Augustinian Recollect Youth Synod: a commitment to walk together

The Augustinian Recollect Youth presented the message and proposals that emerged from the First Augustinian Recollect Youth Synod, held in Salamanca, Spain, in July 2023.

Under the motto “Courage, Arise, he is calling you!”, inspired by the story of Bartimaeus, this meeting was a response to the need of the Augustinian Recollect Youth to be heard and to revitalize the movement, which already has 28 years of trajectory. During the synod, spaces for listening were opened and the different realities embraced by the Augustinian Recollect Youth around the world were shared. The dreams, needs and perspectives of each country were put in common, all with the same objective: to continue walking together.

The Augustinian Recollect charism was the north that guided the participants in this synod, transcending the barriers of language and culture to give way to synodality and face the challenges that arise. The axes on which this meeting revolved were: vocation and identity, charism and spirituality, formation and accompaniment, and mission and evangelization.

Miguel Angel Hernandez, in a message to all the religious of the Order, asked the Augustinian Recollect family: “ (…) the Synod cannot be an event that is already in the past, without greater transcendence. I would like and I invite the religious advisors to (collaborate with the regional teams of the Augustinian Recollect Recollect Augustinian Recollect Recollect Youth that have been created) and to return frequently to the Synod, like the father of the family who brings out of the treasury old and new things (Mt 13:52)”.

The following is the final message and the proposals that emerged from the First Synod JAR 2023, in a commitment to continue walking together.

Final Message of the Synod

Dear Brothers and Sisters.
Do you know the story of Bartimaeus? The story tells that Jesus was on his way to Jericho, when suddenly a blind man standing by the side of the road called his name. When they tried to silence him, he shouted louder. When Jesus heard this, he sent his disciples to call him. They said to him, “Courage, arise, he is calling you! Bartimaeus threw off his cloak and leaped up to meet them. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you? Immediately the blind man answered, “Lord, that I may see”. Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you”. Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the road (Mk 10:46-52).
This Synod arose from the cry of the Augustinian Recollect Youth who need to be heard. Having completed 28 years of pilgrimage, the Order of Augustinian Recollects gave us young people the opportunity to share our feelings, needs and dreams about the reality of each country where we live. Like Bartimaeus, we seek to divest ourselves of absolute truths, to make ourselves permeable to the experience and opinions of our brothers and sisters where the Spirit is present.
This sharing highlighted the passion for following Christ through the Augustinian Recollect charism that has the capacity to transcend the limits of culture and language. Moreover, the experience of sharing, not opposing ideas but building, made tangible one of the distinctive notes of our movement: community. In this way, the synod members, young people and religious, were able to generate an atmosphere of serious and committed work, dealing with the axes that run through the life of our movement: vocation and identity, charism and spirituality, formation and accompaniment, mission and evangelization. We realized the importance of these themes when, in sharing and confronting experiences, we perceived a feeling of hope that unites us and encourages us to follow Jesus more closely as Augustinian Recollect Youth.
The Synod has marked us and involved us in an integral way. There was no lack of laughter, fun, fraternal sharing and cultural exchange. Of course, prayer was always present, indeed, we prayed a lot for you! At every moment, we ask the Spirit to allow us to see with new eyes the needs in which the RAY are immersed.
How we would like you to be here! We are eager to return to our homes and begin to build together the youth movement we desire, listening to the voices of all, walking synodically and accompanying each other. We dream of a renewed RAY driven by the living encounter with God, who is capable of transcending all differences and of continuing to unsettle hearts for the building of the Kingdom here on earth. Therefore, it is necessary that these things do not remain on paper, as young people we recognize that we are truly agents of change in the realities in which we live, embodying this project of love that has the name of each one of us.
We want to thank each one of your prayers and the interest you showed in this great event. We thank the religious men and women of the OAR for making possible this space of listening and responding to this cry, we truly feel heard and accompanied! Also, to all you young people for continuing to say yes and betting on this way of life that unites us and keeps us in love with Jesus in the style of our father St. Augustine. Finally, we thank God for allowing us to travel long distances to meet and answer his call. We ask the intercession of our Mother of Consolation, to continue walking together towards Jesus.
Let us not give up! From here we want to tell you, just as the disciples told Bartimaeus, Courage, get up, Christ is calling you!
1st Synod of Augustinian Recollect Youth
26 July 2023