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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

APAC Commissions Reports 2012-2014

What follows below is extracted from the APAC President’s Report given at the Twelfth Triennial APAC Convention in October 2014.


Proposal 1 of the APAC Convention of 2012 stated: “That the Commission on Formation and Spirituality shall come up with joint programs for those in initial formation retreat for APAC formators and spirituality conference for religious coordinators and administrators, and spirituality conference for lay affiliates and partners in the ministry.”

The commission proposed four joint formation programs for 2012-2015, which the Executive Council endorsed: Joint Formation for Initial formation, Retreat for APAC Formators, Spirituality Conference for Religious Coordinators and Administrators, and a Spirituality Conference for Lay Affiliates.

#1 Joint Formation for Initial Formation 

A joint Formation for Initial Formation was held from October 20 to November 4, 2012 at Tahanan Sta Monica, Tagaytay City (Philippines) with the theme: Restless Heart: A Passion for Christ’s Mission. Participated in by 27 Novices, Juniors and Seminarians from seven APAC Congregations: Augustinians of the Assumption, Augustinian Sisters Servants of Jesus and Mary, Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, Order of St. Augustine, Sto. Nino de Cebu, Order of St. Augustine, Australia, Vicariate of the Orient, and Sisters Servants of the Holy Trinity.

#2 Retreat for APAC Formators

The theme: Formation to Faith in a Multi-Cultural Context.  The retreat was held at Villa Consuelo Retreat House (Philippines) October 20 - 26, 2013 and participated in by 38 Formators, and Community Coordinators/Superiors from six APAC Congregations: Augustinians of the Assumption, Augustinian Contemplative Nuns, Augustinian Sisters Servants of Mary and Joseph, Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation, Order of St. Augustine, Sto. Nino de Cebu, Vicariate of the Orient.

This retreat for Formators was expanded both in scope of topics and composition of participants in order to provide opportunities for common orientation and direction among brothers and sisters who are involved in formation ministry both for religious and lay partners.  Competent and experienced speakers and formators were invited to share their expertise and experiences in the various topics that were suggested by the formators themselves. 

                  The program was a retreat in structure but with inputs that were relevant to the present needs of Formators in a Multicultural Context. Emphasis on the  Integrity of Creation like, Nature’s Walk and Visit to significant Augustinian landmarks were also included as part of the process of Interiorization aside from daily meaningful and lively Eucharist celebrated and concelebrated by the priest-participants themselves.  Small group sharing by area was organized for deeper interaction among the participants.

It is relevant also to include two further initiatives, although they were not organized by APAC:

#1  The Spirituality Conference for Religious Coordinators and Administrators was merged already with the activity of Formators considering that some Formators were also Coordinators/Superiors. The conference for Administrators was channelled through the Commission on Schools who have also formation and spirituality related activities.

#2  The Spirituality Conference for Lay Affiliates was organized by the ASOLC and OSA of Sto. Nino de Cebu (among the APAC congregations represented) There was an initial coordination and meetings with representatives from both Congregations in preparation for the joint assembly but it did not materialize. The commission is optimistic and looks forward for a possible collaboration of these two groups of lay affiliates under APAC. The AASOLC (Lay Associates of ASOLC) they come together every two years for their national convention. They had their convention last April 20–24, 2014 in Bagasbas, Daet, Camarines Norte (Philippines), with the theme: “We are AASOLC:  We are Missionaries.”  There were 47 participants.


Proposal 2 of the APAC Convention of 2012 stated: “That the Commission on Communication shall work with the Executive Council on the plan to have an e-publication.”

Previously the Commission on Communications has been responsible for the publication of the “APAC Bulletin”, and during 2007 – 2012 regularly produced two 28-page issues each year. Consequently, production of the printed APAC Bulletin was halted after the issue of May 2012, and the website www.apacweb.org became the main activity of the Commission. Beyond the listing of the activities of APAC and its member Congregations, the website offers documents, articles and visual material to study and promote the teachings and spirituality of St Augustine, thereby offering somewhat of an Augustinian library.

In May 2012 the building of the website was allocated a three-month building period so that it might be launched on the feast day of St Augustine on 28 August 2012. The task soon proved more complicated than generally had been anticipated, and the launching in fact did not occur until an impressive full-day APAC gathering took place at La Consolacion College in Manila on 9 March 2013; in other words, the design and construction of the website took not three months but ten months, and had involved numerous regular and lengthy SKYPE videoconferences involving Fr Bernard Holzer (APAC President) and Communications Commission members in the Philippines and Australia..

Visually and structurally, the website was complete when launched, but it still lacked all of the content desired about the APAC member congregations, news reports of the ongoing activities of the various APAC Commissions, and articles of interest about Augustine and his spirituality. Even though by now in 2014 (two years later) the website has seventy-four pages, it is still somewhat undernourished in its content.

Very truly, the first phase of the website was its construction and launching; all it required has been done, thanks to a small number of persons. Of concern now is the second phase in the life of the website, which is the regular uploading of continuing APAC news and additional articles of Augustinian relevance. A website is relatively useless unless it is freshened and expanded with additional materials on a regular basis.

Consequently APACWEB needs contributions of congregational news, APAC news, and Augustinian articles. This requires congregational superiors to respond to repeated invitations either themselves to forward materials for the website to the APAC Secretariat or else to delegate a member of their congregation to do so.

The website stands available as a silent messenger and a day-and-night evangelist. Unless the website is both expanded in volume and viewed by APAC members, it would be difficult to see how the progression from a printed APAC Bulletin to an electronic APAC website www.apacweb.org  has yielded the gains that such a technological advancement obviously offers.


