- Towards an Augustinian Recollect Family with a greater sense of solidarity: A Proposal for revitalization and restructuring of our socio-evangelizing work
02-06-2016 Madrid, Spain
The forth-coming 55th General Chapter offers the Augustinian Recollect family the opportunity to include its social action program in its process of revitalization and restructuring. It deals with an opportunity to see another sign of the times.
An opportunity and a sign of the times

The NGO Haren Alde has submitted a proposal to the Chapter, which we want to present to all the members of our Family through this. The work of the missionaries, the campaign to raise public awareness, the protection of Creation, volunteerism or the development projects are dimensions that strengthen the Augustinian Recollect charism. They as well support revitalization and serve as ideal channels of communication with the society and vocations. We are, therefore, convinced that they must be safeguarded, improved and implemented.


Point of departure

Solidarity is a necessary dimension of the Augustinian Recollect spirituality; to lose, omit or weaken such experience would mean to exclude a part of our identity and mission. Moreover, it supports our personal and communitarian revitalization, the experience of the evangelical counsels and the prophetic testimony of consecrated life; it is a way that is always open to dialogue with the world, to vocation promotion and to mission that is genuinely shared.

At present, the OAR Family has some twenty associations and support groups, a provincial commission on missions and social development, organizations. Some of them have civil recognition… Most of them work in search for funds.

We have some challenges within this field. We want to mention some: the great complexity of the society and of the problems emerging from social injustice that demands coordinated and unified response; our lack of coordination; duplication of efforts; our unclear sense of belongingness; individual projects; reluctance to change; or even some kind of competition which is neither proper nor helpful to anybody.

The process of revitalization and restructuring would not be complete or it could even be a failure, if it would not revitalize and restructure our socio-evangelizing apostolate.


Double Proposal: a Secretariat and a network of solidarity

• SECRETARIAT ON SOCIAL APOSTOLATE

In Haren Alde, we believe that the OAR Family requires a structure that strengthens, boosts, promotes and coordinates its charity and solidarity works, as it is being done in the field of spirituality, formation, education apostolate and pastoral ministry.

Thus, we have proposed to the Chapter the creation of the a General Secretariat on Social Apostolate that would coordinate with the Provincial Secretariats on Social Apostolate. Its objective is “to awaken, nourish and accompany the spirit of mission, justice and universal solidarity that is proper of the Church and of the Augustinian Recollect charism as it makes this dimension a transversal axis of the life and of the pastoral and missionary activity of the Augustinian Recollect family.”

This will facilitate the coordination of so many aspects that go far beyond fund-raising. To name some of these aspects, we have: Justice and Peace, Integrity of Creation, Migration, Development education, social and political advocacy, collaboration and participation in similar institutions, volunteerism, sponsorships, development projects, support for the missions with human, technical and economic resources…

It would be a very simplistic idea to describe the social apostolate as “the rich giving money to the poor.” In fact, the socio-evangelizing work has parallel aspects that encompass each community, parish, school, mission, initial formation, and continuous formation program, ARY (Augustinian Recollects Youth), the Secular Fraternities, the general and provincial administrations, the vicariates and delegations, civil, local and national Church authorities, vocation ministry…

It is necessary to approve common plans of action, to propose an effective and realistic calendar so that the voice of the poor may be heard everywhere. It is also important to train new religious in this field and to foster in them a certain kind of endearment for the mission, to pass common norms for the creation of new projects and to assure the continuity of the existing ones, to coordinate with the whole OAR Family (nuns, religious sisters, Fraternities, ARY, families of religious)…


• AUGUSTINIAN RECOLLECT SOLIDARITY INTERNATIONAL

While the Secretariat takes charge of the internal matters, a network of the social organizations of the Augustinian Recollect family would deal with the social aspect and direct work. Its task is to coordinate, complement and facilitate the management of NGOs, groups and associations formed within the OAR charism. The Secretariat would be the “matrix” that ensures the “spirit,” the “charismatic motivation,” and the sense of belongingness. It likewise evaluates its work.

The network makes practical its day-to-day work in order to coordinate activities, manage projects, solicit funds, form and manage the volunteers, relate with other similar entities and the society, raise awareness among the religious, the faithful and students, to offer materials and to maintain communication with the society in general.

In this Network, all of us who work in the social field shall follow one same objective with a mentality based on one same charism. It will employ similar work methods and shall be under the watchful eye and guidance of the Secretariat. In such manner, there shall be no social projects nor support organizations that are personal and not communitarian, solely depending on one person. Thus it avoids competition among themselves.

The social impact grows exponentially. New persons from wider areas of expertise come to us, while unity is strengthened with those who already work with us. Financers, partners, collaborators, sponsors, donors, lay volunteers and the religious can see a social task that is unified, committed, recognized and supported by all its members. Thus, we can say that we are a family with a sense of solidarity which is organized and works together according to the ideals of saint Augustine.

© HAREN ALDE - In benefits of those in need. NGO of the Order of Agustinian Recollects. General Dávila, 5, bajo D. 28003 - Madrid, Spain. Phone and fax: 915 333 959. NIF: G-31422793. Registered in the National Association Register with the number 115.324. Declared of Public Use in July 17, 2000.
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