Our organisation has been very pro-active over the past fifteen years in hosting five National Congresses in different States and cities, each with international and local speakers who have contributed to our understanding of Augustine’s perception on what it means to be a Christian. Congress 2016 comes with a difference, in that instead of one weekend in one city where people have to travel far to attend, we are bringing the program to you so that as many people as possible can experience the warmth and humanity of Augustine without having to leave their homes.
One of the tasks that will be mine to perform at the conclusion of this 2016 Congress will be to commission Jacky Worthington as the new National Leader, and Maureen Atkins as Formation Coordinator in their roles of service for the coming three years. It will also be an opportunity to thank Mary McCormick and Sylvia Phillips for their tireless efforts in providing leadership beyond the call of duty during their time in office.
I am delighted that the topic Fr Czar Emmanuel Alvarez OSA has prepared deals with ‘Reflections on the Works of Mercy’ as this provides us with a stepping stone to prayer on a number of levels, and a launching pad from prayer to real action in the world of today. If Augustine had merely concentrated on Divine Justice as God’s way of dealing with the complexity of human behaviour, his ethical position might truly have been considered by his critics as pessimistic.
But, as we will discover during the course of our Retreat day, he was confident of Divine Mercy, and that hope made his Christian ethics not pessimistic, but optimistic. The world might be growing old and failing, yet Christ remains eternally young and brings renewed youth to those who put their faith in him.
(The Retreat Day mentioned above took place on Saturday, 23 July 2016 at St Kieran’s Parish Centre (North Harbour Parish) in the Sydney suburb of Manly Vale, Australia.)