Augustinian Laity Congress: Rome July 2012
The third Augustinian Laity Congress was held in Rome from 12th – 16th July. The theme was “Being the Body of Christ for the World Today”. The first two days of the Congress consisted of meeting from 9 am to 8 pm commencing with prayer, a guest speaker followed by working groups and their secretaries' reports. In the afternoon round table presentations, working groups and secretaries' reports. Both days were concluded with the Eucharist followed by dinner in the Garden at 8.30 pm. The speaker for the first day was Dr Joseph T. Kelley, his theme, of course, being the Body of Christ covering topics; Union with Christ through Baptism, We Are parts of Christ's body,
The Church is Christ itself and finally from Matthew 25:34-40: Friendship, Justice and Solidarity. The theme for the Round Table was “The Family” - six people presented, including Ian & Gwen Harding from Clare. The second day's talk was by Mons. Giovanni Scanavino. His talk was in three parts; To be the Body of Christ, Full Communion and the Building up of the City of God and finally The Celebration of the Eucharist – Salvation for All. This was followed by the second round table; “Lay Augustinians”; speakers from five Laity Co-ordinators.
Saturday was a day “off” and many went on an excursion to Cassia for the day, (St Rita). On Sunday, Mass was in Sant'Agostino in Rome and at 5.30 pm we re-convened for the third Round Table on “Youth” in which Claire Webster our Provincial Youth Worker was a member of the panel of seven, all gave very positive and encouraging talks.
Monday was our last day, commencing with Mass at Sant'Anna's we were quickly into talking about the FAS: Augustinian Secular Fraternities. This was followed in the afternoon with the General Assembly discussing the way forward and methods to elect new Co-ordinators. Each Region had their own meeting and agreed on their own way of voting for their Co-ordinators. Europe agreed to have a Representative for each country (13) and these people would themselves elect from within their number three Co-ordinators to represent Europe at the full International Meetings. The members present from our Province committed us to elections for our Representative by January 2013.
The Congress opened and closed with the parading and laying of flags at the front of the stage from all the Nations represented within the Augustinian Laity. Special concern for those Nations unable to make the Congress, (mainly African) with a prayer and desire they will be able to attend at the next Laity Congress in 2018.A photograph of all the participants was taken on the steps to the Congress Hall and the evening ended with countries taking turns to entertain in the Gardens after Dinner.
The coming together of people from all over the world was a true demonstration of “The Whole Christ”, many new friendships were made and the only way is of One Body and one Heart and Mind!Ian & Gwen Harding
Links to videos, presentations, photos & websites:
The Augustinian Family around the World - [Dr Joe Kelley, Merrimack University]
The Millennium Chapel, Malta - [John Grech]