End of the Summer. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, visited Tagaste Monastery on August 29, 2016, and celebrated a 10:30 AM Mass in the Tagaste chapel together with Fr. Provincial, Michael Rafferty, and Frs. John Gruben, Charles Huse, and John Oldfield. Also present were the presidents of the SAR fraternities of Tagaste, Mr. Joseph Marsico, and St. Cloud, Mr. Joseph Gruszczynski, and Ella Slivka. The Cardinal brought his very informal style to the liturgy, speaking about Sts. Augustine and Monica and asking about the other saints pictured in the stained glass windows, especially Ezekiel Moreno. After Mass all gathered for breakfast and a lively conversation about the Augustinian Recollects and their work in the US and around the world and well as prospective changes in the Order with the upcoming General Chapter.
Novena of Guadalupe. Fr. Fidel Hernández presided at the opening of the novena on December 3. The chapel was, as usual, beautifully decorated with a large image of Our Lady and statue of Juan Diego along with an abundance of roses. The rosary was recited each evening along with hymns honoring Mary as well as readings telling the story of the apparition at Tepeyac. After the services, refreshments were served in the hall along with costumed dances performed by the young people of the community. The Feast of Guadalupe (Dec. 12) began with the singing of Las Mañanitas at 5:15 AM with music provided by the Tagaste Hispanic choir and a mariachi group; an evening Mass was celebrated with Fr. Hernández presiding.
Annual Guild Communion Breakfast. Around 100 people attended the 9:30 AM bilingual Mass on December 11 celebrated by Fr. Provincial, Michael Rafferty, assisted by Frs. John Gruben, John Oldfield, and Fidel Hernández. Everyone then adjourned to the hall for the breakfast of bacon and eggs, sausage, rolls, and pastries, coffee and tea. Peggy Evans, President of the Pius X Guild, welcomed all and presented each of the friars with Christmas gifts. Door prizes were also distributed. The Guild has been a vital part of the life of Tagaste for over 50 years.
Christmas and its Vigil. Frs. Gruben and Hernández were busy with Christmas Eve Masses in the parishes as well as at home, where an 8:00 PM Vigil Mass was celebrated. The Mass was followed by the traditional devotion honoring the Infant Jesus and then by refreshments in the hall. After finishing the Masses on Christmas Day, Fr. Fidel left to begin vacation time with his family in California.
New Year 2017. After celebrating the Masses of New Year’s Eve/Day honoring Mary, Mother of God, Fr. Gruben, accompanied by Joe Marsico, former SAR president, joined Fr. Oldfield and the community at St. Joseph Villa in Sloatsburg, NY, for a New Year’s Day lunch. Many of the families of the residents along with Bishop Paul of Stamford, CT, Eastern Rite superior (Ukranian) of the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate were present for the occasion. As usual, the Sisters put on a worthy feast.
On the Solemnity of the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 8 in the Archdiocese of New York, the Magi, Mary and Joseph, and several angels joined the procession for the 10:30 Mass and with much splendor, worshiped the new born Jesus in traditional fashion. The “three kings” presented their special gifts at the time of the Offertory . . . That afternoon, some twenty-five SAR members and their families gathered in the fireplace room at 1:00 PM for a truly delicious pot luck lunch featuring lasagna, baked ziti, egg plant parmigiana, sausages and peppers, chicken, ham, and many other items together with an abundance of desserts. The meal began with a procession to the chapel, a reading of the Epiphany story, and a return to the dining room with the signing of “We Three Kings” and a number of other Christmas carols. After lunch there was a grab bag and a sharing of Christmas stories among the members. Frs. Gruben and Theresa Giampaglia, the newly- elected Sar president of the Tagaste Chapter, thanked all of our SAR members for being part of our community life and encouraged recruiting of new members.