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News from Saint Augustine Priory, Oxnard, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 14 September 2015 13:35


On January 6, 2015 the friars joined the Mary Star of the Sea community for the retirement Mass and dinner for long-time Mary Star of the Sea Parish secretary, Mrs. Terry White. She was parish secretary all the thirty-plus years that the Augustinian Recollects have staffed Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Oxnard and knows many of our friars.

February 24, 2015 the Spanish SARs celebrated the Rite of Admission to the Candidacy Period during a special Mass presided by Fr. Domingos Machado, OAR, Prior. The evening Liturgy of the Eucharist was followed by a festive gathering in the refectory. This group of 22 candidates is the first group of Spanish speaking SARs here in Oxnard.

On March 18, 2015, the Priory celebrated the Vigil of St. Joseph with Mass at 6:00 PM during which the new officers of the St. Ezekiel Moreno Guild were installed. Following the liturgy a dinner was held for all those who help the Priory in various ways.

The Priory priests helped this spring with confessions and Masses at Mary Star of the Sea and several local parishes, convents, and the naval base. Weekend vocation retreats were held in February, March, April, May, and June.

In March Father Ramon Gaitán, OAR, was transferred full-time to the Priory and at the end of May, Deacon Ramiro Muñoz, OAR, joined the Priory community, too.

On Palm Sunday Father Domingos Machado, OAR, led the traditional procession and presided at the Mass. The friends of the community had worked very hard to decorate the shaded walkways with an abundance of palm branches. The community joined the Easter Triduum liturgies at Mary Star of the Sea Parish, while Brother Anthony Torretti, OAR, helped at Cristo Rey Parish during Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, to celebrate the institution of both the Eucharist and priesthood, we invited our brothers from Mary Star of the Sea to join us for a special dinner at the Priory. Holy Saturday, prior to attending the Easter Vigil at Mary Star of the Sea, we enjoyed an anticipated Easter meal with Priory volunteers.

Throughout April, May, and June many parts of the Priory were repainted, carpets shampooed, and the electric gate at the monastery entrance repaired. In addition, just in time for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Chapel of Our Lady, the tabernacle was refinished, thanks to the very generous support of local donors. This tabernacle is originally from St. Augustine Monastery in Kansas City, Kansas and it truly gleamed for the June 18, 2015, anniversary Mass. Priory landscaping had also been embellished and countless other jobs completed thanks to the many volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to the Priory.

On April 12, 2015, Father Frank Wilder, OAR, conducted a retreat day for the English SAR Fraternity. The day included a Mass at which two new members made their promises.

The Priory celebrated the 50th Anniversary of profession of Brother Anthony Torretti, OAR, on April 22, 2015. Father Joseph Gallardo, OAR, Prior Provincial, presided at the 11:00 AM recitation of Midday Prayer, which included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, chanting of the Sequence to St. Augustine, renewal of vows by all the Recollect Friars present, and concluded with Benediction of the Most Holy Sacrament. Father Michael Stechmann, OAR, and Father Eric Crelencia, OAR, beautifully chanted the Sequence. In addition to the friars from the various Augustinian Recollect communities, Brother Anthony's brother Ronald and sister-in-law Suzanna, cousins from Pennsylvania and California, one of his former students at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, and parishioners from Mary Star of the Sea, Cristo Rey, and St. Benedict's also attended the chapel service and dinner. Both in the chapel and in the refectory we publicly thanked Brother Anthony for his example of faithful service to God, the Province of St. Augustine, and so many others. Indeed a golden example.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 13:49
News from Cristo Rey Parish, Los Angeles, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Sunday, 30 August 2015 23:04


THE ANNUAL APPEAL of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 2015 developed the theme of “Be Imitators of Me,” from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Fathers Michael Stechmann, OAR, and Juan Jose Guzman, OAR, attended an orientation session in mid-January to keep informed as to the scope of the appeal as well as specific changes for recording of donations that were initiated this year. The Annual Appeal, “Together in Mission,” provides for necessary funds for parishes and schools within the Archdiocese. The Announcement Weekend came early in February at all of the Masses to encourage participation, and Commitment Weekend was held February 14/15 with the “in-pew process” at all of the Masses. Thanks to the generosity of Cristo Rey parishioners, we were able to reach our goal on the first weekend because of direct mail solicitation from donors in previous years and new pledges gathered at each Mass. By the following weekend, we were able to exceed our goal in pledges and in payments with congratulatory letters received from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

RELIGIOUS JUBILIARIANS were invited to attend a special liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on January 25, 2015. Father Michael Stechmann received an invitation as he had celebrated 40 years of religious profession. At the end of the Mass, jubilarians were acknowledged in groups and there was special recognition for the Augustinian Recollects who have served Cristo Rey Church continuously for these past 75 years.

