On 23 September last, the General Curia commemorated fifty years since Fr Alejandro Moral made his simple profession on 12 September 1973. These celebrations are in addition to those that took place in June in the Monastery of La Vid in Burgos, Spain
In a festive atmosphere, and in the company of his confreres in the community of the General Curia, Fr Alejandro celebrated a full life dedicated to the Order. Half a century - no more, no less - from when he set out on his seminary career to today. A journey rich in variety: beginning as a formator, and returning to the formator role again later, bursar, councillor of the former Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Spain, and Provincial of that Province. Then it was time for him to alight in Rome, a city he already knew from his time as a student at the Collegio Santa Monica - of which he has many fond memories - and to which he returned to serve as Assistant General. It is here where he remains today after accepting the mandate of the General Chapter which placed him at the head of the Order of St Augustine ten years ago.
It’s been an adventure which, in short, the Prior General describes as "long, not always easy, but profoundly beautiful, enriching, and suffused with Augustinian spirituality and encounter." He continues, “From the time I joined the Order at 18, and up to today, it has been a long journey. It is true that life’s experiences change how we understand things" but he also makes clear that after this time what remains is a deep "gratitude for the people I have met … The most beautiful thing about this journey is being with God, the inner pilgrimage, and being able to receive God’s love and share it through my brothers, because whoever does not love his brother, does not love God."
The day was marked by other significant milestones in the life of the Curia. These included the 60th anniversary of the profession of Fr Jack Flynn, Under-Secretary General, and of Fr Mario Bettero, who was for many years parish priest at St Peter's in the Vatican. In addition, Fr Javier Pérez Barba, Assistant General for Southern Europe, was commemorating the silver jubilee (25 years) of his own profession, and it was he who recalled, during the homily of the Mass presided by Fr Alejandro, that first call which lingers in the soul of the religious "like an angel who leaves, as he left for Mary at the Annunciation; and like a seraph who returns with an ember in his hand, as he came to Isaiah, the man with impure lips.” He continued, speaking of that first love, pure in its intention, which has driven us to stride out on a journey that has lasted 25, 50, 60 years, yearning like St Paul to reach the One by whom we have already been reached, so that Like Paul we too can say every day of the rest of our lives, with the same pure intention as at the outset and despite the dust of the road, that “I count all things as worthless, so that I may win Christ.” Fr Javier added, "25 or 50 or 60 years of journeying to the shared rhythm of toil and psalms. Communion in Christ, work and prayer. 25 or 50 or 60 years of walking in the footsteps of Christ the man in order to reach Christ the God."
After the Eucharist, a meal was shared in an atmosphere of profound brotherhood, and at which the jubilarians addressed words of thanks to God, to the Order, and to the community for their closeness and affection. In his own address, the Prior General acknowledged in front of those present that "without the Grace and help of God, nothing can be done. We have been walking with Him, with His strength, with His encouragement. It is He who shows us where to go. Let us follow Him.”