Photo: The Capitulars of the recently concluded 55th General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects during their audience with Pope Francis got featured in the October 21, 2016 publication of the Vatican paper, L'Osservatore Romano.
ROME – The last session of the 55th General Chapter on October 26, 2016 moved forward with the election of the General Councilors in accordance with the OAR Constitutions 345: “…the members of the general council are to be elected by absolute majority of votes.”
The provision continues: “Six councilors are to be elected, the first of these being the Vicar General. For the elections of each of them, having listened to the priors provincial, the Prior General may put forward three names, respecting always the freedom of the members of the chapter to elect the particular religious of the Order whom they believe most suitable.”
Here are the elected religious who comprise the new members of the General Council:
Fr. José Ramón Pérez Sáenz, OAR
First General Councilor and Vicar General
Birthplace: Manjarrés (La Rioja, España)
Solemn Profession: 1979
Presbyteral Ordination: 1983
Assignments: Venezuela (16 years); Monasterio de San Millán de la Cogolla; Prior Provincial of the Province of San José (for 2 triennia); Vicar General of the Order (2010-2016)
Studies: Licentiate in Theology (University of Salamanca, Spain); Licentiate in Theology and Patristic Sciences (Instituto Patrístico Augustinianum, Rome)
Fr. Raúl Buhay Murillo, OAR
Second General Councilor
Birthday/year: June 1, 1962
Birthplace: San Miguel (Surigao del Sur, Philippines)
Solemn Profession: 1987
Presbyteral Ordination: 1988
Assignments: Master of the Professed at Recoletos Formation Center in Quezon City; Councilor of then Vicariate of the Philippines and China; a missionary to Sierra Leone (3 years); VP for Administration at USJ-R, Cebu; VP for Academics at UNO-R Bacolod; Third Provincial Councilor of the Province of St. Ezekiel (2009-2012); Prior of the community of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Inagawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan (2012-15); Parish Priest of OLMC Parish, Inagawan (since 2012 to date).
Studies: Licentiate in Biblical Theology (Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome); MA in Educational Management and PhD in Educational Management (USJ-R, Cebu)
Fr. Juan Pablo Martínez Peláez, OAR
Third General Councilor
Birthplace: Medellín (Antioquia, Colombia)
Solemn Profession: 2004
Presbyteral Ordination: 2008
Assignments: Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Manare (Casanare) as Parochial vicar, then as Prior and Parish Priest until July 2013; Master of the Professed (Colombia)
Studies: Licentiate in Theology (Universidad San Buenaventura, Bogotá); Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy (St. Anselm Pontifical Institute, Rome)
Fr. Francisco Javier Monroy Rodríguez, OAR
Fourth General Councilor
Birthplace: Valladolid (España)
Solemn Profession: 1994
Presbyteral Ordination: 1995
Assignments: Councilor of the Vicariate (2012-16); Parochial Vicar in Lodosa, Zaragoza and Madrid; Formator since 1998 in Zaragoza, Madrid, and from 2009 at the St. Augustine Postulancy.
Studies: Licentiate in Biblical Theology (Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome); Máster de acompañamiento espiritual y discernimiento vocacional. Máster Terapueta Councellor.
Fr. Gabriel Antonio Robles Alonso, OAR
Fifth General Councilor
Solemn Profession: 1985
Presbyteral Ordination: 1989
Assignments: General Councilor (1992-2004); General Procurator before the Holy See (1998-2004): Vicar of Panama of the Consolation Province (2010-2013); Vicar of the Province (since 2013)
Studies: Licentiate in Theology (Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome)
Fr. Antonio Carrón de la Torre, OAR
Sixth General Councilor
Birthplace: Madrid (España)
Solemn Profession: 2004
Presbyteral Ordination: 2005
Assignments: Professor, Tutor and Coordinator of Pastoral Ministry at Colegio Santo Tomás de Villanueva in Granada, Spain; Director of the Colegio Santo Tomás de Villanueva (Granada, since 2010 to date); Provincial Councilor of the Province of Sto. Tomas and in-charge of the Secretariat of Educational Apostolate; Haren Alde Delegate in Andalucia
Studies: Licentiate in Pastoral Theology (Universidad de Granada); MA in Contemporary Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy (Universidad de Granada)
At the very first meeting of the newly-constituted General Council, the election of the office of the General Secretary was made. It resulted to the re-election of Fray Tello.
