Africa Continent is Focus of Augustinian Celebration

Nov 17, 2004 01:38 PM EST

The various Augustinian families have focused their great jubilee celebration on Africa, home of St Augustine. It is the wish of the Superiors that the Jubilee celebration will not be limited to mere celebrations.

"We are proposing that in any activity, there be some gesture or aspect that gives meaningful expression to our commitment to serving the poor," the leaders of Augustinian institutes said, "In this sense, we are suggesting that the African continent -home of St Augustine, currently experiencing oppressive conditions of poverty and disease- be the focus of some common action taken on by the Augustinian Families."

The Augustinians explain their reason for celebrating an Augustinian Jubilee, which spans three years, 2004, 2005, 2006: "Just as the entire Church celebrated in the year 2000 a Jubilee year, that is, a time of grace, joy and conversion, we invite all of our brothers and sisters in the Augustinian families to join with us in celebrating an Augustinian Jubilee centered upon three important events."

The year 2004 is the 1650th anniversary of the birth of St Augustine, (November 13, 354), while 2005 is the 700th anniversary of the death of St Nicholas of Tolentine, the first Augustinian saint who was canonized (September 10, 1305). The year 2006 will be the 750th anniversary of the Grand Union of the Order, brought about by the papal bull Licet Ecclesiae of Pope Alexander IV, (April 9, 1256).

"It is our hope and our prayer that the celebration of these events will unite us all in a spirit of joy, and that it will strengthen us in our faith, fill us with hope and renew our spirit of fraternal love, as we live out our commitment to serve God in our world," the Augustinians say.

In Africa, the Augustinians have a Province (Nigeria), and the Vicariate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They also have delegations in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, besides their presence in Algeria.

In the Archdiocese of Nairobi, Kenya, the Augustinians run the Sacred Heart Parish, Baba Dogo, which is host to the Eastern Deanery AIDS Programme.