Ministry of Reader. Fras. George Valdivia and José Arredondo joined 15 other candidates to receive the Ministry of Reader at Redemptoris Mater, the seminary for the Neo-Catechumenal Way in Kearney, New Jersey, on February 23. Archbishop Bernard Hebda, new coadjutor of the Newark Archdiocese, presided at the Mass and the installation of Readers; Frs. Michael Rafferty, local prior, John Gruben, vice prior, and Felix Daganta, prefect of students, concelebrated along with many other diocesan and religious priests. After the ceremony all enjoyed light refreshments in the dining room of the seminary.
Ministry of Reader (l to r): Frs. John Gruben, OAR, Felizardo Daganta, OAR, and Michael Rafferty, OAR (back), Fras José Arredondo, OAR and Jorge Valdivia, OAR, with Archbishop Bernard Hebda, coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, February 23, Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
St. Patrick’s Dinner Dance, 2014. The Pius X Guild sponsored its annual St. Patrick’s Dinner Dance on the evening of March 8 in the Tagaste Guild Hall; there were some 140 people in attendance. Traditional Irish-American fare was prepared by the Celtic Kitchen of New Milford, New Jersey. Guild president Peggy Evans coordinated the evening. There was a grand cake to celebrate the March birthdays of Fr. Charles Huse, as well as (in absentia) Br. Joseph Joly, and guild member Antoinette Martucci. Music was provided by the house “music man,” Mr. Joseph Nappo.
Vocational Retreat. The Tagaste community hosted a vocational retreat weekend for four candidates who have 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. Retreatants joined the community for common prayer, meals, and recreation. Presentations were given by Fr. John Oldfield on the “Charism of the Order,” and by Fr. John Gruben on the “Constitutions and the Liturgy of the Hours.” Fr. Michael gave a personal testimony and conducted individual interviews along with Fr. Felix Daganta. 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 joined the community for dinner on Friday evening, and Fr. Joseph Gallardo, 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.
Tagaste Vocational Retreat (1 to r): Frs. John Gruben, OAR, Michael Rafferty, OAR, Felizardo Daganta, OAR, and John Oldfield, OAR, with retreatants, March 28-30, 2014.
Admission to Postulancy/Novitiate. Fr. Provincial, Joseph Gallardo, formally admitted Andrés Lopez to the postulancy in an evening prayer service at St. Cloud Monastery on April 3. Afterward Fr. Provincial treated the members of the Tagaste and West Orange communities to a wonderful dinner. On April 14, he admitted postulant Andrés to the novitiate for 2014-15.
Father Provincial, Joseph J. Gallardo, OAR (c), assisted by Frs. Michael Rafferty, OAR, and Felizardo Daganta, OAR, admit Andrés Lopez (l) to the postulancy at St. Cloud Monastery, West Orange, New Jersey, on April 3.
SAR Regional Day of Recollection. Tagaste hosted the annual Eastern regional day of recollection for the Secular Augustinian Recollects on April 6. Forty SARs from the Tagaste and West Orange chapters attended the day, which was coordinated by Fr. John Oldfield, local spiritual director. Fr. John Gruben gave the first talk on “St. Augustine and Penance,” and Fr. Oldfield, the second talk on “Augustine and Prayer.” Fr. Fredric Abiera led the outdoor Stations of the Cross. Fr. Michael Rafferty presided at the closing liturgy, which was the Palm Sunday vigil Mass and included the reading of the Passion Narrative. An Italian dinner followed the Mass and included a traditional St. Joseph Table with a selection of delectable pastries.
Holy Week Ceremonies. Outdoor Palm Sunday processions were held at the 9:00 AM (English) and 10:30 AM (Spanish) Masses. Fr. Felix Daganta presided at the Holy Thursday Liturgy (bilingual) including the washing of the feet of twelve young people. After the Mass, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament moved from the chapel to the Guild Hall where Eucharistic Adoration was held until midnight. Fr. John Gruben presided at the Good Friday 3:00 PM liturgy (English) and Fr. Charles Huse at the 7:00 PM liturgy (Spanish). Outdoor Stations of the Cross at noon (bilingual) was led by Dn. Jorge Mateos with novice-candidate Andrés Lopez serving as cross bearer. Fr. Michael Rafferty, assisted by Fr. Felix Daganta, presided at the Easter Vigil service, which included Confirmation of 8 candidates and 2 who received First Communion.
