SARF-Vicariate of USA Newsletter (August-September 2020)


Late summer greetings to all our Secular Augustinian Recollects, Guild members, and the Hispanic Committee as well as our parishioners at Sacred Heart Church!

Feast of St. Augustine, 2020, Sacred Heart Church in Suffern, NY. The men behind the masks: Frs. John Gruben and Michael Rafferty, OAR

Augustinian Celebrations. All of the Augustinian feasts in August were impacted this year by the ongoing restrictions on gatherings due to the Covid-19 virus. All liturgical celebrations and other spiritual activities continue to be held at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern. Fr. John Gruben presided at the Mass celebrating the Feast of St. Ezekiel Moreno (August 19), but without the customary rite of anointing of the sick that has been offered to the faithful in previous years. Fr. John also presided at the Mass for the Feast of St. Monica (August 27), and Fr. Michael Rafferty for the Feast of St. Augustine (August 28). Many of our SAR and Guild members attended these services or were able to watch them at home via the live stream feature of the parish website The friars have regularly visited Fr. John Oldfield, who is still in residence at St. Joseph Home in Sloatsburg, NY, and has not been able to leave the premises due to the pandemic. There are plans to resume regular SAR and Guild meetings via zoom conferences until regular meetings can be safely conducted. The community is grateful for the regular support of our Recollect brothers in Union City, NJ, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery who help especially with weekend Masses.

Remembering: Sr. Maureen Francis O’Shea (2nd from r) joined the Tagaste community for the annual Guild Communion Breakfast, Christmas, 2018. Others (l to r): Peggy Evans (former Guild president) Jolanta Choinska (assistant at St. Zita’s), and Frs. John Gruben and Charles Huse, OAR

Memorial Mass at St. Zita’s. In a previous issue (Spring, 2020) we mentioned that Sr. Maureen Francis O’Shea, superior of the Srs. of Reparation of St. Zita and several residents of the Villa had died early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, and that a Memorial Mass would be held at St. Zita’s Villa in Monsey, NY, when circumstance would allow. The Mass was held on the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15, with Fr. John Gruben as celebrant. Present were members of Sr. Maureen’s family, residents and staff of St. Zita’s, and friends of the community. In his homily, Fr. John touched on the close relationship between the Augustinian Recollects and the Sisters of Reparation, which was established in the early 1950s when Tagaste Monastery first opened its doors, and progressed over the years. Sr. Maureen is fondly remembered by many Recollects who passed through Tagaste and who experienced the hospitality and joyful spirit of the Sisters, who always included the friars in their seasonal celebrations. The assembly also remembered Sr. Mary John Burke, last living member of the congregation, who is currently in residence at the Joe Raso Hospice Center in New City, NY. A lunch was held for all those who attended  the Memorial immediately following the Mass in the Sacred Heart Hall of St. Zita’s.

Guild Meeting. The next meeting of the Pius X Guild will be held on Sunday, September 20 at 10 am on the front porch of Tagaste Monastery.

Anniversary celebration. Fr. Francisco (Paco) Legarra, assisted by Fr. John Gruben, presided over the celebration of the 25th Wedding Anniversary of Justino (Tino) and Lucero Ruiz who are long-time friends and supporters of Tagaste Monastery. Congratulations Tino and Lucero!

Silver Jubilee: Frs. Paco Legarra (l) and John Gruben join Lucero and Tino Ruiz and their family on the occasion of their 25th Wedding Anniversary at Sacred heart Church on September 5, 2020
Revealing identities of the happy couple:
Lucero and Tino Ruiz

SAR meeting. It is our hope to resume meetings of the fraternity in October, after recessing since the beginning of the pandemic. There will be an announcement about our next meeting in the next few weeks.

Our continued prayers for all the members of the Augustinian Recollect family and especially for the members of our Province of St. Nicholas of Tolentine as we prepare to celebrate the 4th centenary of the founding of the Province.

Labor Day visit. Although the Sisters at St. Joseph Villa in Sloatsburg, NY, had to cancel their traditional Labor Day barbecue for the residents and their families because of health concerns, Fr. John Oldfield (l) and John Gruben took the opportunity to visit for this end-of-the-summer holiday

Fr. John Gruben, OAR
Theresa Giampaglia, SAR president
Connie Montanye, Guild president

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SARF-USA Correspondent

SARF-USA Correspondent