On Saturday, October 7, the Augustinian Community of Valletta took part in the Notte Bianca which has now become part of the Capital's annual Calendar through various interesting initiatives. Among these it is worth mentioning the Exhibition that was held at the Priory on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the foundation of Saint Augustine College in the same corridors that years ago hosted the school. At that time the Saint Augustine School was the first Church School offering free eduaction to the Maltese children. Several young people from Tagaste Youths who are all ex-students of the College, welcomed the people at the entrance of the Priory and toured them through the exhibition, and also through various parts of the Priory Museum. All those who came, were able to appreciate various artifacts of the Priory which is undergoing extensive restoration and which will form part of the Community Interpretation Center which should eventually be ready and open to the public in the coming months.

Apart from the celebration of the mass like every Saturday, two concerts were staged in the church by the Saint Monica Vocal Ensemble with a wonderful repertoire of sacred music. Both concerts were very well received by the public who appreciated both the pieces and the angelic voices.



On Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September, the Augustinian Community of Rabat took part in the Rabat Sacrum initiative which was organized by the Rabat Local Council with the collaboration of several civil and religious entities. The idea of ​​such initiative was first and foremost to give the public the opportunity to see and appreciate the treasures hidden in the Rabat churches, priories and their respective museums. In addition, several musical and cultural initiatives were held in different places.

The Augustinian Community of Rabat for this occasion opened the ground floor of the Priory so that public could appreciate the magnificent building built by the architect of the Order Andrea Belli, in the first half of the 18th century. In the Priory, one could also appreciate the wonderful museum with various artifacts in exposition. Most prominent among them are the four panels of  Sicilian School that form part of a polyptych commissioned by the Augustinian friars in the XV century. This work of art is of great value not only for the Priory of Saint Mark and the Augustinian Heritage, but also for the history of art in our islands.

Apart from the priory one could also appreciate the church of Saint Mark which dates back to the XV century, and was built by the architect Girolamo Cassar who probably used the plan of this church as a test to then build Saint John’s Co Cathedral.

As part of the cultural initiatives staged in different areas, an Organ concert was held in the church by the organist Claire Balucci accompanied by local Sopranos.


On Sunday 10th September the Vietnamese Catholic Community in Malta celebrated their first mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Paceville. This was a huge milestone for the small Vietnamese community newly established. Hopefully, in the future, this community will be a place to connect all the families and young Vietnamese Catholics living and studying in Malta to meet and support each other in living the faith and daily life of God’s children far away from families and homeland.

We would like to thank sincerely the Augustinian Community in Paceville for generously opening their arms and welcoming us most warmly with open arms.


The past weeks have brought with them several feasts in the Augustinian Liturgical calendar. Among them are the feasts of Saint Augustine and Our Lady of the Girdle which were celebrated solemnly particularly in the Augustinian Churches of Valletta and Rabat in Malta, and Victoria in Gozo. For these feasts a program of liturgical celebrations was prepared through which we gave thanks to Lord for all that he has done with us through the intersession of his Mother Mary and our spiritual father Saint Augustine.

The festivities in Valletta reached their climax with the Parish Titular Feast which was celebrated on 3 September with the procession with the statue of Saint Augustine through the main streets of the City. The Feast of Our Lady of the Girdle in Valletta was celebrated on Saturday 26 August, while in Rabat it was then celebrated on Saturday 9 September. In the Church of Saint Augustine in Victoria Gozo both feasts were celebrated on their liturgical days, that is on August 28 and September 4. Apart from the particular days of the feasts, there were also days of preparation with various celebrations that offered reflections on the figures of Saint Augustine and the devotion of Our Lady under the title of Mother of Consolation (Our Lady of the Girdle) who is the patroness of the Augustinian Family.

On August 27 together with the universal Church we also celebrated the feast of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, while on September 10 then, the Augustinian liturgical Calendar marks the figure of Saint Nicholas from Tolentino who is the first Augustinian religious to be declared a saint. His feast day in the Church dedicated to him in Tarxien will be celebrated on Saturday 30 September.

Meanwhile during the month of September, several Parishes around Malta celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Girdle with the last one being that of Gudja which will be celebrated on the last Sunday of October.


 

On the 28th of August the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Augustine. Every feast invites us to reflect anew on this great figure who has particularly inspired us Religious in our journey after Christ, and in the same way we wish that he continues to inspire all those who in one way or another wish to share from that holy wisdom with which the Lord adorned Saint Augustine and made him a gift for the Church.

Saint Augustine dreamed of sharing his life with friends, or with his 'brethren', summoning them to continue to seek the Lord together. His call to the pastoral service of the flock came later and the same Augustine accepted it while adapting the lifestyle he was already living with the brethren. In the Rule that highlights the guidelines for religious life, the central motivation that Saint Augustine proposed for those who wanted to live in his footsteps is clear: "the main purpose for which you have gathered together is to live happily together, one heart and one soul in God". So the true joy of one’s heart in Christ does not come primarily from what we accomplish, as much as from the very calling as baptised christians and the continuous commitment in search for God.

I would genuinely like to continue to ask for the intercession of Saint Augustine so that the Lord instills in the heart of each and every one of us the desire to always seek the fullness of who we are, but also in all the choices we have made and will make in life. This helps us to be freer because internally, we are less bound to what brings the immediate gratitude of others, and opens us up to what God wants from us and to the witness that is expected from us as Christians.

We are also living in a society that is becoming more and more sensitive to mental health and thus the need for more support for each other in every area of ​​life. This is also a very important reflection that we should do to recognize first and foremost our reality and our limitations, and then encourage us more to find and give adequate support to each other. Saint Augustine did not hesitate to talk about his limitations as we clearly find in the Confessions, and above all he sought support in friendship and in those he chose to be close to. With them he shared the search, the doubts, but above all he shared the beautiful discovery of Jesus in his life.

Let us really support and help each other to get closer to what gives us true peace of heart and serenity. It is only with this attitude that we can be renewed in the continuous journey that Saint Augustine proposes to us when he tells us that our first aim is to live joyfully and seek God together, and when he reminds us that our hearts will never find peace until they rest in Him. This is the greatest support that a Christian can find in his life!

 

Fr. Leslie Gatt osa

Prior Provincial


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