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Asia Pacific Augistinian Conference

APAC 30th Anniversary

This is the address, in a slightly abbreviated form, that the then APAC President, Fr Eusebio Berdon O.S.A.,  delivered at the banquet following the thirtieth anniversary Mass at the Church of San Agustin, Intramuros, Manila on 10th November 2007.

The various activities held today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the foundation of APAC have clearly highlighted the importance and significance of this event.

The venue (the Church and Plaza of San Agustin, Intramuros)

The venue (the Church and plaza of San Agustin, Intramuros) links us to one of the principal personalities who was instrumental in the founding of APAC – Fr Miguel Manrique O.S.A. Here in this historic monastery of San Agustin he lived and exercised his ministry of services and leadership both as the Regional Vicar of the erstwhile Vicariate of the Philippines, of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines, as well as being the first President of APAC. 

Here too were celebrated the first two APAC conventions, those of 1980 and 1984. It is not presumptuous to say, therefore, that while APAC was conceived and born in the heart of the Augustinian Order in Rome on 13th September 1977, it was nourished and nurtured during its early existence in the hallowed halls of this priceless monument which is a legacy handed down to us by our revered Augustinian predecessors, the first missionaries of these islands and of the nearby Asia Pacific countries.

Similarly, the presence here today of our numerous brothers and sisters in the Augustinian family – almost five hundred I was told – who come from various communities of the different religious institutes belonging to the one big Augustinian family both in the Philippines and in other APAC countries, testifies to the growth and “rootedness” of APAC among those persons and institutes that follow the teachings, spirituality and the religious and apostolic ideals of our great father, St Augustine. 

National flags at APAC 30th anniversary.

I am especially impressed by the presence of a big number of our young brothers and sisters still in their initial formation, who have shown their enthusiasm for what APAC represents through their active participation both in the various activities today and also in other APAC-sponsored activities like youth assemblies, joint formation experiences and spirituality courses.

Another significant factor that adds meaning to this gathering is the presence of our lay associates, who in their own unique way contribute to the “completeness” of our being a big family, and all-embracing community of “Augustinians.”  I know that many of these lay partners are active collaborators of our religious brothers and sisters in their various apostolates and undertakings, especially in the fields of youth ministry and diverse social involvement in favour of the poor and the marginalized in our society.

Thirdly, the conferment of the Miguel Manrique Justice and Peace Awards, which was designed by the executive council of APAC and by the APAC commissions involved as one of the significant acts in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the foundation of APAC, clearly demonstrates that the idea of community, which is an essential component of Augustinian spirituality, has transcended its limitation – referring only to the confines of cloisters and convents – by extending its meaning to embrace the broader community of the faithful, especially those in most need, for whom, precisely, the consecrated Augustinians have offered their lives when they decided to follow Christ more closely. 

The Church of San Agustin, Intramuros, venue of the 30th anniversary celebration.

Certainly, the Augustinian involvement with the broader community of the faithful is not only limited to concerns and issues related to Justice and Peace. Involvement in education, for example, has its equally significant importance. So also, inter-religious dialogue, especially in the wider context of Asia-Pacific realities. Broadly understood, however, all these other concerns are ultimately related to Justice and Peace, for they imply more attention to the basic needs, fundamental rights, and, consequently, greater dignity of human persons.

But perhaps the greatest significance of this celebration is best expressed by no other than the Eucharistic sacrifice in which all of us actively participated. The existence of APAC for thirty years has been a continuing dialogue of existence between the crucified and risen Lord, who continually offered himself for the transformation of humankind, and those who likewise followed him to similarly offer themselves, either as religious or lay, for the good of others. 

Likewise, such existence has also been a continuing dialogue between the ever-alive Spirit who inspired the pioneering personages of APAC, in their tasks of determining ideals for and objectives of APAC, and those who succeeded these generous men and women and have courageously attempted to concretize those ideals in the context and reality of their times.

Before closing these brief remarks, I would like to express my personal and certainly our collective gratitude primarily to the late Fr Manrique for having initiated the actual formation of the Asia Pacific Augustinian Conference, and also to many other Augustinian men and women who contributed to the growth and flourishing of APAC throughout these thirty years, either through leadership roles or through active collaboration in the implementation of its various programs and projects. 

As true of any organization, APAC has experienced turbulent moments that threatened even its existence, but, fortunately, when those difficult moments came there were always Augustinians, men and women with generous heart and courageous spirit, who, moved and inspired by their love of St Augustine and for the way of life he has handed down to us, kept the existence of APAC aflame.

Thirty years ago APAC was born in the eternal city of Rome. For thirty years it struggled to grow and blossom in the Asia Pacific region. Hopefully it will continue for thirty times thirty times, to foster closer and stronger relationship among us, sons and daughters of Augustine, in the service of the Church, our respective religious institutes, and of the people.

Congratulations to all of us! Mubuhay ang APAC.

Fr Eusebio Berdon OSA

 

 

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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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