March for Life. Fraters George Valdivia and José Arredondo joined a group of parishioners from Sacred Heart Parish in Suffern, NY, on January 22 to make the annual trip to Washington, D.C., to support the Right to Life March; the five-hour bus trip required them to leave before dawn. Assembling in front of the Federal Supreme Court along with many Protestant and Jewish pro-life groups, they read from the Scriptures, sang, and chanted in favor of the right to life of all individuals. Later in the day the Catholics went to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Mass. The students did not return to Tagaste until late in the evening. “It was a long day,” Frater José commented, “and we returned home very tired, but with great hope and joy for standing for life, for standing for Jesus Christ.”
Marking the Year of Consecrated Life. Fathers Michael Rafferty, John Gruben, and John Oldfield attended a celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life sponsored by the Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate on February 8 at St. Mary’s Villa in Sloatsburg, New York. The day consisted of Mass celebrated by Eastern-rite Bishop Paul Chomnycky of Stamford, Connecticut, lunch, a tour of the Villa, and various vocational testimonies given by the sisters.
The Tagaste Guild hosted its annual St. Patrick’s dinner dance fund raiser on March 7; about 120 people were in attendance. All enjoyed the traditional corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and soda bread; cookies, coffee, and tea for dessert. There was a 50/50 and there were several generous donations to the Guild fund. Joe Nappo, Tagaste DJ, provided the music. The day, as usual, was a financial success. That same day the community rejoiced “from a distance” with Deacon Jorge Mateos who was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Mexico City; he had been a member of the Tagaste formation community for some 9 years. Congratulations, Father Mateos!
The annual regional SAR day of recollection was once again hosted by Tagaste Monastery on March 14. Father Oldfield coordinated the day with the help of SAR president, Joseph Marsico. Fathers Gruben and Charles Huse gave presentations, respectively, on the Year of Consecrated Life, and on the importance of renewal and spiritual growth for the SAR vocation. Father Fredric Abiera led the Stations of the Cross; Father Oldfield celebrated the closing Mass and Father Rafferty gave the homily. Afterward a dinner along with the traditional blessing of the St. Joseph table was held in the Guild Hall. Some fifty SARs were present, representing the West Orange and Tagaste fraternities; they braved rainy but relatively mild weather to be present. The day opened with registration at 12:30 PM and concluded with dinner at 5:30 PM. On a sad note, former secretary for the community of West Orange and SAR member, Regina Zielinski, fell in the guild hall and broke her hip. She was taken immediately to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern where she underwent surgery the following day. Two days later she was transferred to a nursing home close to her son in Newton, New Jersey. Our prayers for Regina’s speedy recovery!
Father John Oldfield honored. The July-December, 2014 (LIX, 234-35) issue of Augustinus (AVGVSTINVS) was dedicated to Father Oldfield, who served as director of the Augustinian Recollect journal from 1997-2006. Father Enrique Eguiarte, OAR, the current director of Augustinus, wrote the dedicatory article in which he praised his predecessor and personal friend Father Oldfield, most especially for establishing stronger ties between the OAR journal and scholarly publications and academic institutions in the United States and England.
Easter Triduum. Father Oldfield was the main celebrant for Holy Thursday (April 2), assisted by Father Gruben and Frater Valdivia; he washed the feet of 12 “apostles” as part of the traditional ceremony. Following the Mass all processed into the fireplace room where a beautiful repository had been set up. A holy hour followed, directed by Frater Valdivia . . . For Good Friday, Father Gruben celebrated the English liturgy at 3:00PM, and Father Huse led the Spanish service at 8:00 PM, which included a dramatic presentation of the Passion performed by the young people of the Hispanic community . . . Father Rafferty was main celebrant for the Easter Vigil. There were five candidates whom he confirmed and three who made their First Communion.
Provincial Visit of Renewal. The community welcomed Father Provincial for the regular Visit of Renewal on April 6. The community found the visit very positive and encouraging. After the closing, the community, along with Fathers Provincial and Abiera, enjoyed a nice lunch at DaNina’s Restaurant in Suffern.
Divine Mercy Sunday. About 100 people including SAR and Guild members attended the annual gathering (now in its 15th year) for Divine Mercy devotions on April 12, coordinated by SAR member Marie DiNapoli. Father Rafferty gave an opening welcome and talk and then exposed the Blessed Sacrament; later he gave the Benediction and blessed images of the Divine Mercy. All community members assisted with Confessions. The day concluded with refreshments in the hall and a film about the life of St. Faustina Kowalska.
The 18th annual Golf Classic was sponsored by the Pius X Guild on May 13 at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern. The day began with lunch at the Spook Rock Chalet; about 120 golfers participated. The day was dry but cool and windy. A social hour was held from 6-7 PM and was followed by dinner; the community was in attendance. Father Rafferty gave the blessing and thanked the Golf Committee and all participants, and introduced the members of the community. There was a silent auction, door prizes and a 50/50. The event was once again a great financial success for the house.
Corpus Christi procession. Father Rafferty, assisted by Deacon Valdivia, presided at the 10:30 AM Mass for Corpus Christi, June 7. Following the Mass there was a procession around the grounds of Tagaste with the Blessed Sacrament; there were stops at four beautifully constructed and decorated altars. At each altar stop there was a Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and hymn. The weather was perfect and most certainly enhanced the mood of the celebration that animated the large crowd that was in attendance.
Sacrament of Holy Eucharist celebration. Twenty-six youngsters among the Hispanic community of Sacred Heart Parish in Suffern received First Holy Communion in the monastery on Saturday, May 30. Fr. Michael Rafferty, suffering a fever and laryngitis, welcomed the congregation to this holy occasion. Fr. Jack Oldfield, OAR, was the main celebrant, accompanied by Sacred Heart’s pastor, Monsignor Joseph Giandurco and the newly-ordained Deacon Jorge “George” Valdivia, OAR. Deacon George also gave a heartening homily aimed at the recipients and their parents to continue to come to the Table of The Lord. May God continue to abundantly bless these young people and their families!
Thirtieth Jubilee celebration of AR Sisters. The Tagaste community joined the Augustinian Recollect Sisters of Belvidere, New Jersey, on June 13 as they celebrated thirty years since the foundation of their community in the United States. The sisters had previously resided next to the provincial residence in West Orange, and then at St. Leo’s Parish in Irvington before moving to the large piece of property and buildings that they have occupied in Belvidere for the past six years. Following the concelebrated Mass the many guests at the Jubilee celebration enjoyed a bountiful meal of lechón, mole, taquitos and all the trimmings, including tres leches cake and flan, prepared by the sisters and enlivened by Mariachi music. Congratulations, Sisters!