From 6th to 9th January Fr Alejandro Moral Anton OSA, Prior General, accompanied by the Assistant General for the Asia-Pacific (Fr Tony Banks OSA) undertook the first visitation of a Prior General to an Augustinian community in Saigon, Vietnam
Also present during the visitation was Fr Peter Jones OSA , Provincial of Australia. Fr Andy Rivera OSA, Province of Cebu was also visiting Vietnam at this time as was Fr John Murray OSA currently residing and ministering in Thailand but a de familia member of the Vietnam community.
The community was established in August 2019 when Frs Minh-Tan Hoang , Trần Kim Phú (Prior) and Michael Sullivan, from the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, Australasia took up their assignment there. This was a significant turning point, since over the preceding 16 years the Australian Province had welcomed candidates from Vietnam, who received all or most of their formation in Australia.
Since 2019 the first community has faced many challenges (especially the covid lockdown). However, through God’s providential care and the community’s own commitment and courage much has been achieved. At the time of the visitation of the Prior General, in the community in Vietnam there are four solemnly professed members of the Province (all ordained priests), one temporary professed who is studying philosophy and six residential aspirants who are being guided in their vocational discernment. At the regional Asia Pacific novitiate in Talisay, Cebu there are four Vietnamese novices, and in Manila, Philippines, there is a Vietnamese pre-novice who is undertaking English language studies. In Australia there is one Vietnamese solemnly professed who is about to ordained a deacon and another temporary professed who is in the final year of his theological studies.
The greatest satisfaction for the Prior General during his visit to Vietnam was time spent with the brothers. In addition to this there were visits to Bishops with whom the community has a connection, visiting of sites (land, building) that offer possibilities for establishing a canonical house in Vietnam (necessary for formal ecclesial and then civil registration) and, as the current Lunar Year draws to a close, a joyous Thanksgiving Mass followed by celebratory lunch with numerous family, friends and supporters of our brothers in Vietnam.
The Prior General is grateful for the welcome received among the brothers in one of our newest locations.