The Tagaste community, Tagaste Monastery, Suffern, New York, serves as the house of formation and major seminary for the Province of Saint Augustine, hosted a vocational retreat weekend for four candidates who had expressed interest in the Augustinian Recollects, March 28-30. The four young men, who hailed from places as close as the neighboring town of Spring Valley, New York, and as far away as Miami, Florida, arrived on the evening of March 27. The retreat opened the following morning with words of welcome from Fr. Michael Rafferty, OAR, the local prior. Retreatants joined the community for common prayer, meals, and recreation. Presentations were given by Fr. John Oldfield, OAR, on the “Charism of the Order,” and by Fr. John Gruben, OAR, on the “Constitutions and the Liturgy of the Hours.” Fr. Michael gave a personal testimony and conducted individual interviews along with Fr. Felix Daganta, OAR. The professed students also shared their vocation stories with the retreatants. Over the weekend the community along with the retreatants enjoyed a new movie on the life of Pope Francis, followed by a lively discussion. Fr. Fredric Abiera, OAR, joined the community for dinner on Friday evening, and Fr. Joseph Gallardo, OAR, Prior Provincial, was present for Evening Prayer and dinner on Saturday. The retreatants also participated in Lenten Stations of the Cross, Sunday Liturgy, and a Holy Hour with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament conducted by Frs. Michael and Felix that brought the retreat to a close. After a final lunch together the retreatants departed. Fr. Michael contacted each of the retreatants after they returned home and found that all had enjoyed their weekend at the Monastery and the experience of Augustinian Recollect community life.
Father Michael Rafferty, OAR, prior of Tagaste Monastery, and Father Felizardo Daganta, OAR, prefect of students, with the vocation retreatants.