"We are happy to share with you this brief message as we prepare to celebrate the Augustinian International Youth Encounter which will take place from 19th to 25th July 2016 at Augustinian Monastery of Saint Dobrotiva near Prague, in Czech Republic. This kind of gathering is always a moment of grace, blessings and joy as young people from different parts of the world where Augustinians are actively involved in various apostolates come together to share their faith experiences, their vision of life inspired by the Gospel.
The theme of the Encounter is “Restlessness of the Heart among Young People: An Augustinian Response”. Restlessness and the continuous search for meaning is characteristically human but most especially it is typical of young people. Generally youths long for something new and challenging, they search seriously and sometimes aimlessly for a goal in life which could be obfuscated. St Augustine was inflamed with the desire for accomplishment in life, a good prospect in life. Yet he strayed. He was tireless in his struggles until he came to discover the Eternal Truth who alone satisfies all his longings.
In a more sophisticated world and time like ours, young people are in constant search for the new and for meaning in life to fill in the void within. It is not always clear what best can help them to cope and face the challenges. It is here that Augustine becomes a role model.
As we look forward to coming together, let us commit ourselves to the work of grace that has been freely lavished upon us so that the Augustinian Youth Encounter will be a source of blessings and hope in our witness to the joy of the gospel."
P. Edward Daleng, OSA
The Site of the Encounter
The AYE 2016 will take place at Saint Dobrotiva (“Svatá Dobrotivá”) Monastery and Church outside of Prague.
Founded in 1262 by Lord Oldřich Zajíc of Valdek, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Monastery with its church dedicated to St Benigna, called Svatá Dobrotivá in Czech, was the first Augustinian monastery in Bohemia, and marked the arrival of Augustinians in what is now the Czech Republic. Much of the present building derives from the late seventeenth century. The restoration of Svatá Dobrotivá Church is of utmost importance to the Augustinians in the Czech Republic not only because it was a very important medieval pilgrimage site but also the preservation of what was returned to them after Communism fell in 1989.
The Order of St Augustine has conducted eleven of these very successful international gatherings for young adults every few years since 1987. Right from the first Encounter at Lecceto in Italy in 1987, young adults attended not only from Europe but also for the United States, Latin America, Australia and Korea. After the Italian Augustinian hospitality of the first two Encounters, the third Encounter took place at the Augustinian Monastery of La Vid during Spain’s national year of celebration in 1992.
The fourth and fifth Encounters moved to Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Ireland in 1995 and to Munnerstadt, Germany in 1998 respectively. The sixth Encounter took place in Rome, Italy around the time of World Youth Day 2000 in that city. The seventh Encounter happened at the Augustinian fincha (park and retreat centre) at Guadarrama, which is near Madrid, Spain. It had young adults from all five continents.
Italy again was the host nation in 2006, with the eighth Encounter happening in the very Augustinian city of Pavia. Thus far, four nations have hosted the Encounter at least once, viz., Italy, Spain, Ireland and Germany. In July 2008 Australia joined the list as the fifth host nation, as well as being the first host nation outside of Continental Europe.
The Tenth Augustinian International Encounter for Young Adults took place near London, England in August 2010. The Eleventh Augustinian International Encounter for Young Adults happened at Sao Paolo in Brazil in July 2013.
The twelfth Augustinian International Youth Encounter is scheduled for Prague in the Czech Republic in July 2016, as indicated above. The number of AYE places available is 305 according to the following list: Spain 50 youth; Italy 25; Germany 5; Ireland10; Slovakia15, Malta 10; Poland 15; England 15; Latin America 70; USA 70; Australia 5; Asia 10; and Africa 5. Australia will be represented as indicated, and is one of the few nations that has attended almost all of the eleven previous encounters.