Augustinians for Justice and Peace and Care of Creation
Fr Paul Graham O.S.A. and Sr Anne Olayemi Falola O.L.A. of the Africa Working Group of the Unions of Superior Generals, 6 Dec 2019
‘[You] can assist the community of nations on the way to peace, sisterhood and brotherhood...’. With these words, Pope Francis addressed the Fourth Forum of Catholic Inspired Non-Governmental Organisations, which took place in Rome, 5-7 December 2019. The theme was Toward a More Inclusive Society. Among the organisations present were: Aid to the Church in Need, Caritas International, Community of Sant’Egidio, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Pax Christi.
Present at the Forum was Fr Tony Banks, OSA, Assistant General, representing Augustinians International, an organisation of the Augustinian Order that uses its extensive network of institutions in nearly fifty countries to promote human, cultural and social development through education, training, development assistance, empowerment, protection of human rights and care for creation.
To further its work, Augustinians International is linked to the United Nations Department of Public Information, with an Augustinian friar based in New York as a full-time representative with a lay staff. The current representative is Fr Bob Dueweke OSA, who took over from Fr Emeka Obiezu in 2016. This work of the Augustinians is in fulfilment of its Constitutions (#185), which read: We are to listen attentively to the concerns of the Church and Society… such as: the defence of human life, human rights, the situation of migrants, the dignity of women, the protection of youth, justice and peace, a more balanced economic order, the conservation of nature.
Also, 2-6 December 2019, Fr Paul Graham OSA, Assistant General with responsibility for social justice and the care of creation, attended a workshop entitled New Wine and a Call to Holiness organised by the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation commission of the Unions of Superior Generals of the male and female congregations. The issues discussed included human trafficking, migrants, the experience of women in society, and the environment. Pope Francis’s encyclical on our ‘common home’, the world, Laudato Si’, was frequently referred to. The General Council of the Order will be discussing some of the issues raised at the workshop.