“We assume these transversal lines of action for the decisions and activities of the quadrennium: vocations, youth, prevention of minors and social action”
We have celebrated the 128th Provincial Chapter. The capitular religious have come from all corners of the Province. It has been an enriching few days, where there has been time to share our intimacy with God, to live together, debate, dialogue, work, and all of this, to establish a new Project of life and mission that allows us to respond to what God, the Church and the world expect of us at this time.
A world that lives in the uncertainty of a war, immigrants who die looking for the hope of a better world, a convulsed economy that is hurting the most vulnerable, missionaries who give their lives to defend the values of the Gospel... In short, a world that He needs the good news of Jesus.
“The Chapter has to be a meeting of brothers in Christ and with Christ, because only from Christ do we receive the life and hope that we need to transmit and instill in the Province”. With these words of the prior general of the Order of Augustinian Recollects we began our Chapter.
He also indicated the three attitudes that should preside over our meetings: attitude of poverty, that is, knowing that we are in the hands of God and of our brothers; prayerful attitude, to be docile to the Spirit of the Lord; attitude of fraternal charity, because we are brothers who seek the best for our Family from the criteria of the Gospel.
He finished his words by pointing out the essential aspects that should be present in this Chapter: permanent formation, laity, mission, social work and protection of minors. Thus the 128th Chapter of the Province of San Nicolás de Tolentino was opened.
We have looked to the past to thank God for the 400 years of life lived in the Province by so many religious. Many of them missionaries, always on mission, who with the example of their dedication have been our greatest prophetic expression. God has always been great with us in the midst of our history and he has never stopped being our light in difficult times.
We want to live in the present to celebrate the union of the Provinces as a sign of life and to applaud the perseverance, testimony, dedication and generosity of so many religious who continue to live the values of the Kingdom within the Province and the Order with simplicity.
We want to underline the wisdom of many of our older religious, because they are helping us anonymously and silently to make our way, to build community and to highlight our charism as Augustinian Recollects.
Also in this present there are deficiencies and disenchantments. We are fewer, older, worried about the lack of vocations, nostalgic for ministries that we have left, sometimes hopeless and downcast, sometimes not very exemplary…
All of this has been taken as an opportunity to embody new values that give us life and revitalize us personally and as a community. For this reason, we assume four transversal lines of action that must be present in all our activities and decisions that we make in the Secretariats during this four-year period, namely: vocations, youth -JAR-, prevention of minors and social action through ARCORES.
We look to the future in communion with the General Chapter because we want to take on new challenges by walking together: the discernment of our presence, the formation of religious in their life processes, the co-responsibility of all in vocational promotion, communion with the laity and the protection of minors and vulnerable people.
Once the new challenges have been identified, the priorities are established: walk together to revitalize ourselves and promote our vocational proposal; walk together to take care of ourselves; and walk together with the laity.
We walk together because we really want to be “one soul and one heart directed towards God”. God unites us and the Kingdom of him. We want to revitalize ourselves by obeying God above all else, bearing witness to him with simplicity, austerity and evangelical habits, in such a way that we feel free to give ourselves with joy and hope to living our charism as Augustinian Recollects.
We design our Life and Mission Project by establishing objectives and setting lines of action, but always with the conviction that strength comes from above. Herein lies our strength. This is the source of our revitalization. If God is not the center of our personal and community life, the Province is reduced to a pure organization.
Everything we do as Augustinian Recollects needs the testimony of our evangelical and community life. Living like this we will be able to spread the taste for the Augustinian Recollect religious life and we will be credible in our vocational proposal.
We are firmly committed to the care, accompaniment and ongoing formation of religious. We ask that we personally and communally live it not as an ideal to which we must tend, but as a responsibility that we must exercise in all stages of our lives.
Caring for our elderly and sick humanizes and softens us as a community, as well as being one of our most urgent responsibilities. Accompanying and caring for the priors in the performance of their service makes life easier, calmer and more fraternal for all of us. But, equally, accompanying the formation of young religious and of those who are not so young, in short, of all, makes us feel that we are brothers, that we care about each other and that we take care of ourselves.
We need to grow in religious life knowing that we are loved by the hearts of a group of brothers who each day seek to broaden their formation to increase their personal and community commitment.
The bet we make for the laity is vital. We are not alone. We count on God and on so many faithful who are close to us. We want to share with the laity our charism and mission. We do it with conviction. We want to be together in listening. Together we walk and together we extend the Kingdom of God in our ministries. We want to be co-responsible with them in the task of evangelization.
May our father Saint Augustine continue to be our inspiration when it comes to walking together; May Saint Nicholas of Tolentine be the star that guides our steps; May God, in this four-year period that we now begin, take care of us, protect us, bless us and always have his gaze fixed on all of us; May Mary, Mother of Consolation, help us so that we always know how to say Yes to the plans that Jesus has for our lives.