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Father General presides over the meeting of the Union of Augustinian Friars of Africa

Over the week of 11-16 March, a meeting was convened under the regional umbrella body of the Union of Augustinian Friars of Africa (UAFA) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Friars from the four African circumscriptions (the Province of Nigeria and the Vicariates of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania) and the other missions of the continent (Annaba, South Africa, Togo and the Republic of Benin) were brought together.

Chaired by the Prior General of the Order of St Augustine, Fr Alejandro Moral, who was accompanied by Assistant General for Africa, Fr Edward Daleng, the meeting was guided by the theme: "Community life, the axis around which Augustinian life revolves (Const. No. 26) - Charting the way of the UAFA". 

Following a lengthy period when the group was unable to meet due to the pandemic, Fr Daleng described the meeting as "an urgent invitation to live the essence of the Augustinian call to the service of the Church." 

Marked by a "wonderful experience of renewal, joy, satisfaction and hope", more than thirty friars gathered in Tanzania to pray and reflect on the life, mission and challenges of the Order in Africa, motivated by a shared ambition: the active search for common solutions in order to move forward more united in the Augustinian charism.  

Fr Alejandro to members of the UAFA: "What is the world asking of us?" 

In his message to the friars of the UAFA, the Prior General recalled the synodal path in which "we Augustinians have said that we want to walk together, united in heart and soul, without forsaking our individuality." He continued, saying, “This is something that enriches the whole and helps us to face, with increased hope, the challenges presented by this continent… Only through true communal discernment - whether among the members of a community, or circumscription, or the wider Order - and guided by the Spirit, can we come to know what the ‘kairos’ is and so better understand our life and our history, and then make the best possible decisions… Brothers, what is the world asking of us gathered here? Clarifying, communicating and sharing this answer is of critical importance. Our future depends on it.” 

Community: the Order's mission in Africa to reach a "better us"

"Charting a new path in Africa means maintaining the uniqueness of our spirituality and charism through strong communities," Assistant General Fr Daleng indicated on his return to Rome, "we want to offer opportunities for our brothers to engage in the different apostolates that the circumscriptions deem appropriate.” 

Therefore, the meeting sought to create an opening for collaboration so that all the Augustinian friars of Africa may pool together their resources, talents and initiatives in order to firmly root the life of the Order in the continent so that it may have the capacity to influence and then transform society.

At the same time, Prior Provincial of Nigeria and President of UAFA, Fr Anthony Kanu, encouraged participants to meditate on their own identity: "Who we are, how we have been, and how we can become a better us together."   

Vocation ministry and initial formation under review

The compelling need for smoother collaboration between the various parts of the UAFA in vocation ministry and initial formation was clearly identified. To address this, it was agreed to intensify efforts through the exchange of students between the various circumscriptions in order to foster a better understanding of the Augustinian reality in the different African regions. To facilitate this, the decision was made to prepare more friars to serve as formators in order to better accompany the students in our novitiates and houses of formation.

Ongoing formation, the renewal programme, sustainability, the creation of a new culture for the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults, the promotion of youth ministry, care of the environment, and problems arising from armed conflicts and migration, were the other issues addressed by the Augustinian friars of Africa during this most recent meeting of the UAFA. 



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