186th Ordinary General Chapter of the Order of Saint Augustine
186th ORDINARY GENERAL CHAPTER OF THE ORDER OF SAINT AUGUSTINE
On 1 September 2019 at the Basilica of Saint Augustine in Campo Marzio, Rome, Italy, the 186th Ordinary General Chapter of the Order was officially opened with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton, OSA together with all the chapter delegates from around the Augustinian world. As the immediate past prior general of the Order, Chiclayo (Peru) Bishop, Most Rev. Robert F. Prevost, OSA, DD also attended the general chapter.
Definitors from the Province
Aside from the Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA, who attended the general chapter as an ex officio delegate, two other friars were elected to represent the Province at the general chapter. They were: Frs. Eusebio B. Berdon, OSA and Rommel D. Par, OSA who were both former assistants general of the Order. Berdon served for two consecutive terms from 1995 to 2007 while Par served from 2007 to 2013. Other Filipino friars in the general chapter were Fr. Peter A. Casiño, OSA from the Vicariate of the Orient and Fr. Richie P. Mercado, OSA from the Province of Chicago.
Re-election of Fr. Moral as Prior General
On the 9th day of the chapter, Fr. Moral Anton was re-elected Prior General after garnering 61 votes (out of possible 79 votes). After he accepted the re-election, the chapter delegates gathered at the Chapel of Santa Monica International College to congratulate him.
The Prior General Fr. Alejandro Moral Antón was born in La Vid (Burgos), Spain, on June 1, 1955. He entered the novitiate of the Augustinian Province of Spain in 1972 and professed his religious vows on September 12, 1973. Following studies in La Vid and Madrid, he continued his academic preparation at the Collegio Internazionale S. Monica in Rome, and made his Solemn Profession in September 7, 1980. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1981.
Father Alejandro served his Province at various times as librarian, bursar, director of formation, and Provincial counselor. In 1995, at the age of 40, he was elected Prior Provincial and served in this capacity until his election as Vicar General of the Order in 2001. From that time until his election as Prior General he has been a member of the Order’s General Curia and has held various responsibilities: as President for the Commission charged with the revision of the Constitutions, President of the Economic Commission, and President of the Order’s Secretariat for Justice and Peace; from 2004 until the present he has served as Procurator General of the Order and since 2009 has been Assistant to one of the two Federations of Augustinian Contemplative Nuns in Spain. Father Alejandro has also worked extensively with the Order’s international commissions of Laity, Education, Finances and Spirituality.
New Assistant Generals and other General Curia Officials
On the 11th day of the Chapter, the following friars were elected (or re-elected) as:
Vicar General: Fr. Joseph L. Farrell, OSA (Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova – USA)
Fr. Anthony N. Banks, OSA (Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel – Australia)
Fr. Luis Marin de San Martin, OSA (Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of Madrid – Spain)
Fr. Edward Daniang Daleng, OSA (Province of Saint Augustine – Nigeria)
Fr. Paul Graham, OSA (Province of Saint John Stone – England and Scotland)
Fr. Alexander Lam Alania, OSA (Province of Our Lady of Grace – Peru)
Procurator General: Fr. Edward Daniang Daleng, OSA
Treasurer General: Fr. Franz Klein, OSA (Province of the Holy Guardian Angels – Germany)
Secretary General: Fr. Pasquale di Lernia, OSA (Province of Saints Nicholas of Tolentino and Rita of Cascia – Italy)
Audience with the Holy Father
On the 13th day of the chapter, the delegates were received by the Holy Father at the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace. The Prior General gave the opening address after which the Holy Father delivered his prepared speech. Pope Francis appreciated the way the Augustinians live their charity in community life and urged the chapter delegates “to live in your communities in such a way as to have the experience of God together, and to be able to show him, living, to the world!”
Visit to Augustinian Places
The chapter delegates also visited some places closely associated with the Augustinians in Italy such as the Marian Sanctuary of Our Mother of Good Counsel in Genazzano, the Basilica of the Holy Spirit in Florence, the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Tolentino and the Monastery and Church of Saint Clare in Montefalco.
Chapter Reports and Decisions
All the Order’s major superiors (Priors Provincial, Regional Vicars, Delegate Superiors) were asked to send their respective reports in advance so that the Secretariat may translate the reports in the Order’s three most used languages: Italian, Spanish and English. The reports were concentrated on the implementation of the program of the 2013 Ordinary General Chapter and of the 2016 Intermediate General Chapter. It also includes a brief overview of the circumscriptions plus the principal aspirations, projects, plans and problems encountered. The themes of Community Life, Vocations, Initial and Ongoing Formation, Communion of Goods and Economy were also part of the reports of the major superiors. The Prior General also gave a kind of a “State of the Order” report, the Assistant General and other General Curia officials also delivered their respective reports. Presented for discussion in plenum and in small groups were the revised and updated Ratio Institutionis (Plan of Augustinian Formation), themes affecting the structure of the Order, mission, vocations and other issues important to the life and growth of the Order. On the last day of the Chapter, the delegates voted on the proposals submitted and discussed. Probably the most important for the Filipino Augustinians is the approval for the creation of another Augustinian Province in the country: the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines with its seat in Manila. The former Vicariate of the Orient, one of the many circumscriptions dependent on the Mother Province will take its juridical identity so as to continue its evangelizing mission in the East in many more years to come.
Conclusion of the Chapter
The Prior General, Fr. Moral Anton presided at the Chapter’s Closing Mass on the morning of September 16 stressing in his homily the importance of living the Augustinian religious identity on both personal and communal levels. During the said Eucharist, the other General Curia Officials (Assistants General, Secretary General, Procurator General and Treasurer General) were confirmed to their new assignments by the Prior General. The new Secretary General, Fr. Pasquale di Lernia, read the Official Acts of the Chapter which were approved unanimously by the delegates. Finally, the Acts of the 186th Ordinary General Chapter was signed by all the chapter delegates, which marked the closing of the Chapter.