Father Augustine had a rich and fulfilling life. Having completed his studies at the University of St. Thomas in Rome, he was ordained for the Diocese of Palai in 1952. Soon his abilities were put to good use by his Bishop, Joseph Pallikaparampill, who gave him a number of responsibilities in the Chancery Office. But after a few years he seized on an opportunity and established a private school "The Alphonsa English Medium School" which still boasts of 400 enrolled students.
He came into contact with the Order of the Adorno Fathers in 1989 when the then Superior General, Fr. Mario Salon, was visiting Kerala and the Bishop of Palai. An invitation was extended and accepted: Fr. Augustine visited Germany and Italy. At some point he expressed his wish to enter the Order, and in 1995 he formally professed our vows.
Being the first Adorno Father of Indian Origin, he was a great help in the initial steps of the Order's settlement in Mallikassery. He followed the construction of our Seminary there and was following with interest and pride the 22 seminarians currently in training, when he was suddenly called from this life.
The Adorno Fathers have lost a brother on earth, but are certain to have gained a friend in heaven who prays for the growth of our presence in India. Thank you, Lord for giving us, Father Augustine!
We are often asked about life in the community of the Adorno Fathers. I can run down a million things to say about how we go through our daily life. But there is only one thing that will describe our way of living, and that is a simple family life in this place called House of Formation . . . our Home.
Here, we experience that fraternal life in love, a life shared in love which is a sign of ecclesial communion. We are trained to become future evangelical disciples which demands a readiness to serve generously, ability to forgive, and to accept people as they are. We learn to share everything in common, such as: material things, our spirituality, charity, talents and ideals. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in each individual that leads to being one in Christ. An individual can share his God given gifts with others. This is done through mutual love. It is a love nourished by the Eucharist and prayer. It is through the Holy Spirit that this love leads into communion with the Father and with Jesus Christ, in order for us to carry out our mission of service to the Church and to the people.
The Eucharist is part of our daily life. In unity, we pray for one another and for the whole world. Work is an essential element of our everyday task as in: maintenance of the seminary, working for our Country Fair, errands, cooking, serving, fixing things and a lot more. Learning plays a major role in our formation. Thus for our theological studies, we go to Seton Hall University. Here in our seminary, we learn to say, "Il ragazzo mangia la pizza," through our Italian classes with Fr. Nicholas and grow deeper in our spiritual life and knowledge of the Order through our novitiate classes, and the postulants have their conferences with Fr. Michael. The nourishment of our mind and soul is coupled with physical development through basketball, table tennis, soccer or lifting weights in our gym. Retreats and recollections are part of our formation into the religious life. They help us focus deeper into ourselves and see how God works within our hearts. Field trips and going out are always part of our experiences to broaden our horizon. As you can see, we are here in our so-called home for a total development of ourselves to become effective disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a place where we can be comfortable, laugh at ourselves, even cry those tears we've been holding back, a time to remember, to play, have fun and open ourselves to receive the glory of God through the daily Eucharist. In this home of ours, we are safe, cared for, loved pray and commune together, and can even be vulnerable, here we are understood, we grow, mature and develop as future priests or brothers for the greater glory of the Risen Christ.