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Augustinian Province of Santo Niño at 40

“Augustinian Province of Santo Niño at 40: Profoundly Sharing Lives in Community for the Service of the Church”

The Augustinian Friars of the Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu – Philippines celebrate with great joy the 40th anniversary of their juridical existence as a Province and with grateful hearts thank the Lord for this grace-filled period of religious witnessing to the Charism of the Order and of fruitful service to the Church in the Philippines and in other parts of the world.

During this fortieth year, the friars are asked to re-examine and look deeper into their being Augustinians bound to live, and witness to, the Charism of the Order, which is generally expressed as a life of profound prayer, in union with others in the community (religious or lay), and in service to the Church through diverse forms of apostolate.

It is only fitting that to mark this great event, celebrations that recall how the members of the Province responded with firm faith to the many challenges they encountered in living faithfully their consecrated and apostolic life as well as how they bravely and creatively undertook activities to manifest their love for the Augustinian way of life and their commitment to the evangelization work of the Church shall be held.

One of the reasons for the creation of the Santo Niño Province was the challenge of “enculturating” in the Philippine soil, by the native Augustinians, the Augustinian values and way of life.  Its coming into existence was the fruit of a collective desire by the pioneering members to enrich and further expand the contributions of the Augustinians to the planting and nurturing of the Augustinian spirit and values in the different arenas of their apostolate – mission centers, parishes, schools, spirituality institutes, formation houses, etc. – and to enhance the commitment of the members to the Church’s work of evangelization in the country and beyond.

Therefore, after forty years of existence, let the members of the Province renew their common vision and determination of having a “vibrant Augustinian presence” in the ever expanding number of the Province’s communities and residences, and in the ever widening area of missionary commitments that the Province has recently undertaken.  Let the members learn from the challenges met and difficulties encountered.  Let them deepen their faith in the abiding presence of the Lord as experienced by them in the past.  And most importantly, let them experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in properly discerning decisions to take and programs to implement to make their living the Augustinian way of life more intense, and their participation in the evangelizing task of the Church more productive.

Furthermore, for a more meaningful celebration of this great event, some other considerations that have impacted the Province’s psyche as a religious group could also be highlighted: the contributions to the planting of the Augustinian way of life in this part of the world by our missionary predecessors from Spain and Mexico, concretized by the still existing magnificent churches and convents, as well as religious practices and devotions; the generous support of our committed lay associates and partners in the work of Christian formation particularly in the field of social apostolate and education; and our continued collaboration with the local clergy in the work of evangelization primarily in remote mission areas both in the country and abroad.

Lastly, the Province which has inherited the missionary spirit of the first evangelizers of the land should continue and sustain its works of evangelization not only in the confines of the Philippine soil but even outside where the Augustinian Order and the Church are calling the friar members to serve.  After all, the universal call that the members of the Province share with all other Augustinians is that we contribute to the establishment of a global society, a City of God, where “oneness of minds and hearts on the way to God” is being experienced and nourished. This concept is in line too with the synodality thrust of the Church today in which all believers in the Lord are invited to be in communion with each other, and with the promptings of the Spirit discern, journey and carry out the identified missions in life together. 

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