On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the Augustinian Province of Cebu, Fr Eusebio B. Berdon O.S.A., issued the following message. As it happened, he was also the first Prior Provincial when the Cebu Province began thirty years ago.
As the Augustinian Province of Santo Niño de Cebu-Philippines celebrates the 30th anniversary of its inauguration as a full-pledged juridical unit of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA),we its friar-members would like to express our sincerest gratitude primarily to the Lord for the countless blessings He has bestowed on the Province throughout this period of its existence such gratefulness to all our brothers and sisters in the Augustinian Family, both religious and lay, as well as to our benefactors and friends for supporting us with their prayers and resources in our on-going efforts to serve the Church and the people through our various apostolates.
The Province, created officially on December 25, 1983 and inaugurated in the Basilica del Santo Niño on January 15, 1984, is the only full-grown juridical unit of the Order in Asia. All Filipino in its membership, the Province is composed of more than one-hundred solemnly professed friars and an equal number of candidates in various stages of formation. Its 18 communities, distributed in the different parts of the country, serve the people in various ways, but mainly in education, parish ministry, mission works, retreat centers and different kinds of social apostolates. It also collaborates in the evangelization task of the Church and the Augustinian Order by sending missionaries abroad. After thirty years of existence, one can truly see how the Province has grown.
This quantitative growth, however, is hopefully matched also by internal growth. Hopefully it has remained faithful to one of the impelling reasons for its creation as a Province – the living of the Augustinian way of life in the context of Philippine culture and social realities. Hopefully, its members would remain firm in their collective commitment, since the inception of the Province, to become instruments of communion and unity in all their undertakings, starting from the life in community of the friars themselves to the life shared by lay associates and people under their pastoral care. Hopefully, the Filipino Augustinians would appropriately respond to the challenge that the theme of this 30th anniversary celebration presents – to become active contributory to the transformation of the present society into a “city of God”, where the Gospel values of justice, peace and love reign.
Being a commemoration of a joyous event in the life of the Province, this celebration is therefore a moment of rejoicing. Being a remembering of an event that ushered in a period of great expectation among Filipino Augustinians, this celebration is a moment of hope. And being an occasion for assessing the relevance of Augustinian life in today’s society, this celebration is an appropriate time for renewing commitment to religious and apostolic life in the service of the Church, the Order, and the people of God.
May Santo Niño bless us all!
Eusebio B. Berdon O.S.A.