This year, Fr. Henry Maibusch, O.S.A., will be celebrating 60 years of Augustinian priesthood. We interviewed Fr. Maibusch to reflect on his rich life of service and Catholic ministry. He will be honored as one of five Augustinian jubilarians this year at the Augustinians' Feasts of St. Augustine & St. Monica on August 27.
What was it initially that called you to be an Augustinian?
- The Divine Providence of God
- Good, steady upbringing in a solid, loving, Catholic family
- Outstanding examples of many Augustinian priests at St. