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Our Lady of Lourdes


Tagaste Monastery, Suffern, New York PDF Print E-mail
Written by augustinian recollects   
Monday, 08 May 2017 13:55

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.

Visit of Cardinal Timothy Dolan to Tagaste (l to r): Mr. Joseph Gruszczynski, Frs. John Oldfield and Michael Rafferty, Cardinal Dolan, Frs. Charles Huse and John Gruben, and Mr. Joseph Marsico, August 29, 2016.

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.

Guadalupe Novena: Fr. Fidel Hernández with “Los Viejitos” dancers.

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.

Guild Communion Breakfast (l to r): Peggy Evans (Guild President) and Frs. John Gruben, Michael Rafferty, and Fidel Hernández, December 11, 2016.

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 presided by Fr. John Gruben, 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 singing 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, new SAR president, thanked all of our SAR members for being part of our community life and encouraged recruiting of new members.

The Guild sponsored its annual St. Patrick’s dinner dance on March 11. The dinner included the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and all the trimmings: boiled potatoes, carrots, and plenty of soda bread. March birthdays were celebrated with special fanfare for Frs. Fidel Hernández (Mar. 3), Charles Huse (Mar. 17) and John Oldfield (Mar. 25). The evening included a 50/50 and a very lively music program provided by Mary Taylor with Italian, Latino, and group dances as well as favorite Irish songs. In spite of very cold weather over 100 people attended the event.

St. Patrick’s dinner dance, 2017 (l to r): Frs. John Oldfield and Charles Huse, Peggy Evans, and Fr. John Gruben.


An enormous late winter snow storm named “Stella” dumped over a foot of snow on Suffern and even more elsewhere in the New York area on March 14, bringing traffic and most activities to a stop. Fortunately the heat and lighting continued to function at Tagaste, and the drive way was plowed several times, leaving, however, a sheet of ice to contend with. In the wake of the storm the temperatures continued bitter cold ensuring that the snow would be around for some time.

The Hispanic committee with the help of Fr Fidel Hernández organized a week of Lenten reflections entitled “La Misión”, March 27-31; between 40-50 people assembled each evening from 7-9 PM. Fr Fidel started off the Lenten talks with Augustinian spirituality centering on the teaching of interiority. Some of the coordinators prepared talks on: transmission of faith; the sorrows of Mary; dying to ourselves; and penance and reconciliation. One evening was dedicated to a dramatization of some of the miracles of Jesus including: the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana, and the healings of Peter's mother in law, a blind man, the ten lepers, and the woman with the hemorrhage. The mission closed with Stations of the Cross and Holy Hour with Benediction.

Lenten Retreat: “Resurrection of Lazarus”.

The Easter Triduum (April 13-15). On Holy Thursday, Fr. Fidel Hernández was main celebrant for the 8 PM accompanied by Frs. Gruben and Oldfield. Fr. Fidel washed the feet of six persons who were candidates for Baptism/Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. At the conclusion of the Mass all processed down to the Guild Hall for an extended vigil before the Blessed Sacrament.

On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross were celebrated on the grounds of the monastery with the various groups leading a considerable crowd in the meditation at each of the stations. Fr. Gruben presided at the 3 PM Liturgy of the Passion in English and Fr. Hernandez at 7:30 PM in Spanish.

For the Easter Vigil, Fr. Gruben was main celebrant, assisted by Frs. Oldfield and Hernandez. Victor Frias, a member of the Tagaste choir, sang the traditional Exultet followed by 4 readings from the Old Testament and the required New Testament readings. There were two adults who passed through the catechumenate program and were admitted to Baptism, 5 candidates for Confirmation, and one for First Holy Communion.

Fr. John Gruben Confirming candidates at the Easter Vigil, 2017.

Holy Saturday, 2017 (l to r): Frs. John Oldfield, Fidel Hernández, and John Gruben with newly baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil.

Divine Mercy Sunday. Tagaste once again hosted the annual Sacred Heart service on April 23 with Fr. John Gruben presiding at the Benediction and giving the talk. He was joined by Frs. Matthew Furey (pastor of Sacred Heart) and Fr. Innocente (assistant) hearing Confessions. Activities also included a movie on the life of St. Faustina Kawalska, refreshments, and sale of devotional materials. Some 100 people were in attendance for the day, which was coordinated by Nancy Camilleri, SAR.

Fr. Sergio Sanchez, provincial of St. Nicholas Province, accompanied by Fr. Rafael Mediavilla and Dn. Cristino Gutierrez from Union City, NJ. visited Tagaste on April 24 as part of the process of merging our two provinces as mandated by the last General Chapter.

Visit of Fr. Sergio Sanchez, St. Nicholas Provincial, to Tagaste (l to r): Dn. Cristino Gutierrez, Frs. John Gruben, Sergio Sergio, Rafael Mediavilla, and Fidel Hernández.



Last Updated on Monday, 08 May 2017 14:55

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