Letter from the Prior General to the Brothers and Sisters of the Order

Dear brothers and sisters:

Walking in fraternal unity is the necessary condition to respond, as Augustinians, to the demands of this time marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the social and economic consequences which we can already see There is no doubt that together we are stronger when facing challenges. Only united will we be able to open new horizons never imagined, to create hopes that were almost lost, and to reach new goals. "Goodness is a possession that spreads out more and more widely insofar as those who share it are united in undivided love. In fact, anyone who is unwilling to share this possession will find that he does not possess it at all, but, the more he is able to love the one who shares it with him, the greater he will find that his own possession of it becomes." ( The City of God 15,5).

With this desire to walk together, fostering a greater relationship among all people through the means at our disposal, the General Council of the Order wants to initiate a new path with the circumscriptions, communities and brothers and sisters, to face the reality that is emerging because of the pandemic and its personal, social, pastoral and structural consequences.

The desire of the General Council is to promote more fluid communication with the members of the Order at different levels, beginning with the Major Superiors. Through new technologies we have started a dialogue with them to learn about the situation, exchange ideas and experiences and help in decision-making.

There is no room for nostalgic glances at the past; It is impossible to return to the previous situation, as if everything had been just a bad dream. The world has changed and the reality we are experiencing requires us to react appropriately, consistently and responsibly. For this I consider it essential to promote communion: among us and in the Risen Christ. And, from there, we must respond. "The Head and the body form one single Christ ... Show, then, that you are a body worthy of such a Head" (Sermon 341, 11.13).

We can use the tools at our disposal and can share materials that help us all and which we can make available to each other. The Institute of Augustinian Spirituality offers us a document entitled "A Time of Hope" . Itreflects on the current situation and its challenges, from a Christian and Augustinian perspective. It is a serious, profound and provocative document. I think that it is convenient for each of us to read it calmly and to reflect on its different proposals. You can also discuss it at the community and circumscriptional level, with the pedagogical assistance it offers.

It is simply an open proposal, a working document. Each one will need to discover the best way to use it. We know that cultural, social, religious, economic and relational situations are very different in each part of the Order. This diversity constitutes a real treasure if one lives in communion. It is up to us to continue the dialogue, to extract ideas that can help us to walk together, as Christians and as Augustinians, at this moment in history. We are being challenged to develop concrete options and decisions that we all must make, according to the circumstances of time, place and culture, and in accordance with our charism (cf. CC 16).

At the same time, I encourage you to send ideas, reflections and proposals that may be useful to all the brothers and sisters of the Order. We seek to share life by emphasizing communion, favoring dialogue to better serve the Church and the men and women of our time. That is why I wish that our options and our decisions be courageous, risky, and renovative, while being always guided by the Gospel.

In this path we must all be involved: Members of the General Council, General Commissions, Major Superiors, Provincial and Vicarial Councils, Delegations, Regional Organizations, communities of the Order, religious brothers, sisters of contemplative life and lay Fraternities. The journey and the challenges along the way belong to everyone and are for everyone.

The Holy Father insistently asks us to "touch the flesh of Christ in suffering people." This necessary openness to the human reality of suffering places us before the many conflicts that are arising and will arise in the coming years. Without a doubt, with the help of God, we will have to heal many wounds as we face complex and, at times, inhumane situations.

I want to thank the Institute of Augustinian Spirituality, especially its president  and its executive committee, for the great help they are offering us in these dark times. The materials they send to us (prayers, reflections, guidelines) are proving to be very useful for many of our communities and our brothers and sister individually. Without sharing our faith, we cannot live communion and without communion, we cannot live the Augustinian fraternity. Without these, our despair only grows stronger.

We must always keep in mind that "the Augustinian community is called to be a prophetic sign in the world to the extent that fraternal life becomes a source of sharing and a cause of hope" (CC 33).

May Mary, Our Mother of Good Counsel, illuminate our way and intercede for us before her Son who died and rose to new life.

 

Rome, May 26, 2020

Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton

Prior General OS.A.



After his visit to our Parish Church on the occasion of the feast of St. Rita, H.E. Archbishop Mgr. Charles Jude Scicluna presided over the installation of Fr. Alexander Cauchi O.S.A. as the new Parish Priest of the Augustinian Parish, Valletta where our brother has been serving as Administrator for the past few months. Present circumstances do not permit that the beginning of this ministry be celebrated in the Parish in the manner that such an occasion merits.

Fr. Alexander was born in St. Julians on 16 June 1971. After a one-year novitiate at Tolentino, Italy, he made his first profession in our Augustinian family on 13 September 1991. Then on 13 November 1994 Fr. Alexander made his Solemn Profession and priestly ordination on 18 October 1996 and he carried out various pastoral duties which we carry out as Augustinians.

