In a letter sent to all members of the Order of Saint Augustine last October 8, 2021, the Prior General, Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton, OSA, announced the creation of a commission that will work in the participation of the Order in the coming Synod of Bishops 2021-2023.
It was on May 21, 2021 that Pope Francis announced the convocation of a Synod of Bishops. The theme of the Synod that begins with a synodal process is “For a synodal Church: Communion, participation, and mission.” It will convene in Rome in the fall of 2023. Pope Francis invites the whole Church to question itself on synodality: a decisive theme for the life and mission of the Church.
The Synod is a two-year journey that begins with a synodal process of consultation inviting the whole church to participate and reflect based on the theme starting October 9 to 10, 2021. The consultation is considered as the first phase of the Synod 2021-2023.
To prepare the Order’s response in this Synod, Prior General Alejandro created an 8-member commission. They are comprised of four Augustinian priests, Fr. Enrique Martin Sanz, (Coordinator, Spain), Fr. Nolasco Msemwa, (Tanzania, Vice-Coordinator), Fr. Juan Francisco Costanzo (Chile), and Fr. Victor Gonzaga (Philippines); two Augustinian sisters, Sr. Fulvia Sieni (Italy) and Sr. Maria de la Eucharistia Figueroa Serra (Spain); and, 2 laities, Dr. Enilka Hernandez (Dominican Republic) and Dr. Joseph T. Kelley (United States of America).
Fr. Moral Anton raises the following questions to guide the commission and the Augustinians in support of the historical synod. “How does this “walking together” take place today within the Order (friars, nuns, laity)? How do we live our participation in the Church, both local and universal? How do we enrich the ecclesial reality with our charism, and how are enriched in walking together with other charisms and vocations? What steps should we take to grow as a synodal Church? What does the Spirit ask of us today, what does the Spirit urge us to do?”
The Augustinians are invited to actively participate in the itinerary proposed by the Secretariat of the Synod, where the Order is fortunate to have a brother, Bishop Luis Marin de San Martin, directly involved as one of the undersecretaries.
Fr. Moral Anton also expresses his gratitude to the brothers and sisters for their availability and seeks the members of the Order for collaboration.
Moreover, the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu is also thankful to Fr. Victor Gonzaga, OSA for his availability at the invitation of the Prior General. Fr. Gonzaga is currently assigned as the Prior of the Colegio San Agustin – Mati Community in Davao Oriental.
Read the letter of the Prior General in this link: LETTER TO THE ORDER ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE SYNOD 2021-2023
What is a synod?
In the document “Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church,” the International Theological Commission (ITC) explains that “’synod’” is an ancient and venerable word in the tradition of the Church … Composed of a preposition συν (with) and the noun όδός (path), it indicates the path along which the People of God walk together.”
Synodality is a term that means “walking together,” based on its Greek roots. Its more frequent use in recent decades, according to the ITC, “is a sign of something new that has been maturing in the ecclesial consciousness starting from the magisterium of Vatican II, and from the lived experience of local Churches and the universal Church since the last council until today, and one that ‘needs careful theological clarification.’”
Synod/Council. “Since the first centuries,” the ITC says, “the word ‘synod’ has been applied, with a specific meaning, to the ecclesial assemblies convoked on various levels (diocesan, provincial, regional, patriarchal or universal) to discern, by the light of the Word of God and listening to the Holy Spirit, the doctrinal, liturgical, canonical and pastoral questions that arise as time goes by.