General Chapter highlights: October 5-8, 2016
The day opened with the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. The celebration of the Eucharist that followed was presided by Fray Sergio Sánchez, Prior Provincial of the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Province. His homily touched on the necessity to renew our way of praying.
At the Chapter hall, the first session started with the reminder about the composition of the various Working Committees in the service of the ongoing Chapter:
- Redaction of the Message of the 55th General Chapter: Frays Sergio Sánchez, Uriel Patiño, Raúl Buhay, and Alfredo Sánchez.
- Liturgy: Frays José María Sánchez, José David Niño, Marlon Beof, and Wesley Silva.
- Messages & Greetings: Frays Samson Silloríquez, Gabriel Robles, and Sérgio Peres.
- Communications: Frays Lauro Larlar, Ademir Garcia, Enrique Gómez, Francisco Javier Acero & Antonio Carrón.
- Entertainment and Chapter Sala: Frays José Ramón Pérez, Jairo Gordillo, and Francisco Javier Jiménez.
Then, messages and greetings received the previous days were read. The Capitulars were grateful to all those who were following the Chapter proceedings.
With the elements of information and deliberation firing up the morning session, the topic zeroed in on Charismatic Identity and Spirituality about which the President of the General Secretariat of Spirituality also talked about. The discussions that ensued centered on fraternal life, poverty, CEAR (Centros de Espiritualidad Agustino-Recoleta), the necessity of forming religious in the service of priorship, etc. Other points of interest that sprouted included: some more efficacious structures in the Order, newer configuration of the secretariats, better care for internal communication system, greater presence in the companioning of religious, greater knowledge in the programs of the Order, etc.
The afternoon session, with its deliberative character, dealt with the assessment of the ordinances of the previous General Chapter and the respective proposals of the Instrumentum laboris elaborated by the Pre-Capitular Commission.
The holy mass in honor of Ven. Alphonse Gallegos was presided by Fray John Michael Rafferty, Prior Provincial of the St. Augustine Province. In his homily, the vicepostulator of Bp. Gallegos’ cause, Fray Eliseo González López OAR, presented the figure of Monseñor Gallegos.
Obviously, the day saw the Capitulars paying tribute to this Augustinian Recollect bishop whose 25th death anniversary (1991-2016) fell on this day. Bp. Gallegos was declared Servant of God last June 5, 2006 and recently, on July 8, 2016, was declared Venerable by Pope Francis after recognizing his heroic virtues.
Fray Samson Silloríquez OAR, postulator of the cause of Bp. Gallegos, presented the Decree of Heroic Virtues which declares the bishop as Venerable. During the morning mass, Fray Samson read—for more than ten minutes—the said Decree which he had earlier given to the Prior General.
Ven. Gallegos was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) in 1931 in a big and deeply religious family. He suffered from acute myopia that continually ran the risk of his total blindness. He became a religious in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1958. He was assigned to different minsitries in the United States: as hospital chaplain, Master of Novices, parish priest of the San Miguel Church in the Watts section of Los Angeles, CA. He was ordained bishop of Sacramento in 1981 and died in a car accident in 1991.
Morning Session. Reading of the messages and greetings. Voting of the Ordo Capituli. Correction and approval of the previous Acts of the Chapter. Also the approval of the composition of the 5 Commissions:
- Commission on Charismatic Identity and Service of Governance
- Commission on Youth and Vocations
- Commission on Formation
- Commission on Apostolate
- Commission on Restructuring
Each of these commissions will take charge of framing proposals which will later comprise the Life and Mission Project (LAMP) of the Order.
The rest of the morning was spent through rich exchange of ideas revolving around the culture of vocation.
Afternoon Session. The different groups (not the commissions) started to work on the revision of the Vision and Mission of the Order, indicating a motto and considering keys of restructuring.
At the conclusion of the day, just before night rest, Fray Enrique Eguiarte guided the Capitulars to a workshop on prayer with St. Augustine from the text of the prologue of the Gospel of John.
Feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. After the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, the holy mass followed with Fray Albeiro Arenas, Prior Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of Candles (Candelaria) as presider. Fray José Uriel Patiño, a religious of the same Province, gave the homily which recalled the historical origin of the Marian invocation and the need to imitate the Blessed Mother in our lives.
Morning Session. Approval of the Acts. Reading of the new messages and greetings coming from different parts of the globe. With thankful response, the Capitulars applauded.
Shortly after, the Chapter President, Fray Miguel Miró, announced the composition of the different Commissions that will be working together to formulate the Life and Mission Project of the Order and to make proposals for restructuring. The 40 Capitulars were distributed thus:
CHARISMATIC IDENTITY & SERVICE OF GOVERNANCE
– Fr. Pablo Panedas
– Fr. Pedro Merino
– Fr. Nicolás Pérez-Aradros
– Fr. Ángel Martínez Cuesta
– Fr. Lauro Larlar
– Fr. Sergio Sánchez
– Fr. Simón Puertas
– Fr. Jairo Gordillo
– Fr. Samson Silloríquez
– Fr. José María Aguerri
– Fr. Julio Amezua
– Fr. Manuel Beaumont
– Fr. Raúl Buhay
– Fr. Eliseo González
– Fr. Enrique Gómez
– Fr. Marlos Beof
YOUTH & VOCATIONS
– Fr. José María Sánchez
– Fr. José David Niño
– Fr. Javier Acero
– Fr. Julius Marcos
– Fr. Sebastián Ibañez
– Fr. Alfonso M. Lázaro
– Fr. Javier Tello
– Fr. José Ramón Pérez
– Fr. Alfredo Sánchez
– Fr. Miguel Ángel Hernández
– Fr. Wesley Silva Rosa
– Fr. Rafael Mediavilla
– Fr. Javier Desiderio Guerra Ayala
– Fr. Ademir Garcia
– Fr. Uriel Patiño
– Fr. Miguel Miró
– Fr. Daniel Ayala
– Fr. Gabriel Robles
– Fr. Francisco Javier Jiménez
– Fr. John Michael Rafferty
– Fr. Sérgio Peres
– Fr. Carlos María Domínguez
– Fr. Dionisio Selma
– Fr. Albeiro Arenas
The discussions on the culture of vocation and the youth ministry (“la cultura vocacional y la pastoral juvenil”) were closed, giving way to the main topic of the day: initial and permanent formation. Fray Alfredo Sánchez talked about the Augustinian Recollect Formation Itinerary (ARFI) or, in Spanish, IFAR (Itinerario Formativo Agustino Recoleto).
Afternoon Session. Continuation of the discussion on formation, treating, among others, the issues on formation houses, on companioning in different stages of religious life, etc.
Special commemoration of all the religious who passed away during the last sexennium. The holy mass was presided by Fray Daniel Ayala, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph. In his homily, he spoke about death from the Christian standpoint: not as the end of something but as the door of hope which is opened for the definitive encounter with God.
Morning Session. The usual reading of the messages and greetings, and the usual response of joy and thundering applause.
The plenary assembly listened to the consolidated output produced by the groups regarding vision, mission, motto, and criteria for restructuring the Order. The purpose was to know and critique the options arrived at by those groups in order to draw out concrete paths to consider. The criteria for restructuring, by order of priority, will be referred to the Commission on Restructuring.
Then, the information and deliberation phase zoomed in on the next topic: service of governance.
Afternoon Session.The Capitulars took the opportunity of being able to assist at the Marian Vigil of Prayer together with the Holy Father at the St. Peter Square. Delegations from different Marian Shrines all over the world came over and were present during the Marian liturgy such as the praying of the holy rosary. Towards the end, the Pope directed some words to thousands of people who congregated at the piazza to remind them that praying the rosary facilitates the encounter with Christ in their daily lives: to contemplate the mysteries of His life is to make it present in ours.