Amongst these, one should mention his work at Rabat; Hal-Tarxien and in the St. Augustine College. For a number of years, he also carried out duties within our Augustinian community as Vice-Parish Priest of our Valletta Parish and also as the Prior, a position he still holds.

From our hearts we wish Fr. Alexander Cauchi a fruitful mission in God’s field whilst we promise him our prayers.

 

 


The Malta Resuscitation Council donated an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the Millenium Chapel.The AED was won by a group of Maltese doctors who represented Malta in the European CPR competition in Slovenia in September 2019.

This Defibrillator will be put at the Millennium Chapel within reach of any emergency in the premises or in the neighbourhood. The Millennium Chapel Foundation is grateful to the Malta Resuscitation Council for their kind donation.


I welcome you on this special day for us Augustinians when we remember our sister St. Rita who is so popular amongst our many friends and devotees.

One aspect which makes St. Rita such a popular saint is the fact that she was a woman who experienced different roles in her life and thus was close to both happiness and challenges which these bring with them. In her youth she sought what was her call from God; she experienced married life; that of a mother; a widow; and as a religious. Throughout these roles in her life she encountered difficult challenges and this is perhaps why, in so many circumstances, which we ourselves face in life, we turn to her for her intercession and we seek her intercession with God.

She lived the challenges of married life; the difficulties of a mother desiring to see her children making the best choices; the pains of seeing her husband falling victim to murder; the suffering of a woman who lost her children; she also experienced the discernment of a vocation of a religious life as an Augustinian and, in the course of the last years few years of her life, she suffered in her forehead a wound which was so close to that endured by Our Lord Jesus Christ in his passion.

In face of these realities which we attribute to St. Rita’s life, it makes more sense for us, when bearing the weight of the difficulties we encounter in our life, to understand our need to seek her intercession and to pray for her intercession with God. Rita is doubtless the person capable of understanding the trials of life but, even more, is a woman capable of facing these with the serenity that can only come from somebody who has experienced a strong faith in God. Rita exemplifies a life which is not without problems or suffering (as we ourselves normally desire and at times even expect!) but a life lived with serenity even though burdened with so many difficulties, even if at present we are limited as to what we are able to do; also if I feel alone and burdened by ill-health. Serenity stems from a conviction that God will never leave me alone. God is the one who loves me continuously.

Rita lived the last few years of her life as an Augustinian religious. It was my wish that this year, whilst we celebrate the saintly life of this our sister, in these particular circumstance, we Augustinian religious offer this day as an opportunity for spiritual enhancement and that we make use of the time to pray for mutual saintliness and for the renewal of our Augustinian family. In this context I wish to address in a special way also our sisters, the Augustinian Sisters, who lead a contemplative life and also our sisters, the Augustinian Sisters Servers of Jesus and Mary whilst I seek the intercession of St. Rita that she takes care of our religious family and blesses them with new vocations.

I would like to take this opportunity to seek St. Rita’s intercession for all those who presently are working in any way to protect us by giving their services in all walks of life. Let us remember also those who are facing a lot of suffering as a result of the present situation.

But, more than ever, I wish to salute you all our friends, devotees of St. Rita who usually frequent our churches so as to pray to the saint of the impossible and to celebrate with us the usual liturgical celebrations. This year, due to present circumstances that we are facing in our country and around the world, this is not possible. I assure you that I do feel your absence just as much as you are awaiting the moment when we will be able once again to celebrate together.

 Meanwhile, however, let us look to our saint and take courage even from a distance and in the circumstances we are living at present. Rita never gave up hope during her lifetime and even when the thorn in her forehead kept her far from her sisters in the same monastery. In those moments she grasped Jesus’ cross! A clear sign of God’s love for us. I wish today and always, especially in facing the difficulties of life, the experience God’s presence full of the happiness and serenity of heart to all those who place their hope in Him.

St. Rita intercede for us!

 

Fr. Leslie Gatt osa

Prior Provincial

 

 


The 22nd of May is a day which is very dear to the Augustinian family and to devotees of St. Rita, the Saint of the impossible. On that day throughout the world, especially in the small Umbrian village of Cascia, so many people fill up Augustinian churches so as to give praise to God and to seek the Saint’s intercession. She is a Saint who,  throughout her lifetime, experienced so many realities and, when facing difficulties, placed her faith and hope in God. It is this wish in the hearts of every Christian that prompts us to turn to God through her intercession.

In Malta, on the day of this Liturgical Feast, celebrations are concentrated mainly within churches, mainly in our church in Valletta and in Victoria, Gozo. It is our wish that on this feast day we bring to all also celebrations from these churches through other means; that is whilst listening to the words of our spiritual shepherds. This because, due to the particular situation we are presently experiencing, this year we have no option but to celebrate the occasion together, as far as is possible, with faith and the belief that, through the intercession of the Saint of the Impossible, we will always continue to grow in our conviction that God will never leave us alone.


© 2020 agostinjani.org. All Rights Reserved.