Ecuadorian Mission

From Chone to Chibunga

A truck on the road in Ecuador.

In the 1970s the Irish Augustinian Mission in Ecuador extended from Chone in the south to Chibunga in the North. Today we have downsized somewhat to three areas, Convento, Novillo and Flavio Alfaro which cover an area roughly the size of Co. Wexford and includes almost eighty Chapels. Over that area, over 1000 Baptisms a year take place which gives an indication of the size of the population.

The Augustinian life is about living together in harmony as we journey with God and to God. We have been present in Ireland since shortly after the Order was founded in 1256. So our roots in Ireland are deep and longstanding. As an international order, we are numbered in the thousands worldwide. However, currently here in Ireland, we have 82 friars. While there are many challenges in Ireland we are excited about the opportunities they offer us. As it is the challenges of life that provide the greatest growth. So as things change rapidly in Ireland it is worth remembering Thaddeus of Vitovnica words,

Everything is changing; nothing remains static.

In our conversations and our meetings with people, we recognise the truth of this changing environment. However, our tradition and history provide an inspiration for us and many others. As it is our tradition and history that shows us how life ebbs and flows over time, all the while leading us deeper into God’s great mystery of love.

Today the Ecuadorian Augustinians retain the parish of St. Rita but when we arrived there in the 1970s, it was the only centre that could be said to have a well-built Chapel. Back then, local communities tended to build their own Chapels because they gave the village status. This could be quite a burden on the Priest who was expected to turn up regularly to say Mass and attend village Fiestas. In Flavio County, there were just 13 Chapels and today there are nearly 60.

Healthcare

We were not just concerned with our parishioners’ spiritual well-being. A lot of time and effort went into healthcare, helping the sick pay for prescriptions and facilitating volunteer APSO Nurses’ work. Later, Chris Fitzgerald OSA built the first Health Clinic in Santa Rita, and Paul O’Connor OSA built the State Hospital in Flavio Alfara.

The great work of the sisters was invaluable to our mission in Ecuador. The Irish Presentation sisters will remain forever in Flavio and Chone’s memory, especially for their social work and their commitment to family catechesis. The Franciscan and Dominican sisters too contributed greatly to our mission’s success.

Although our Irish Missionaries in Ecuador have dwindled to one, Fr. Ted McCarthy in Convento, we are confident that the ship is being expertly steered by local Augustinians and the local communities we shared so much of our lives with.

A Missionary’s Story, A Memoir.

Fr. Paul O’Connor OSA

T

he Augustinian way of life was founded to respond to the needs of the Church of the late 1200s. And it is this call to respond to the Church and peoples’ needs that still inspires us today. On this website, you will see our close involvement with our lay communities associated with our parishes, schools and churches around Ireland and our Lay Forum which is seeking ways to create communities of Augustinian life and spirit for these times. Our earliest traditions go back to Saint Augustine. Particularly in more recent years, we are rediscovering what a wonderfully rich legacy he has left us.

We respond to these needs at home and abroad. While most of us are in Ireland we still have a number of men in Nigeria, Ecuador, Kenya, North America, Australia and Rome. We also try to assist overseas projects, especially where there is other Augustinian’s present and where the needs are greatest. In recent times we have offered assistance in Korea, India, and DR Congo.

In Ireland we minister in three Dublin parishes: Meath Street, Finglas and Ballyboden and we run John’s Lane Church, where we have had a community since it was opened in 1874.

Our most northerly community is in Drogheda and we have two secondary schools, one in New Ross and another in Dungarvan. We also have a community running the church in Dungarvan town. We also have a church-run by our community in the ‘other’ capital, Cork, and a Church in Galway, Limerick and the town of Fethard in Tipperary.

People playing soccer in Ecuador.

A few Photos from Fr. Paul’s Ecuadorian work

A church in Ecuador.
Fr. Paul on horse back.
A religious festival in Ecuador.
Ecuadorian dancers.
A priest with people in Ecuador.
A church in Ecuador.
A baptism in Ecuador.
Ecuadorian dancers.
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ABOUT

The Augustinians are a Catholic Religious Order made up of both lay and religious people. Our life is about living together in harmony as we journey with God and to God.

USEFUL LINKS

CONTACT INFO

Augustinian Province of Ireland
St. Augustine’s,
Taylor’s Lane,
Ballyboden,
Dublin 16, D16YN32

Phone: 01-4851516
Email: [email protected]