The Continuing Our Journey of Faith Campaign is the Augustinians' first capital campaign in 22 years. The campaign's focus is building up two key Augustinian trust funds: the Journey of a Lifetime Trust for our retired and infirm men, and the Fr. Ray Ryan, O.S.A. Trust to support men in formation and our vocations program. The two trusts are now underfunded by $15 million. The formal campaign goal will be set later in 2014. To date, we have over $2 million in gifts and multi-year pledges, as of the time of this article's publication. This article was published in the Winter 2014 issue of The Midwest Augustinian:
Written by the Rev. Robert F. Prevost, O.S.A.
For the past twelve years, I had the privilege of serving the Order of St. Augustine as Prior General, the leader of the Augustinians throughout the world. To say that these were eventful years would be an understatement, to say the least, since we are speaking of a period of time that began in September of 2001 (my election took place three days after 9-11), saw the last years of the Pontificate of Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II, the full 8 years of Pope Benedict’s service, and the first year of Pope Francis. Living in Rome (the headquarters of the Order is across the street from St. Peter’s Square), I was given a somewhat unique opportunity to be at the “nerve center” of the Church. Traveling around the world, visiting Augustinian missions and apostolates in over 50 different countries on every continent, I received an education that could never be duplicated. If I had to summarize twelve years in a few words, which is probably impossible, the central theme would have to be “Augustinians announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God.” In the truest sense of the word, it was an awesome experience! Now, once again “back home” in Chicago, I have been asked to take up the ministry of formation, directing the preparation of the men who have discerned a call to dedicate their lives to serving others in the Church as Augustinian priests and brothers. These men – and I’m happy to say that there is a growing number – have made a courageous decision to follow Christ in the spirit of St. Augustine, living in community and serving the Church in many different forms of mission or pastoral work. What brings people to the Augustinians today? Ultimately it is a response to God’s call. But the choice is made because they have seen what many others have seen. The vision of Augustine, based upon the model of Church lived in the Acts of the Apostles, is a source of life and an inspiration, based upon faith and upon an experience of the love of God present in our lives. It is the building of vriendships, of community, sharing life and faith with others in a way that helps each and every one of us to make sense out of life.
Along with my responsibilities as formation director, I was invited to take part in the upcoming Capital Campaign, Continuing Our Journey of Faith. Asked why I was willing to dedicate time and energy to the campaign, I responded quite simply “because I believe in the vision and mission of the Augustinians.” I have witnessed what it means, literally, to risk one’s life to preach the Gospel. I have seen firsthand how Augustinians have made a powerful difference in the lives of innumerable people. Many of the most influential people in my life were and are Augustinians. And today, some of them need our help. Just as important, in order for the mission to continue, the Augustinians need our help. And that is what the campaign is about. While the purpose of the campaign is primarily focused on care of our elderly brothers, and the formation of new Augustinians, there is not a doubt in my mind that continuing the mission would not be possible if it were not for all those who have been so generous in giving their lives totally to that mission, as well as for those who have been our greatest supporters for so many years. And I am confident that many of you will join us as we look to the future. The world needs our message. I am proud to be a part of the Augustinians, and through this campaign, we can guarantee the future of the mission. If you can help me and my brother Augustinians, please contact Michael Gerrity at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-595-4035. Michael can also put you in touch with any of the campaign leaders listed below: