The month of May, for us Augustinians and for so many devotees around the world, is linked to the figure of the great Augustinian nun, Saint Rita of Cascia. Saint Rita lived in Umbria in Italy, more than 600 years ago, but the different experiences that life has brought together, have made her a figure that appeals so much even to our times. She lived the challanges of married life, the experience of a mother who even lost her sons, the call to the consecrated life as an Augustinian nun, and in the last years of her life God granted her the grace to experience closely the suffering of his Son through a thorn on her forehead. In all this she lived heroically the Christian virtues particularly, love, forgiveness, faith, and total disposition to the will of God.

Along the 20th century, the devotion to Saint Rita spread rapidly, not only in Italy, but also in so many countries around the world. The Augustinians worked hard to spread such devotion presenting her to the people of God as a model of hope in the difficulties of life. Many devotees keep Thursdays as the day to resort to her with their difficulties and problems humbly requesting her intercession to deliver their prayer to God almighty.

In Malta the national centre of devotion to the Saint is the Parish Church of St. Augustine in Valletta. This year, being that the 22nd will fall on a Sunday, and it will also coincide with the Carnival celebrations in Valletta, the Feast in Valletta will be celebrated on Thursday, May 19th. On that day there will also be a devotional pilgrimage with the statue of the Saint leaving the Church at 5.30pm, and upon entering there will be a solemn Mass starting at 7.15pm. The devotional pilgrimage in Victoria, Gozo, will also take place on Thursday 19 May, while the feast of the Saint at the Church of Saint Augustine in Victoria, Gozo, will still be celebrated on Sunday 22 May.

The feast of Saint Rita is also celebrated in the other Augustinian churches. It will actually be celebrated on Saturday 15 May at St. Nicholas Church in Tarxien, and on Saturday 21 May at St. Mark's Church in Rabat and at Our Lady of Good Council in Paceville. The 9.30am Mass, broadcast on TVM and the Church's media on Sunday 22 May will be held at Saint Augustine Parish Church in Valletta. For more details it is good to look for the respective program, in the Church which is most comfortable for him to continue to pray together for the intercession of the saint of the impossible that we love so much.

 



The restoration project of the Pipe Organ at St Mark Curch in Rabat was officially inaugurated on Saturday, 23rd April 2022. It is a project on which the Augustinian Community and The Augustinian Cloister Foundation have been working on for several years. It was than made possible thanks to the generous financial support of Dr. Gilles and Mrs. Claudine Gutierrez. Her Eccelency Ms Agnès von der Mühll, the French Ambassador to Malta, was also present for the enjoyable evening.

The Organ in St. Mark's Church was installed in 1959 by the renowned firm V. Mascione. With the work of Mro. P. Albert Borg O.S.A., the same firm had also installed organs in the Augustinian Churches of St Augustine in Valletta and in Victoria, Gozo, as well as in St. John Co-Cathedral. The recent intervention by restorer Mr. Robert Buhagiar, took about nine months, and was one of extensive restoration which practically led to the dismantling of all the Organ and after the necessary interventions, it was reassembled piece by piece.

In addition to a presentation of the work by the restorer and other short interventions, the inauguration evening included various pieces of organ music by resident organist Dr Chris Role, organist Claire Baluci, accompanied by musicians Mr Nicholas Busuttil and Ms Leanne Borg, and the beautiful voices of Ms. Jacqueline Micallef Grimaud, Ms. Nicole Weaving-Baluci and Ms. Imelda Micallef Lowell. The evening ended with a reception at the Priory.


The Maltese Augustinian friars would like to invite you to the closing mass of the Ordinary Provincial Chapter 2022 which will be presided over by the M. Rev. Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton, Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine in the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Paceville on Friday, 22nd April at 6.45pm. Refreshements will be served afterwords on the Church parvis. Those arriving by private transport can park free of charge at the Merkanti Carpark of the Westin Dragonara Resort.

The Provincial Chapter is a moment which the Augustinian friars celebrate every four years and offers an opportunity to evaluate the reality of their life and apostolic work, and plan for the future. These days of the Chapter are being presided over by the Prior General of the Order.

All those who collaborate with the Augustinians and participate in any of there initiatives are encouraged to take part in the celebration on Friday. In the meantime, your prayers at this particular time will be greatly appreciated.