Archbishop José Gomez and Father Michael Stechmann, OAR, at the reception following the Mass for religious jubilarians.

Father Michael Stechmann, OAR, and Father Frank Wilder, OAR, were invited to stand as the Augustinian Recollects were acknowledged for their years of service in the Archdiocese.

AN ORGAN CONCERT was held in the church on Sunday, February 15, with a guest organist and vocalist presenting familiar and classical hymns in honor of Mary. This was one of the activities for the parishioners that had been planned in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the parish. Prior to this, one of the parishioners made a generous donation to repair pipes and for necessary restoration of the organ. During the process of repair, we learned from the serial number that the organ was originally built for St. Alphonsus Church in Los Angeles in 1940; however, information as to the date and installation in our church is not recorded. Immediately following the concert, the Guadalupanas and representatives of other parish groups hosted a joint birthday celebration in the parish hall for Father Michael Stechmann and Father Juan Jose Guzman. The parishioners were pleased to meet Father Juan Jose’s parents who had arrived from Mexico for a visit.

A LENTEN MISSION, directed by Brother Mauricio Torres of the lay movement "Totus Tuus" was held in the parish on the evenings of March 3-5. There was a good response from the parishioners; this activity coincided with the parish anniversary. Attendance at the mission grew, and the final evening included the Consecration of homes to the Sacred Heart.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 15:25
Diaconate Ordination of Frater Jorge Valdivia, OAR PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 20:58

The ornate Gothic vaults of Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark, New Jersey, echoed to the Easter hymn “Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise” at a noon Mass on May 17, 2015, as Fra. George Valdivia and ten other men received the Order of Deacon from Archbishop John Joseph Myers. Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary and a great many priests concelebrated, including Fr. Joseph Gallardo, OAR, Prior Provincial of St. Augustine Province, who also vested Fra. Valdivia, as well as Frs. Fredric Abiera, OAR, Michael Rafferty, OAR, John Gruben, OAR and John Oldfield, OAR. The Cathedral was filled with family members, friends of the deacon candidates, seminarians and members of various religious congregations. Several of our SAR members from the Tagaste Monastery fraternity and a good contingent from the Hispanic Community of Tagaste were also present, as were several members of Fra. Valdivia’s family, including a brother and nephew. After the opening procession and the welcome, the readings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese followed. The Archbishop then called on the candidates to make a commitment to celibacy and a promise of respect and obedience to the bishop. Following the solemn singing of the Litany of the Saints, the Archbishop laid his hands on the head of each of the candidates and then prayed the Prayer of Ordination. After the vesting of the new deacons, the Archbishop handed each the Book of Gospels with the traditional words: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Some of the current deacons then embraced the newly ordained, and the assembly signified its approval with an animated round of applause. All of the new deacons helped with the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful. Following the recessional, there was time for greetings and picture taking. Deacon Valdivia then had an opportunity to spend some time with his family, and Fr. Provincial invited the community to a very satisfying lunch. Our congratulations to our new Deacon who will be spending the summer exercising his ministry in a parish of the Archdiocese before returning to the seminary in the fall for his final year of theological studies.

- Father John Gruben, OAR

Archbishop Bernard Hebda (c) joins Recollects (l to r) Frs. Michael Rafferty, and Fredric Abiera, Deacon George Valdivia, and Frs. Joseph Gallardo (Prior Provincial), and John Oldfield.

Fr. Joseph Gallardo vests Deacon George Valdivia with stole and dalmatic of his new ministry.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark, New Jersey




Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 21:15
News from Saint Benedict Parish, Montebello, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 02 March 2015 14:33

Gathering with Archbishop Gomez

Frs. Francisco Sandoval, OAR, and Euben Capacillo, OAR, attended the annual priests' gathering with Archbishop Jose Gomez at Our Lady of Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, on October 6th. Hundreds of priests from the Archdiocese gathered with their bishop for a day of fellowship and unity.

