Graduation Ceremony of the Augustinian Institute Pieta’
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap
On Friday 1st April 2016 fifty participants for courses of academic year 2015-2016 at the Augustinian Institutewere awarded a certificate of attendance. The Eucharist was celebrated by Pierre Desira OSA, Associate Director of the Institute, together with Revd Dr Mark Sultana, Director of the Pastoral Formation Institute ofthe Archdiocese of Malta. The Poor Clares’ Community provided the choir singing for the Eucharistic Celebration.
The Director, Revd Professor Salvino Caruana OSA, then delivered a speech highlighting the major academic events for 2015-2016 and announced the topics for academic year 2016-2017. Professor Dr David J. Attard, Chancellor of the University of Malta, then spoke about the immense importance of the life and works of Augustine of Hippo, even in the legal sphere of knowledge and practice. He confessed his great pleasure and satisfaction at being present for such the graduation evening. He also expressed his thanks and gratitude for Prof. Caruana’s commitments at the Faculty of Theology and Dept. of Philosophy at the University of Malta, and especially for enhancing the University’s academic commitments thanks to the celebration of the Annual Saint Augustine Lecture, this year being its twentieth edition.
Professor Attard then presented Fr Salvino with a copy of the publication The Maltese Legal System vol. 1. Thesecretary of the Augustinian Institute, Ms Antoinette Borg, on behalf of the Institute presented Prof. Attard with a silver icon and a book on Augustine of Hippo. She also presented a cash gift on behalf of the Institute to theRevd Mother Abbess of the Poor Clare Cloistered Nuns, Sr Rose Théreèse Ellis. A reception in honour of Prof. D. Attard and Dr Mrs M. Attard and the graduates was held.
Saint Augustine is the Father of the Church who surely wrote the greatest number of works. Certain writings of this African Church Father had a decisive influence not only in the history of Christianity but also for the entire Western civilisation. In recent years there have been important discoveries of both letters and several collection of letters which undoubtebly amplified more our knowledge and esteem for the Bishop of Hippo. Possidius, Saint Augustine’s faithful friend and author of his biography entitled Vita Augustini, tells us that “he[Augustine] wrote and published many books, many sermons were delivered in church, transcribed and corrected, both to refute the various heresies and to interpret the Sacred Scriptures for the edification of the holy children of the Church. These works are so numerous that a scholar would find it difficult to read them all and learn to know them” (Vita Augustini, 18, 9).
In his general audience catechesis, delivered on February 20 2008, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed what Possidius wrote by saying that “today, more than 300 letters of the Bishop of Hippo and almost 600 homilies are extant, but originally there were far more, perhaps even as many as between 3,000 and 4,000, the result of 40 years of preaching by the former rhetorician who had chosen to follow Jesus and no longer to speak toimportant figures of the imperial court, but rather, to the simple populace of Hippo”.
Among his greatest works one finds the Confessiones, which were written in 13 books in the interim of 397 and 400. Composed in a dialogical form the Confessiones are a long hymn of praise to God. Another colossal work is De Civitate Dei, written between 413 and 426 in 22 books. Here Augustine objects to the pagans’ accusation that the fall of Rome at the hands of the Goths in 410 was the fault of the Christian God. In this work Augustine clarified what one expects and not to expect of God as well as analysed the rapport between the political field and the spiritual field as represented by the Church.
If you want to deepen your knowledge of who you are and who God is in your life why not follow a course at the Augustinian Institute? If you are interested kindly contact the Institute by writing to the following address: Augustinian Institute, PO Box 61 Imsida PO MSD1000. You can contact the director Rev Prof Salvino Caruana OSA on 21249407 or 99402102. Or the Institute’s secretary on 27010827 – 99450099.