Fr. Francisco Javier Tello Vegas, OAR
Birthplace: Cáceres (España)
Solemn Profession: 1996
Presbyteral Ordination: 1999
Assignments: Formator at Seminario Menor de Santo Tomás de Villanueva; School administrator in Cristo Rey (Caracas, Venezuela); Councilor of the Vicariate of Venezuela (2003-2006); Formator of Postulants (Seminario Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo in Palmira, Táchira); Vicar Provincial (from 2011-1013); General Secretary of the Order (2013-2016)
Studies: Catechetics (Instituto San Pío X of the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, Madrid)
ROME—Fray Miguel Miró Miró OAR was elected for the second term as Prior General of the Order of Augustinian Recollects on October 25, 2016 by the 55th General Chapter in Rome.
Garnering an absolute majority of the 40 Capitulars, Fray Miró received the vote of confidence to serve the 428-year old Recoletos and to be at the forefront of the Order for the next sexennium (2016-2022).
Father Miguel was born in Vinebre (Tarragona, Spain). He entered the Order at age 23, in 1972, after having obtained a degree in architecture from the University of Barcelona. Having finished his philosophical studies and completed his novitiate in Monteagudo (Navarra), he proceeded to study theology in the Augustinian Recollect Theological Seminary in Marcilla (Navarra).
Bishop José María Cirarda, archbishop of Pamplona, ordained him a priest on August 28, 1978 in Lodosa (Navarra) where he began to serve in the formation apostolate and where he would remain for seventeen years while working in different formation houses: Lodosa, Fuenterrabía (Guipúzcoa) and Valladolid, as in-charge of the postulants; Monteagudo, as Novice Master for three years; and Marcilla where he worked as Master of the Professed for four years.
In 1995, he was sent to Rome where he obtained his Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University.
In the Provincial Chapter of 1997 convoked in Marcilla, he was elected Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentino. (NOTE: At this time, he was among those who prepared for the birth in 1998 of the youngest province of the Order—the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.) He dispensed his office for six years, upon his reelection in the Provincial Chapter of 2000.
As his mandate as Prior Provincial, two goals prompted his action: the promotion-formation of vocations and the intensification of spiritual life.
Among the appointments made by the newly-elected Provincial Council in 2003 was that of Father Miguel who was assigned as the local prior of the theology house in Marcilla. But he carried this out for only a year since in the General Chapter of 2004 in which he was a delegate, he was elected Vicar General and First General Councilor.
During the distribution of responsibilities within the Order’s team of governance, he was assigned to take charge of the General Secretariat of Spirituality and Prior of the Generalate House in Rome, aside from other tasks. As President of the said general secretariat, he was able to expand his knowledge of the Order and establish fraternal rapport with a lot of religious in the entire geography in which the Augustinian Recollects are present.
Furthermore, he was also given the task by the previous General Council to take charge of the publications such as the publication of the newsletter Notitiae OAR. He was also responsible for making the Order present through social media communications. Through his initiative, an institutional website was created for the whole Order which, aside from offering relevant news items, it also serves the religious and the lay people with documents, exchange of ideas, responses to questions, etc.
The 54th General Chapter elected him Chapter President, an index of trust which the former Vicar General had inspired the Capitulars. The same Chapter elected him Prior General. During this six-year term, Fray Miguel was among the great proponents of the process of revitalization and restructuring of the Order. His reelection for this function in the general government is a sign of confidence that the religious have in him.
October 21 – Profiling of proposals prior to their approval
As has been customary, the day commenced with the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharistic celebration. Fray José David Niño Gómez presided the mass which was offered for the special intention of the Recollect Augustinian Youth and in grateful memory of St. Laura Montoya, a Colombian Catholic educator and missionary and foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena.
The first session in the morning included the approval of the Actas (Minutes) of the previous days, revision of some provisions of the Ordo Capituli particulary on the manner of presenting and voting for the proposals of restructuring, thus, giving way to more opportunity for dialogue and improvements.