Fr. Jorge Alberto Nino Gomez, OAR, arrives in St Benedict

On October 10th, Fr. Jorge Alberto Niño Gomez, OAR, arrived in St. Benedict Parish from our sister province of Candelaria to help with ministries here. Fr. Jorge was happily welcomed by community and parish alike to begin immediately the many duties our life as religious and pastors of God’s people. He was immediately sent to night school for adult English classes and a tutor was found for him who continues to help him in the afternoons. We welcome Father Jorge Alberto and hope that his time with us will be fruitful and joyous.

Tardeada in the Hall

On October 11th, the “nececidad comite” prepared for Día de la Hispanidad with a dinner dance on Saturday where parishioners were able to mingle and to celebrate the different cultures present at St. Benedict's. The proceeds of the dinner dance went to help with our church renovation project.

Tardeada in the Parish Hall for the Día de la Hispanidad

Dia de la Hispanidad

At 12:30 pm on October 12th, a solemn bilingual Mass marked the parish celebration of Día de la Hispanidad. It began with a procession of flags representing the different Hispanic groups present in this country. There were readings in English, Spanish and Italian with music in English, Spanish and Tagalog. It was a great occasion for the different parish cultures to get together as one and celebrate the one thing that makes us all one, our faith in the One and True God.

Cena Encuentro Matrimonial Cristiano

On the evening of October 16, Frs. Francisco Sandoval, OAR, and Jorge Alberto Niño Gomez, OAR, were invited by the Encuentro Matrimonial Cristiano of St. Benedict to a dinner in honor of priests celebrating World Day for Priests at the Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia. They were welcomed at the entrance in the dark with a flashlight and taken to a very elaborately decorated room where they were given a gift and seated at a table. Dinner was served immediately and all present were delighted with a play prepared by the Encuentro Matrimonial couples.

School Halloween Party

Fr. Francisco joined the school festivities on October 31st as they celebrated Halloween on the school patio. Children were given prizes for the best costume and the most original in each grade. Fr. Francisco bestowed the awards although he himself, dressed as a scary clown, did not compete.

Halloween Party in the School Patio with Fr. Francisco dressed as a clown.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2015 15:05
News from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Santa Ana, California PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 23 February 2015 21:28

Feast of Our Patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe

As is the practice in this parish, to prepare for the Feast of Our Patroness, we held a novena in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the Evening Masses.

On December 11, after the 7:00 pm Mass, Fr. Marlon Beof, OAR, led everyone to the parking area for the coronation of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe after which he pronounced the Parish Fiesta officially open. For the next twenty-four hours, thousands of parishioners and guests from all walks of life came for the flower offerings and mañanitas serenading Our Lady, participation at Eucharistic celebrations and to enjoy the different booths offering food and religious articles.

At the parking area, Fr. Marlon, Deacon Miguel and Altar servers after the crowning of the Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the Eve of her Feast.

On the Day of the Feast of Our Lady at 4:30 am, Bishop Kevin Vann presided over a concelebrated Mass with Fathers Marlon, Alfredo de Dios, OAR, and Jose Antonio Arias, OAR. Deacons Domingo Garza and Miguel Gonzalez assisted at the Mass.

Bishop Kevin Vann accompanied by Frs. Marlon, Alfredo, and Jose Antonio and Deacons Domingo Garza and Miguel Gonzalez after the Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


After Mass, Bishop Kevin Vann blessed our new community chapel located in the Rectory.


The highlight of the Advent Season was the nine day Christmas Posada before each 7:00 pm Mass. Posadas are an important part of Mexican Christmas celebrations. The word posada means "inn" or "shelter" in Spanish, and this tradition re-enacts Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Posadas are held on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas from December 16 to 24th.

To the delight of children and their parents this year, we also had Posadas with the CCD students during their respective days of CCD classes.

On December 24, Fr. Marlon presided at the 5:00 pm children’s Christmas Eve Mass; this was the second time we held it in our parish. The children's choir helped to enrich the celebration.

At 11:00 pm, Fr. Jose Antonio Arias presided over the Noche Buena Mass with Frs. Marlon and Alfredo concelebrating.

On December 31 at 9:00 pm, Fr. Alfredo de Dios presided over the Noche Vieja Mass with Frs. Marlon and Jose Antonio concelebrating. The Mass was followed by a Holy Hour led by Fr. Marlon to thank the Lord for the blessings for the end of 2014 and asking God’s blessing for everyone and every family in the parish for the New Year.

--Father Marlon Beof, OAR


Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2015 21:40
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