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Assembly of the Augustinian Recollects of the United States PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 19 February 2018 14:53

(Texts taken from St. Nicholas of Tolentine's website: agustinosrecoletos.org)

40 Augustinian Recollect religious of the United States convened by the Prior General and Provincials meet in assembly in Oxnard, California.

Arriving from the communities of the states of New YorkNew JerseyCaliforniaNew Mexico, and Texas, 40 religious came to Oxnard to meet in an assembly, in which the members of the commission for the union of the provinces also participated. Currently, 50 Augustinian Recollects from the provinces of St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine reside in the United States. In addition, an Augustinian Recollect religious of the province of St. Ezekiel Moreno resides temporarily in the same country. Some could not go because they were out of the country and others because of travel limitations. 

Most of the 13 communities in the United States attend parish ministries; even communities that do not run a parish collaborate in that ministry in surrounding parishes. 


On the morning of January 17, the Assembly began with a greeting and presentation by the Prior General, Miguel Miró. After welcoming all the participants, he recalled the purpose of the assembly. All the activities since the last General Chapter have a common purpose: a personal, communitarian, and pastoral conversion. He invited us to see the action of God in daily life and in the brothers, and respond to the challenge of the times in which we are living. He also recalled the steps taken in the process of the union of the provinces promoted by the Project of Life and Mission of the Order. He underlined the will of the general and provincial councils and of the Commission for the union of the provinces as transparency, and complete and continuous exchange of information. He referred to the three verbs with which Pope Francis in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium and in the message to young people proposed in order to make decisions: to recognize, to interpret, and to choose, and his analysis of what happens in those who focus their lives only on their own interests. And he concluded by asking for the intercession of St. Augustine, of the saints of the Order, and of the Virgin of Consolation

Report from THE PROVINCIAL OF St. Nicholas 

Sergio Sánchez, echoing the desire to have complete communication, updated all the participants in the assembly about everything that has been done up to the present by the Commission for the union of the provinces and councils to comply with the process ordered by the General Chapter. The official letters sent, the meetings held in the commission--including that of the councils of both provinces before the commission was constituted--, the creation of working groups, and the designation of responsibilities in the fields of youth ministry and vocations, initial and ongoing formation, spirituality, apostolate, economy, etc. Also, an outline of the steps of the process planned until the provincial chapter. Regarding what has already been done, Sergio Sánchez reviewed all the official letters sent to the religious from the councils and from the Commission for the union of the provinces. In this outline is the elaboration of the Project of Life and Mission for the province and, as a basic starting point, restructuring for revitalization. The present assembly will be, he said, a time for contributions for the discernment of how to better organize our life, our communities, and our province. He invited everyone to live with interest the preparation for the provincial chapter, because its fruits depend on what is contributed to it, since "what comes from the chapter is what has gone into the chapter". 


The working groups then explained what has been done so far and what remains pending until the provincial chapter. We looked with optimism at the impulse given to the pastoral care of vocations and young people, while at the same time recognizing the limitations to carrying out some initiatives of commitment by the local coordinators and each one of the religious. At this moment two aspirants have started their community experience in Oxnard to discern their vocation, and several more candidates have also applied for admission. The implementation of JARs in the ministries is a challenge. Regarding initial formation, some of the religious of the United States have participated in formation meetings in Mexico, visited the house of formation of the professed, and have maintained communication with the president of the formation secretariat. One sees as a challenge the effective option of the formators for the Augustinian Recollect formation itinerary. The activities of permanent formation and spirituality have been more pending; it is proposed to carry out some days for the promoters of the Augustinian spiritual exercises, and prayer workshops as a way of initiating the establishment of a center of Augustinian Recollect spirituality in the United States. The numerous and active presence of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternities in some ministries is recognized, and, therefore, their work of enriching those ministries with their own spirituality. In addition, the apostolate group insists on opting for quality in pastoral care and in seeking communal work for communication and mutual support. The economy group also reported on what was done in the exchange of information on the state of the economies of both provinces. The last report [on properties] dealt in particular with the possible closure of the community of [St. Cloud in] West Orange, New Jersey or Tagaste Monastery in Suffern, New York.


The Prior General and Provincial Priors took the floor with information about the guidelines for the elaboration of the Life and Mission Project. The last general chapter has already definitively indicated the strategy to define what the Order wanted to assume for this specific time: how it sees itself, how it understands its mission, and what decisions it considered should be carried out. In all cases there has been an effort to make these goals concrete and evaluable, indicating a date of compliance and of responsibility. Already in the previous administration the provinces and most of the communities had elaborated their project of life and mission. At this moment the province will have to assume the guidelines marked by the Order and once again re-elaborate its own project in the chapter. Taking into account the historical moment of union of the two provinces, certain necessary elements such as availabilitymobility, and sense of belonging are highlighted. 


From the beginning of the Assembly three lines of action were established to achieve greater fruit: communicate, get involved and commit. An effort was made to COMMUNICATE to all the religious everything that had been done and all the projects in progress; continuous spaces for dialogue were opened so that in the meetings whoever wished to do so could express their opinion, speak about their concerns, or present their contributions. In addition there was also a time for getting to know all the participants in a more personal dialogue. All were also asked to GET INVOLVED in the assembly by taking an interest in the issues that were discussed, participating actively, and responding to the presentations that were made, as directed by the Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Augustine, Michael Rafferty. Finally, the effectiveness of the assembly for the time that is still remaining before the next provincial chapter, and in line with the Project of Life and Mission, depends on the commitments of all. Therefore, as a synthesis of what was worked on during the two days, Sergio Sanchez presented some COMMITMENTS to fulfill: the first is to hold community meetings in which, in addition to promoting communication and intercommunity dialogue and complying with what the Constitutions of the Order invite us to do, the Project of life and mission of the Order will be studied, as well as the draft of the Provincial Directory that will be approved in the chapter, etc. The second commitment will constitute a vocational guidance team in each ministry. The third, to organize study days to know the content and application of the spiritual exercises and prayer workshops. Also, to send from the provincial secretaries all the informative documents. Finally, to send news of the activities of the communities and to collaborate in the translation into English of those items that appear on the web page of the Province. Everything will be evaluated and sent to the provincial secretary. 


The meetings in the large chapel of the community in Oxnard for common recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, for community prayer, and especially for the concelebrated Eucharist were particularly important moments. In the Eucharist, the assembly members were accompanied by some faithful close to the Augustinian Recollects who regularly assisted at the daily mass. The Masses were celebrated by the prior general and by the priors provincial.


Last Updated on Monday, 19 February 2018 14:57

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