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Fr Wilson Injarapu: "The OSAAP region actively contributes to the mission, with numerous friars serving around the world"

Updated: Apr 6

The Order of St Augustine in the Asia-Pacific Region (OSAAP) has elected its new president and vice-president: Fr Wilson Viswanath Injarapu OSA, vicar superior of the Vicariate of India, has been elected president, and Fr Futoshi Matsuo OSA, superior of the Delegation of Japan, has been appointed vice-president.

The election took place on 14 January 2024 during the meeting of the superiors of the OSAAP circumscriptions at the Minor Basilica of the Santo Niño in Cebu. Prior General, Fr Alejandro Moral Antón, and Assistant General, Fr Tony Banks, were also present. "Embracing the spirit of service, I consider it a great privilege to serve the Order in our region. The trust placed in me by our brothers - the major superiors of the region - is both an honour and a responsibility. The main duty of my office is to coordinate and foster collaboration among the seven circumscriptions, making sure that we work together harmoniously, as one family within the Order," Fr Wilson told this office.

The work of OSAAP

The two new OSAAP leaders are considered young among the superiors. According to Fr Peter Jones, Prior Provincial of the Province of Australia, their election implies the need for "a young and vigorous leadership that can respond anew to the Order's approach to evangelisation in the region." 

We spoke with the new president of OSAAP to find out what he considers are the challenges facing the seven Augustinian circumscriptions in Asia and Oceania: the Province of Cebu, headquartered in that city; the Province of the Most Holy Name of the Child Jesus in the Philippines, headquartered in Manila; the Province of Australia; the Vicariates of India, Japan and West Papua (Indonesia), and the Delegation of Korea are, in the words of the new president, "a joint expression of the Augustinians in this part of the world to work together in common projects."

In practical terms - in addition to reviewing the circumscriptions, the work of the committee, and promoting the consultation work on synodality - Fr Wilson highlighted his overarching focus as head of OSAAP to include the Augustinian Novitiate of Asia Pacific (APAN) based in Talisay (Cebu), the regional Renewal Programme, and various meetings of specific interest groups, from formators to vocation directors and younger Augustinians in ministry, as well as considering potential new mission territories."

An urgent challenge: the lack of vocations

Fr Wilson will have to liaise directly with Fr Tony Banks, Assistant General for Asia and the Pacific, something he believes is critical: "His guidance will rally us as we move forward in terms of collaboration. For the next few years, we still need to recognise the importance of understanding and addressing the particular needs of each circumscription, especially those that may require additional support," explains the new OSAAP president.

The Asia-Pacific region offers many opportunities for growth, given the Order's youth and rapid expansion. However, Fr Wilson also sees challenges ahead, such as "the lack of vocations in regions like Japan and South Korea", as well as political situations affecting the Church and economic instability due to limited resources in some countries. "These issues need our careful attention, and we are committed to facing any challenges with resilience and creativity.”

In the context of the approaching synod, the new OSAAP president stresses the pivotal role of the Asia-Pacific region both in the universal Church and in the Order: "The encouraging growth of vocations in some circumscriptions is a beacon of hope for the future of the Order. This region actively participates in the Order’s universal mission, with numerous friars serving throughout the world, collaborating with different circumscriptions. The energetic participation of the laity, particularly among young people, reflects their engagement with the activities of the Augustinians in these regions".

Signing off, Fr Wilson acknowledges his passion for what his new role offers: "I am excited about the road ahead, and look forward to working with my brothers to meet any challenges and explore new avenues of growth together." 



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