Convened by the Commission for the Union of Provinces, thirty-eight Augustinian Recollects residing in the United States, belonging to the Province of St. Augustine and the Delegation of San Nicolás de Tolentino, held an assembly on January 17 and 18. 2018 at Saint Augustine Priory in Oxnard, California. Also in attendance were Miguel Miró, prior general of the Order, Michael Rafferty, prior provincial of Saint Augustine Province; Sergio Sánchez, prior provincial of San Nicolás de Tolentino; Jesús María Mena, provincial delegate of San Nicolás, and members of the Commission.
On the day before the assembly, on January 16, the prior general and provincial priors met with the local priors. Fray Marlon Beof arranged for the meeting. The prior general invited the priors of the eleven communities of the United States to assume their responsibility, encouraged them to dialogue with the religious and to be creators of communion. He urged them to value diversity and promote with concrete acts the integration of the brothers in the common project.
When the dynamics of dialogue and openness was reached, the prior of each community aired the concerns and the responses of the brothers to the questionnaire previously sent to the communities regarding the union of provinces, youth ministry and vocation promotion and evangelization.
Sergio Sánchez recalled the project of provincial life and mission and stressed the importance of the priors to carry out the project of each community and for the revitalization of the province and the Order.
The assembly took place on the 17th and the 18th following the same format as that of the priors. The Prior General indicated that with the union of provinces they want to consolidate our presence in the United States, and stressed that it is up to us to assume the responsibilities to achieve it. Sergio Sanchez, prior provincial of San Nicolás de Tolentino, after explaining the importance of the life and mission project, summarized in three words what is necessary for the provincial chapter: communicate, get involved and commit.
The coordinators of the working committees appointed by the Commission, almost a year ago, presented their proposals. The contributions of the vocations, initial formation, apostolate, economy and spirituality teams and permanent formation will be taken into account when preparing the life and mission project for the United States. Some religious aired their views, but to determine whether the United States is going to be a vicarage or delegation corresponds to the provincial chapter. Another topic of special interest was the study presented on the monastery of Tagaste (Suffern, NY). Rafael Mediavilla, vicar of the province and member of the commission, underlined the role of communications in the province of San Nicolás.
The assembly concluded with some commitments: to convene community meetings to prepare for the provincial chapter, to support the vocation animation team, to convene a meeting to promote the retreats and the prayer workshops on Saint Augustine, to inform about the life of the province and the Order, share the news of the communities and collaborate with English translations.
Third meeting of the Commission
The Commission for the union of the two provinces met on the 19th and 20th to deal with the questions sent previously. After approving the minutes of the previous meeting and assessing the contributions of the working committees and the assembly, on this occasion, the task was focused on preparing the draft of the life and mission project of the province. This draft, before delivering it to the provincial chapter, will be sent to all the religious so that they can make their contributions.
The Commission for the union of provinces has assumed the functions of the precapitular commission. In agreement with the provincial councils, the Commission will present the revision of the provincial Directory. Finally, the road map to prepare the Provincial Chapter was finalized, which will begin on May 14, 2018.