Proposal 3 of the APAC Convention of 2012 stated: “That the Vocation and Youth Commission shall continue with a vocation promotion event and the vocation jamborees, and coordinate with the Executive Council to work for the youth program.”

The main activity of this Commission is to organize regional and local Augustinian Youth Festivals (AYF) designed to build linkages for friendship and collaboration among the youth of our varied Augustinian apostolate and communities. In the process we help create a fertile grounds for our young people to VOLUNTEER in our mission and apostolate.  

#1  AYF Bacolod, Philippines

November 16-18, 2012 marks the first AYF gathering under the new leadership of the commission and it was held in CICM Maryshore, Bukal ng Tipan Mission Center, Talisay City, Negros Occidental (Philippines).

The event was participated by 217 delegates from different schools and parishes of the Augustinian families in the Philippines.

This three-day activity was indeed an experience to remember by our youth because of the camaraderie and fraternity that we all shared. The event was guided by the theme: “Augustinian Core values: Roadmap towards the Transformation of Youth”.

#2  AYF Cebu, Philippines

The Cebu version of the AYF was an obvious improvement of the lessons learned from the activity in Bacolod. The approach that was implemented was patterned to the World Youth Day experience in Rio, Brazil. Participants were asked to stay with their foster parents/family in order to widen the impact of an Augustinian event.

The AYF Cebu was held last September 6-8, 2013 with the theme: “Go and make disciples of all nations; Augustinians core values: Unitas: Growing together in Faith and Friendship.”  The 476 participants were very satisfied with the event and were looking for the next event in Indonesia.

#3  AYF Asia: Ketapang, Indonesia

The excitement continues especially to the 55 AYF participants who will come to Indonesia this October 24-29, 2014 and be a part of history making because the host community of the Sisters will be the first to organize this event outside the Philippines. It is guided by the theme: “New Evangelization through the Collaboration of Youth in Asia.”

#4  AYF International: Cebu City, Philippines

The preparation for the AYF International comes November 22-27, 2015 in Cebu City (Philippines) has already started by sending letters of information about the big event as well as the International Meeting of Vocation Directors in the same city around the same time (Nov. 24-29). It is scheduled in that manner to give chance of having a one day session for the youth and our vocation directors coming from different countries in the World. These gatherings are very fitting to be done in Cebu City because the Augustinians-Cebu Province, together with the entire Augustinian family, will be celebrating the 450th Anniversary of the Finding of the Image of Senor Santo Nino and the 450th Anniversary of the Augustinian Presence in the Philippines. We are targeting around one thousand youth participants to come and experience our brand of hospitality. “It is more fun in the Philippines”, but all the best of fun when you are an Augustinian. In Deum!!! (The full Report is available from Fr Victor Fernadez Gonzaga OSA, who is the APAC Treasurer 2014-2017.)



Proposal 4 of the APAC Convention 2012 stated: “That the Education Commission shall implement the program of the Augustinians Values Institute (AVI) and follow-up programs.”

The members of the Education Commission had some difficulties to come together and to implement the program which was proposed by the last Convention.



Proposal 5 of the APAC Convention of 2012 stated: “That the Commission on Justice and Peace and Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) shall work with UN team for the development of skills and advocacy and research leading to structural change in society. We ask the new commission to propose future structures related to JPIC.”

Given the varied issues and concerns that JPIC needed to address, the Commission met on several occasions and acted collectively in response to challenges and pressing needs. One such challenge was the quick, common and unified response to the needs of typhoon Sendong in Mindanao. The Commission recommended Point Persons from among JPIC Members, in particular the ASOLC in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro.

The challenge for JPIC to respond to climate change led the JPIC Commission to think of a possibility to create an APAC Quick Response Team (AQRT) to be able to respond immediately to victims of calamities. The destruction on people’s lives and properties caused by typhoon Yolanda led JPIC Commission to establish network with government/non-government organizations for support and facilitation of services

A joint collaboration as Augustinians in Technical Training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Rescue Operation (DRRRO) was planned. A whole-day Conference was held last October 30, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the La Consolacion Convent, San Juan City for a little less than a hundred participants from JPIC Member – Congregations. They had fruitful discussion and sharing of their experiences and preventive measures in times of calamities.

Another 2012 APAC Convention Resolution was for JPIC to network with other existing NGOs who are directly involved on Justice and Peace works. APAC-JPIC has open lines of communication with the Mission Partners of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP). Conferences on updates on peace situations had facilitated updates on current events to members/guests.

Another resolution of the APAC Convention 2012 suggested that the Commission on JPIC invite a Group similar to those at the UN-NGO. Sister Cresencia Lucero, SFIC, a long-enduring member of the Franciscan International (F.I) which has its Regional Office for Asia-Pacific in Geneva and in Bangkok, was invited as Resource Person.

A conference was held with Sr Cresencia Lucero last August 24, 2013 in line with the Commission’s attempt to understand what APAC-JPIC’s working with UN Team requires and what its implications are. On another occasion, JPIC Commission invited Fr John Szura OSA who had long been involved with U.N. works of the Augustinian Order. Furthermore the new APAC Commission is asked to propose future structures related to JPIC.

APAC-JPIC Commission was challenged by the projects and collaboration with other branches of the Augustinian family who have travelled jointly with a representative of the Augustinians of the Assumption (AA) to a UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) symposium, and to reconsider our UN presence.


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