nicholas Provincial, to Tagaste (l to r): Dn. Cristino Gutierrez, Frs. John Gruben, Sergio Sergio, Rafael Mediavilla, and Fidel Hernández.



Last Updated on Monday, 08 May 2017 14:55
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