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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

APAC President’s Report 2014

Fr Bernard Holzer aa, after being APAC President in 2012-2014, was at this convention re-elected as President for 2014-2017. He is the co-ordination of the ministry of the Assumptionists in three Asia-Pacific nations, and is based in Manila.

What follows is the major part of the President’s Report, sometimes by quoting his words, and at other times by summarising the content. As well, his coverage of the 2012 – 2014 activities of the APAC Commissions has been extracted and placed on the next page.

“A warm welcome to this twelfth APAC Triennial Convention in Ketapang (Indonesia). It’s the first time for APAC to convene in this remarkable and beautiful country, guests of our Augustinian Sisters of the Divine Mercy here at Ketapang. It was not easy to prepare this Convention for a lot of reasons. But we are here. We are happy to be together as an Augustinian Family, challenged by the new evangelization in Asia Pacific.

First of all, let me thank the Augustinian Sisters of Ketapang and their collaborators, for welcoming us and for all the work done to prepare this Convention and the subsequent Augustinian Youth Encounter (AYE).”

The President reported that the APAC Executive met on three occasions in 2012, and five times in 2013.

APAC Executive 2012-2014

“When I was elected as APAC President – what a surprise! – my first task was to discover APAC although I had some previous experience, participating at some APAC activities since 2007. I previously had attended some gatherings like the Augustinian Youth Encounter in Cebu, facilitated some retreats with the OSA – Cebu Province and the ASOLC Sisters, and also with the OAD in Cebu.”

“As APAC Vice-President, Sr. Maria Imelda Mora was very active during her term as General Superior of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolacion. She was a big help for organizing the APAC Gathering and Website Launching on 9 March 2013. When she finished her term as General Superior later that year, her position as the APAC Vice-President became and remained vacant.”

“The APAC Secretary, Sr Jocelyn Widwid ASOLC, was re-appointed as APAC Secretary after the 2012 APAC Convention. She submitted to the APAC Convention of 2014 a two-page Report that detailed the eight formal meetings of the APAC Executive Council. She was a big help for organizing this Convention. Her work was made difficult because of her new appointment in the Mountain Province (Philippines) where the internet connection is often weak. For at least six years she has also been a valued member of the APAC Communications Commission.”

“The APAC Treasurer, Fr Andrew Batayola OSA (Cebu Province), will make his Report to us, and it needs to be formally approved by the members of the Convention. The main APAC revenues are the Annual Contributions and the Joint Formation Experience Fees. The main Expenses are the former APAC Bulletin (printing and postage) and the APAC website www.apacweb.org , the Joint Formation and the preparation costs for this Convention.”

Personal reflections

The last few years have seen great work across the region from the Commission on Formation and Spirituality, on Communications, on Vocations and Youth, and on Justice and Peace & Integrity of Creation and some other notable works of the Filipino members of APAC and of the Executive Council.

There is a lot of activities done, with enthusiasm, but by people who are very busy. These activities are mainly organized in the Philippines where the Augustinian family is very present and active, but we have no news about the other countries.

-Are we convinced about the vision/mission and the objectives of APAC “to strengthen the ties of the Augustinian Families and to provide assistance to, and enhance collaboration among the members in areas or initiatives of common interest to all?” (Article 1)

“The objectives of the Conference are:

To meet the need for close communication at all levels, foster relations and develop forms of assistance among the members;

To promote projects at local, national, and internationals levels;

To promote vocations to our Augustinians Families, better formation of our candidates, ongoing formation and Augustinian spirituality; and

To increase our common awareness of the values, needs and aspirations of the people of Asia and the Pacific, especially those of the poor and the young, and to develop new models of evangelization.” (Article 3)

My questions

  • How could we, very concretely, share our national and international resouces resources in many different fields and to use our common riches of personnel, to implement these objectives? What are our needs? What are our desires of collaboration? What are our resources?
  • How could we increase common activities in each country and in Asia Pacific, and not only in the Philippines? Are distance and financial constraints an obstacle? How could we overcome them?
  • Especially, how could we improve our communications skills to share more information for a deeper collaboration?
  • How could we invite the other Congregations of the Augustinians family, in each country, to participate to common activities?
  • How could we work together with more efficiency on an international and inter-Asian level?

Our common challenges

These remarks and questions form the background of our fraternal gathering here in Ketapang, under the theme: “New Evangelization Through Collaboration In Asia Pacific”. The key word of this Convention is “Collaboration”. We need to find new ways of collaboration, new concrete and effective ways. It’s the only way to inspire other Congregations of our Family to join APAC.

After this Overview of APAC, we will listen attentively the Reports from the Circumscriptions (with some proposals for collaboration in each country and in Asia Pacific). We will be “getting to know Indonesia” with Bishop Riana Prapdi (Bishop of Ketapang) and Fr. William Chang, OFMCap. Fr. Tony Banks (OSA) will then help us to go deeper in our theme.

We will recall the Address of Pope Francis to the Bishops of Asia at the Shrine of Haemi (South Korea), on August 17, 2014: “On this vast continent which is home to a great variety of cultures, the Church is called to be versatile and creative in her witness to the Gospel through dialogue and openness to all. This is the challenge before you! Dialogue, in fact, is an essential part of the mission of the Church in Asia” (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 29). But in undertaking the path of dialogue with individuals and cultures, what should be our point of departure and our fundamental point of reference, which guides us to our destination? Surely it is our own identity, our identity as Christians. We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity.

The task of appropriating and expressing our identity does not always prove easy, however, since – being sinners – we will always be tempted by the spirit of the world, which shows itself in a variety of ways. I would like to point to three of these.

One is the deceptive light of relativism, which obscures the splendor of truth and, shaking the earth beneath our feet, pulls us toward the shifting sands of confusion and despair. It is a temptation which nowadays also affects Christian communities, causing people to forget that in a world of rapid and disorienting change, “there is much that is unchanging, much that has its ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Gaudium et Spes, 10; cf. Heb 13:8). Here I am not speaking about relativism merely as a system of thought, but about that everyday practical relativism which almost imperceptibly saps our sense of identity.

A second way in which the world threatens the solidity of our Christian identity is superficiality, a tendency to toy with the latest fads, gadgets and distractions, rather than attending to the things that really matter (cf. Phil 1:10).

Then too, there is a third temptation: that of the apparent security to be found in hiding behind easy answers, ready formulas, rules and regulations.

After all these inputs, our challenge will be now to make PROPOSALS FOR COLLABORATION proposals to the new Executive Council and to the Commissions,  and maybe to others light structures.

May the Spirit of the Lord inspire us and also St Augustine and St Monica and all the Blessed and Saints of our Augustinian Family.

 

Fr. Bernard HOLZER a.a.
President of APAC

 

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APAC Fast Facts

 

 

 

 

 

APAC supports the efforts of our member congregations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

APAC encourages the sharing of ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

APAC increases our common awareness of values.

 

 

 

 

 

APAC reflects on the gifts that interiority brings us.

 

 

 

 

 

APAC draws us closer to the God who unites us.

 

 

 

 

 

APAC serves the diverse common needs of its member congregations.

 

 

 

 

 

APAC calls us to co-operate and to share.

 

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