A new dawn for the Augustinian-Recollect Secular Fraternities in the United States
After the General and Provincial Chapters, a renewed horizon has appeared for the secular fraternities especially with the formation of the coordinating team of the Order, which will accompany them with more dedication and closeness.
The starting point of this rebirth was the letter written with great affection and some direct interpellations that the Prior General Miguel Angel Hernandez addressed to the secular fraternities on the occasion of the feast of their patron saint, Magdalene of Nagasaki. In this time of renewal, the publication of the Fraternity Manual and the early Christmas gift written by the Augustinian Recollect, Teodoro Baztan, titled “Like a mustard seed” will be of great help for its organization and formation.
In rather extensive sessions, an ambitious schedule was proposed in each meeting with fraternity members. After a brief prayer and presentation of the attendees only some of the topics were discussed. Then the letter of the Prior General to the secular fraternities was read and commented and enough time was given to respond to all the questions.
Friar Sergio Sanchez briefly presented the content of the document "Joyful in hope", explaining its origin and scope, and also presented the formation program titled "Pilgrims" which should be already the main formation material being used in the fraternities already.
With the intention of organizing the life of the American Recollect fraternities, they also addressed issues of a more practical nature, such as the election of the heads of the local council of the fraternity and the frequency of their meetings. An official list must be made of all the brothers and sisters who have made their promises as lay Augustinian Recollects, including the deceased and those who are still living but are inactive for any reason. The official books should opened and be up to date especially those with the members’ list and the historical events. It is best they be actual books and not just a computer folder. To end the meeting, the printed material such as the Fraternity Manuals and the formation material both in English and Spanish were distributed.
In most of the meetings, a potluck was shared amongst the attendees.
This is how most of the members considered these meetings with Friar Sergio. The letter from the Prior General has greatly favored this response of wanting to continue the mission of the fraternities. Almost everyone recognized that, if they were already a little discouraged and forgotten, the pandemic made it even worse even for the most willful. It does not seem vain the illusion that we will witness an awakening of fraternities in the parishes in the United States, both in California, Florida, New Jersey and New York, as long as the attendees and the Coordinating Team keeps close and supportive to the different chapters through open channels of good communication while respecting the autonomy of each chapter.