On Friday, November 20, 2015 after some weeks of serious decline in health, Fr. Michael Wernicke OSA passed away in our Monastery St. Augustine in Würburg, Germany. All who knew Fr. Michael acknowledge his gentle character and his profound knowledge of the history of the Order. For many of us he is remembered as a good brother and friend. He was a student of St. Monica, Rome, who, after initial studies, pursued a PhD in Church History at the University of Bonn. Fr. Michael served the Province of Germany in various roles. In 1977 he was elected Assistant General during the second term of Prior General, Fr. Theodore Tack. Six years later he served a second time as Vicar General under Prior General Martin Nolan. All of us who knew him will remember his special style of presenting the history of the Order. He always knew a little anecdote or some small story about the ordinary human lives of any historical situation he was discussing, which made his presentations very colorful. It was a pleasure to follow him!
Let us pray for our brother Michael and ask him to pray for us.
Present on the congress in Cebu, Philippines, are 58 participants from every Continent. The participants also include Augustinian Recollects, Augustinians of the Assumption, Augustinian Sisters of La Consolacion, Augustinian Sisters of Divine Mercy, Agostinas Misioneras, and Oblates of the Recollects and of the Assumption. This conference is being held in association with a meeting of 600 Augustinian youth from Asia. The work of the conference will be reproduced in written form in the middle of next year.
On 9-11 November 2015, 6 newly elected major superiors of the Order met in Rome with the Prior General and the General Council of the Order. The 6 major superiors are: Ki-Hoon Salesio Lee, the Superior of the Delegation of Korea; Shiju Varghese Kallarakkal, the Superior of the Delegation of India; Kevin Mullins, the Provincial of the Province of California; Antonio Lazan Pun Lay, the Superior of the Vicariate of Iquitos, Peru; Jose Guillermo Medina, the Superior of the Vicariate of Argentina-Uruguay; Pedro Casiño Acevedo, the Superior of the Vicariate of the Orient, Philippines.
These meetings provide all the friars with the opportunity to share information, concerns, challenges, as well as the many good works that are being accomplished in these circumscriptions. As Alejandro Moral Antón, the Prior General, shared with the group, all of those in the Order who are called to the ministry of leadership are called primarily to a ministry of service and to a ministry of building up community life, fraternity and enthusiasm for service to the Church and to the World. As all of the members of the Order face the challenges that they meet in their own local circumscriptions, they also can celebrate the many good works being accomplished around the world by our brothers and sisters.
On 30-31 October at the Royal College University, Maria Cristina, at the Escorial in Spain our Spanish friars celebrated an Assembly, which inaugurated the Federation of the Augustinian Provinces of Spain. Fr. Luis Marin de San Martin, the Assistant General for Southern Europe, presided at the meeting. The Federation has as its goal the renewal of Augustinian religious life in Spain and the creation of one single province in the near future. Currently, there are four provinces in Spain.
The Assembly, which consisted of representatives from the four provinces, elected Fr. Domingo Amigo Gonzalez as President of the Federation and made some minor revisions to the Statutes, along with setting up the criteria for restructuring the presence of the Order and setting up the program for renewal. The Council of the Federation, which will work with the President, has as its members the four current provincials. The assembly also elected as the Federation secretary, Fr. Carlos Alonso Garcia and as the Federation treasurer, Fr. Victor Fernandez Santos.
The General Assembly of the Augustinian Delegation of Kenya has taken place from the 21st to 23rd October 2015. The Assembly commenced with the Holy Eucharist presided over by the Assistant General, Fr. Edward Daleng who represented the Prior General. In his homily, the Assistant General called on all the brothers of the Delegation to live according to the example and teaching of our Holy Father St. Augustine in the continuous search for God through communion for the service of the Church. Self- interest, ambition, cliques and ethnic grouping should be desisted from in order to support the new Delegate Superior and work together for the growth of the Order in Kenya.
At the opening session of the Assembly, the message of the Prior General was read to the hearing of all. In his message, the Prior General appealed to the brothers to rise up to the challenges of leadership and followership now that a Kenyan, Fr. Robert Karanja Ireri, is appointed the Delegate Superior. He thanked the Irish Augustinian Province for their generosity and missionary spirit in setting up an Augustinian presence in this part of Africa. Thus, he reiterated that brothers should live in greater unity in the community: TO LIVE FRATERNITY IN CHARITY. In addition, the Assistant General tasked brothers to promote interiority, reconciliation and accountability as essentials to living genuine community life.
The outgoing Delegate Superior Fr. David FitzGerald handed over the Seal of office as his mandate expired. Subsequently, the Seal was given to the new Delegate Superior Fr. Robert Karanja Ireri. In his speech, the new Delegate Superior thanked the Prior General and his Council for the trust placed on him as the Delegate Superior. He solicits the cooperation of all the brothers of the Delegation; he promises to serve with commitment and to foster unity among brothers for the growth of the Delegation. The Delegation Council, besides the Delegate Superior, is now composed of Councilors: Frs. Augustine Jumah and Joseph Oduor; secretary: Peter Emoit Imatari; and bursar: Julius Ambrose.
In Santiago, Chile, from 21 to 25 September of 2015, the friars of the Province of Chile celebrated their Ordinary Provincial Chapter in the Convento Nuestra Señora de Gracia. At the opening ceremony of the Chapter, the document from the Prior General, Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón, appointing Fr. Patricio Villalba, the Assistant General for Latin America, as the President of the Chapter was read. After having read the names of those who were to take part in the Chapter, the members proceeded to the election of the various officials of the Chapter.
During the opening celebration of the Eucharist, presided over by Fr. Patricio Villalba, the re- election of Fr. Enrique Catalan as Prior Provincial was confirmed. Then, in the following session, the Counselors of the Province as well as the Provincial Secretary and Provincial Treasurer were elected. After the elections, the work of the Chapter continued with the work of reading and voting on the chapters and articles of the new Statutes of the Province. Then these chapters and articles were voted on by the assembly of the friars and the results of the voting was made known and the new Provincial Statutes were confirmed by the assembly.
We express our congratulations to:
We pray for: