A team of educators from St Augustine College, together with our College Rector Fr David Cortis osa, had the opportunity to attend a very fruitful course in Helsinki, Finland, together with educators from other European countries as part of the Erasmus+, EU’s programme. This experience was first and foremost a realization of how much our college is working within high standards, as it was noticed that some practices and methods used in Finland, are also being applied in our college. It was evident that the sense of teamwork throughout all the year groups between educators as well as the school leadership team, is one of the major keys for success. All educators work together to reach a common goal, the overall well-being of their students. The students’ academic improvement is not the main priority within these schools. Instead, activities are held in a fun way, involving lots of hands-on tasks, use of technology, sports, and other enjoyable assignments.

Through these, set goals are effectively reached. The importance of being physically active on a regular basis, throughout the day, was also something which was particularly noticed. All the Maltese team experienced this first hand during the course; this resulted in higher concentration and motivation levels. Students’ opinions and ideas are given a great deal of importance in Finnish schools; from lessons held to recreational equipment in school grounds.

All the team came back undoubtedly full of new ideas which are already being shared with the rest of the college community, with the determination to get everyone onboard and work hand in hand for one common ultimate objective: the students’ well-being. Unity is strength!

 

Ms Daniela Buttigieg

Primary Teacher – St Augustine College



The 187th General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine, opened on Sunday September 11, 2022, with the Mass of the Holy Spirit presided over by the Prior General P. Alejandro Moral Anton O.S.A.. This Intermediate General Chapter is being held in the City of San Diego in California, in the United States.

Around 40 representatives of the different circumscriptions of the Order around the world, are gathering with the Prior General and the members of the General Council to discuss and evaluate the life of the Order and its commitment in the apostolate and mission of the Church. This experience of synodality is offering an opportunity for personal reflection and a common dialogue particularly on the theme of the renewal of the Order in the contrast between the ideals and the challenges offered by the contemporary world.

The capitular members will be discussing a working document named 'Renovatio' towards a renewal program of the Order. The document practically talks about five themes: Spirituality; the Apostolate and Evangelization; Poverty and Social Justice; Vocations; and the Formation of New Candidates. In addition to these, the decisions that were taken in the previous Ordinary General Chapter held in Rome in 2019, and other themes that can be presented according to need, will also be discussed.

The Maltese Augustinian Province is being represented by the Prior Provincial Fr Leslie Gatt O.S.A. The Augustinians encourage everyone to unite in a spirit of prayer so that this moment be lived as a moment of grace for the Augustinian Family spread in so many countries around the world.

 


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of fr George Bezzina who went to meet the risen Lord early this morning at the venerable age of 94. Fr George was lately residing at the Christus Sacerdos residence for elderly priests in Birkirkara.

Father George was born in Gharghur on March 29, 1928 and joined the Augustinian Family in 1946. After completing his studies, he was ordained priest on March 21, 1953. He spent the first years of his ministry in the Communities of Rabat Malta and Victoria in Gozo where he was responsible for the formation of the professed students and later of the novices. In 1961 he was sent for two years of missionary work at La Goulette in Tunis and later returned to Malta where he continued his work in the field of formation as master of the novices. In the late sixties he was sent to the Valletta community where he served for a few years as vice-Parish Priest in the newly erected Parish. In the early seventies he was sent to the mission in Brazil where he worked for more than twenty-five years in various realities and serving in different responsibilities. In 1998 he then left Brazil and joined the Annaba community in Algeria where he served for another eight years. Back to Malta in 2006 he joined the community of Victoria Gozo and in 2010 he once again became part of the Community of Valletta where he remained until in 2018 he was admitted to the Christus Sacerdos residence for elderly priests due to health limitations. .

Apart from his missionary work for more than 35 years, Fr. George in Malta served for many years in the formation of young augustinians and was till the very end so passionate to ask and speak about the animation and prayer for vocations. Funeral Mass ill be celebrated tomorrow, 31st August 2022 at Saint Augustine Parish Church in Valletta followed by internment in the graves of the Augustinian Province at the Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetry.

The Augustinian Province commends the soul of this dear brother to the mercy of God through your prayers.


On Sunday 4 September the Augustinian Family celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lady Mother of Consolation, patron of the Augustinian Order. When years ago, in the Church and in the Mendicant Orders, the devotion to our Lady Mary began to be shaped, the Augustinian Order adopted the ancient symbol of the cincture. It was in that context that the tradition grew over the years, that Mary appeared to Saint Monica and gave her this symbol as a sign of comfort and consolation as she struggled  after her son Augustine and encouraged him to rediscover God.

The liturgy of the feast will be celebrated in all Augustinian churches on the very Day being the 4th September. In Malta the Feast will be celebrated with a full program in the Church of Saint Augustine in Valletta on Saturday 3rd September, and in the Church of Saint Mark in Rabat on Saturday 10th September. In both churches there are days of preparation and a devotional pilgrimage on the day of the Feast. In Gozo the Feast is celebrated in the Church of Saint Augustine in Victoria, on Sunday 4th September in the morning.

Our Lady of Consolation or as we commonly know her, Our Lady of the Cincture, is actually a very old devotion in our country and is also celebrated in various villages and Parishes where we can still find active confraternities.


The last days of August bring with them the Solemnity of Our Holu Father Saint Augustine in which the Church looks at the figure of this great saint and celebrates him among those who lived their baptism in its fullness .

This is the call of all those who are part of the Christian community and who are called to constantly seek God together and celebrate their faith in the daily walk of life. This was the natural experience of the young Augustine who searched him with his friends even in the remotest places 'outside of himself', and with them he also shared what he found: the Lord 'who dwelt in him'. This is what our Mother Church invites us to share together, and live in an experience of faith and synodality that would not be the same without the contribution of each and everyone of us.

The word synod in itself refers to an assembly or meeting in which we listen to each other. In simple words, the reflection that the Church is inviting us to do right now is an opportunity to reflect on the place of each one of us in the community, the contribution that each one can give, the communion between us, the listening, and paying attention to each other and to what makes us who we are. In a homily that Cardinal Mario Grech had made on the Solemnity of Saint Augustine (Rome, 2020) speaking about synodality, he recalled that "for Saint Augustine the idea of ​​the Church as a community is one inclusive and not exclusive one, always ready to welcome, and open to everyone without distinctions or differences: its catholicity expresses a vocation for the whole."

This is the experience that I wanted to propose for our reflection this year, both for us as religious brethren who have just lived the experience of an Ordinary Provincial Chapter which was a beautiful moment that brought us together, and also for all of us as a Church who is venturing on a synodal journey. Surely this is not new talk for anyone of us, but we need to keep reminding each other that as baptized (and moreover for us religious as consecrated persons) this is a reflection that we should constantly keep doing as we seek to renew ourselves and our structures.

Today we live in a society that expects credibility from us, more than from others and rightly so. We have discovered an experience that brings with it a great responsibility to live it authentically and even more so to share it with others. The celebration of the holyness of Saint Augustine is a sign of hope that one day we can all reach this destination. The experience of being together is a characteristic intrinsically linked to our Augustinian identity and undoubtedley, an experience that society needs so much.

May our communities and structures be always small experiences of synodality and of the beauty of being together, of sharing the experience of God together, and above all of being his witnesses in everything we do. The fact remains that the whole experience of 'togetherness' can only be reached if it leaves from the small choices that each one of us do every day!

 

Fr Leslie Gatt osa

Prior Provincial


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