Divine Mercy. Tagaste once again hosted Divine Mercy Sunday devotions for Sacred Heart Parish on April 27; some 100 parishioners were in attendance. Fr. Michael Rafferty offered words of welcome and a fitting reading of a Divine Mercy homily of Pope John Paul II who, on this very day, was canonized along with St. John XXIII. He then exposed the Blessed Sacrament from 2 to 5 PM when Benediction was celebrated. Marie Di Napoli, a professed SAR member, coordinated the day’s activities. There was time for confessions, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, and a film about the life of St. Faustina.
Annual Golf Outing. The Pius X Guild sponsored its 17th annual Golf Outing at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern on May 14. One hundred and twenty-eight golfers participated in the event and enjoyed perfect weather on the green. Rita Gannon once again chaired the event (as she has done for the last 15 years) with the able help of committee members Greg Hayden, Carmine Caponigro, Mike Poole, and Ian Raywid. The day began at noon with a buffet lunch followed by 18 holes of golf. There was a social hour at 6:00 PM followed by dinner, coffee, and dessert. Greg Hayden acted as master of ceremonies, and Fr. John Gruben offered words of welcome and blessed the table. There was a raffle, silent auction, and 50/50, and prizes for best male and female golfer. The event netted about $19,000 for the province educational fund; Deacon Jorge Mateos, representing the Tagaste students, was once again honored as recipient of the scholarship. Special mention was made of the late Dr. John Arrigo who first promoted and always supported the outing. It was a wonderful day, enjoyed by all, and before the evening was over, many of the golfers expressed their readiness to do it all again next year.
Golf committee with community members at 17th annual Tagaste Gofl Outing (l to r): Fr. John Oldfield, OAR, Rita Gannon, Bro. Joseph Joly, OAR, Melissa Hayden, Ian Raywid, Greg Hayden, Fr. John Gruben, OAR, Gene McGullycuddy, and Fr. Charles Huse, OAR.
In Memoriam. The community wished fond farewells to two long-time friends of Tagaste: Margaret Costello (74), who died on May 19; and Antoinette Martucci (86), who died on May 29. Margaret served Tagaste as librarian and bookkeeper for many years; Antoinette (“Toni”) was a long time guild member. Both were professed members of the Tagaste SAR fraternity. They will be remembered for their many kindnesses to the community and their active and enthusiastic participation in the life of the house.
Fr. John Gruben, OAR
Graduation. May 14, 2014, was a very significant and extraordinary day for Deacon Jorge Mateos, OAR. On that day, Deacon Jorge graduated from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University, located in South Orange, New Jersey. He is now a joyful recipient of a Master of Divinity degree, having recently completed the academic curriculum required for ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Deacon Jorge, accompanied by Tagaste Monastery’s prior, Father Michael Rafferty, OAR, and prefect of students, Fr. Felizardo “Felix” Daganta, OAR, gathered in the early evening for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist honoring the new graduates, in Seton Hall’s stunning Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
Monsignor Joseph Reilly, rector/dean of Immaculate Conception Seminary, was the principal celebrant of the Mass. His concelebrants included a dozen seminary professors and several other seminary alumni. Following the Mass, the graduates, professors, and guests gathered in the university’s Jubilee Hall for the giving out of diplomas and awards ceremony.
A delectable buffet of light hors d’oeuvres and chilled beverages followed the ceremonies on the upper floor of Jubilee Hall. Deacon Jorge and Fathers Michael and Felix mingled with the fellow graduates and their professors and families for quite a while but intentionally went easy on the snacking, because the three religious, as they were heading back to the monastery, stopped to dine at a fine restaurant to rejoice in this wonderful milestone for Deacon Jorge.
The Tagaste community is very proud of Deacon Jorge. He will soon embark on a roughly six-month long diaconal ministry experience preceding priestly ordination.
Congratulations to our brother Jorge Mateos! May the Lord continue to bring you abundant blessings!
Fr. Michael Rafferty, OAR