The rest of the morning was spent to group work by commission, focusing this time on the revision of its own proposals as well as those forwarded to it from other groups.
In the afternoon, the presentation of proposals by the Commission of Charismatic Identity and Governance, still in its first redaction.
Fray Pablo Panedas introduced to the Capitulars the DOCUMENTARY, “Augustinian Recollects in the Global World”, which makes a review on those very prominent places where the Recollects exercise their evangelizing ministry.
Finally, written modifications to the proposals of the commissions were distributed in the Chapter Hall. After receiving the papers, the commissions proceeded to their assigned places to continue their work.
October 22 – All prepared for the Monday’s voting sessions
A Saturday, this day was tagged as one of the most intense days of the 55th General Chapter with the meetings of the commissions, plenary sessions both in the morning and in the afternoon, and last meeting in the evening in order to finalize the details before voting starts on Monday.
The day opened with the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of the holy mass presided by Fray Lauro Larlar, and for the special intention of all the “Mother Monicas”.
The commission meetings dwelt on making the finishing touches on the groups’ respective proposals as well as revising those from other commissions. Later in the Chapter hall, the discussion on the first redaction of proposals to be presented by the Commission on Restructuring would take place, addressing, among others, the issues on the reconfiguration of secretariats and other organs of governance and administration of the Order.
In another plenary assembly, the Final Message and the motto of the Chapter were analyzed as these will serve as reference point for the Life and Mission Project of the Order.
Having closed the third week of the ongoing General Chapter, it is augured that the coming week will see everything put in place. It will be a moment that will signal the start of the voting phase in order to approve the proposals of every commission. Another important moment will be the election of those holding the positions in the General Government, with the Prior General as head for the next six years.
October 23 Relaxing on a Sunday
Note: Our parallel sources informed us that the Capitulars went to Ostia Antica and marveled at the remnants of ancient Ostia as a city during the 6th cent BC. They recalled that it was here where St. Monica died in the 4th century A.D.
October 24 Decisive moments unfold
In the morning of the first day of the last week of the Chapter, voting started for the various proposals formulated by the commissions. The first set of proposals presented and subjected for voting were those of restructuring, which includes the configuration of the provinces of the Order and the organs of the General government and administration.
In accordance with the Ordo Capituli, there are two types of votes: 1-when it deals with election; 2-when it deals with the approval of a theme.
If it deals with election of any religious to occupy a position, in or outside the Chapter, the voting is made through a piece of paper in which the name of the nominee is written.
- If it deals with the approval of any issue proposed to the assembly, voting could be made through a piece of paper, electronic system, ballots, or any equivalent means.
- The themes proposed for the consideration of the assembly are voted on using the words: YES / NO / IM (IUXTA MODUM, or YES with modification).
- The themes proposed for the consideration of the assembly will be approved only when the absolute majority is reached.
- IM (IUXTA MODUM, or YES with modification) votes are counted as positive; but when a proposal has reached the absolute majority required with such votes, this proposal will be returned to the respective commission or to whoever proposed it for revision.
- Those who give “YES with modification” votes should present in writing their proposed changes to facilitate the revision.
- The revised proposal will be presented again in the Capitular assembly. In this case, the capitulars will only vote on either YES or NO. The proposal will be accepted if the absolute majority is reached; otherwise it will be discarded.
THE GENERAL CHAPTER APPROVESTHE INTERNAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE ORDER
In the afternoon, the Chapter, guided by a sense of Order, has approved the internal restructuring of the OAR. In order to achieve an authentic Augustinian Recollect experience, boost the fraternal life in common, undertake the mission entrusted to us by the Church, and be where we are most needed, the 55th General Chapter has decided to organize the Order into four (4) provinces:
PROVINCE 1: the merging of the Provinces of St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentine
PROVINCE 2: the merging of the Provinces of Consolation and Candelaria
PROVINCE 3: the merging of the Provinces of St. Joseph, St. Rita of Cascia, and St. Thomas of Villanueva
PROVINCE 4: Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno whose presence will be extended in a new country in Asia