Between the 18th and 22nd April, the Augustinian friars are meeting at The Santa Rita Priory to celebrate the second part of the Ordinary Provincial Chapter which is being presided by the Prior General, Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton O.S.A.

This second part started with the celebration of the Eucharist presided by the Prior General himself for the repose of all deceased members of the Province, especially those who passed to eternal rest during the past four years. These were Fr. Felix Buttigieg; Fr. Joe Farrugia; Fr. Rikkardu Attard; Cardinal Prospero Grech and Fr. Saver Mifsud.

Thereafter, during the first session, the Prior Provincial presented a forward-looking programme setting out three priorities for evaluation and discussion by the friars during this Chapter and the forthcoming four years: 1) Communion as a constant challenge for the friars and a much-needed witnesses for the Church; 2) Vocations as a precious gift for each and everyone and a proposal that should be made to all who are still seeking in life; and 3) The indispensable consideration of the Province’s Present Reality with the challenge of assessing and rationalising the energies, without diminishing the beauty of all opportunities for evangelization possible for the Province.

During these days discussions will continue on these priorities and other proposals that were put forward for consideration by the working groups and for discussion by the Assembly. Then, on Friday morning the voting session will be held and decisions will be taken on the proposals that will have been put forward.

The Ordinary Provincial Chapter will conclude with the reading and approval of the Acts and the celebration of Mass which will be held at the Augustinian Church dedicated to the Mother of Good Counsel, Paceville on Friday 22 April 2022 at 6.45 p.m. This closing Mass is open to all those who support or feel close to the Augustinian friars, particularly those who collaborate with them in various fields. After the Mass light refreshments will be served on the convent’s parvis. (Anyone interested in attending can may make use, of the parking facilities at the Merkanti Car Park of the Westin Dragonara Hotel free of charge)


May We Leave Christ Astonish Us!

After two years of restrictions that have deprived us from the celebrations of the Holy Week in our churches, we are once again celebrating together as a community of faith the Mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. . Although we cannot say that we are free from the thought of the pandemic or from any limitations on the gestures that bring us closer together, we have a great opportunity to share the joy and hope of Easter with greater vigor. After all, as Christians we all know that it is here that we find the true meaning of our life!

A few days ago we had the grace to welcome among us His Holiness Pope Francis. In his presence we observe a continuous transmission of Christian hope. He had moments when he seemed physically limited, and at times he seemed even tired, but his presence and smile still conveyed joy, hope, and disponibility to the mission that the Lord is asking from him. These are qualities that derive from a strong experience of faith that culminates in the depths of the gospel.

In his reflection during the celebration in front of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of  Ta Pinu (2nd April 2022), the Pope spoke of 'the hour of Jesus' death' but he also spoke of the first disciples who, 'when they saw the empty tomb, without delay, and with their heart beating rapidly, rushed to bring the good news of the Resurrection. 'At this moment,  quoting the words of the Pope, 'The weeping of sorrow, at the foot of the cross, has changed into the joy of the announcement. The same Pope also reminds us of the Apostles, of whom it is written: “...every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:42)… the only concern that moved them was how they would proclaim and bear witness to the gospel of Christ (see Rom. 1: 1).'

In the spirit of these first disciples, and with the still vivid image of Pope Francis - sometimes tired but determined - bearing witness to Christ in our streets, I would like to wish each and every one of us holy celebrations. May we live intensely this powerful experience of sstanding under the cross looking forward to the resurrection, so that the celebration of the resurrection will fill us with renued enthusiasm and enlighten us in trough the challenges of life. This is the true Christian attitude we should have! Let's not hesitate to "Let him astonish us." And commit ourselves to “welcome with joy His renewed news." (Closing of the Homily of Pope Francis at the granaries Floriana, April 3, 2022)

From the bottom of my heart I wish you all keep living this spirit in your daily lives. For us Augustinian Friars, the coming days will also bring the celebration of the second part of the Ordinary Provincial Chapter 2022 in the Easter Octave. I urge you to remember us and accompany us with your prayers.

 In the meantime, on behalf of the Augustinian friars, I wish you and your families a holy Easter.

fr Leslie Gatt osa

Prior Provincial


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