Love, and do what you will!

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On Friday, March 8 2019, at the Augustinian Institute of Pietà, there was the graduation ceremony for the Academic year 2018-2019. This year’s graduation was presided by Mgr Alessandro d’Errico, Apostolic Nuncio for Malta.

At the beginning of the thanksgiving Mass, Mgr d’Errico highlighted the importance of studying St. Augustine and divulging his teaching in today’s Church and world. This was also the message of Fr Leslie Gatt OSA, the Provincial Minister of the Maltese Augustinian Friars. Fr Gatt accentuated the fact that the more one studies St. Augustine the more one can live an authentic Christian life as well as dialogue with his and her faith with the society we are living in.

Just before the giving of the certificates Fr Prof. Salvino Caruana OSA, the Director of the Augustinian Institute, made his speech for the occasion. Fr Salvino expressed his immense gratitude, honour and pleasure for the Apostolic Nuncio for Malta presence. Fr Salvino greatly appreciated the fact that the number of participants for this year’s courses was highly encouraging.

He reiterated that the lecturing staff for the Augustine For All series of 10 lectures which centred on Augustine of Hippo and some Fathers of the Church on Ecumenism, overtly showed to be a marvellous choice. One just needed to look at the faces of the participants at the conclusion of each lecture to observe the satisfaction, appreciation and a great sense of gratitude at the impressive effort the lecturers did so as to make the topic entrusted to them simple, clear and very engaging for everyone.

Undoubtedly, the 16 hours of the Lectio Augustini sessions, during which an interesting topic was developed, namely, Friends and friendship for Augustine, was also very welcomed. The study unit was completed by the projection of the well-known movie on Monnica and Augustine, Son of Her Tears.

Fr Salvino thanked the work of the newly elected Administrative Board composed by the President, Minister Provincial Fr Leslie Gatt OSA, Fr Pierre Desira OSA, Ms Antoinette Borg, secretary to the Board and administrative secretary, His Honour Judge Silvio Meli, Fr Professor Hector Scerri, Dr Ritienne Debono MD, Mr Andrè Debattista and myself. Fr Salvino also thanked heartily the outgoing members notary Dr Joe Debono and Dr Max Cassar. Other people who greatly helped in the successful organization and running of the academic year 2018-2019 are the Caruana family, Vincent, Rita and their daughter Diane. A heartfelt thanks also went to Fr Dr Jimmy Bonnici, Director of the Institute For Pastoral Formation for his kindness in inserting the Institute yearly academic programme of studies in the folder of the Institute and to Mr France Zammit, especially for the printing of certificates. Personally I appreciate Fr Salvino’s acknowledgement for my humble support in promoting the sterling academic efforts of the Augustinian Institute in the social media.

Fr Salvino said that in the coming academic year 2019-2020, will be completely reserved to a deep study of the thirteen books of Augustine’s The Confessions. But, this will be done with a difference! During each Friday session, 15 in all, a book will be focused on thanks to a hands-on method, with study-texts, handouts, questionaires provided, etc. Moreover, a 3-day Live-In will help to enhance the background of some more intensive aspects and texts from this great masterpiece of Our Holy Father Augustine. Finally, on January 3rd 2020, we will also share the joy of the launching of a Festschrift in honour of Fr Salvino’s 70th birthday, which falls on December 28. The enterprise has been kindly endorsed by the Augustinian Province, and the kind editorial efforts of Fr Professor Hector Scerri as well as the full support of Fr Salvino’s dear friend and colleague of KU Leuven, Professor Dr Anthony Dupont.

This extraordinary occasion brought to my heart and mind what the great Augustine wrote in his seventh homily on the First Epistle of John: Once for all, then, a short precept is given you: Love, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good (no. 8).

Love, and do what you will, indeed!

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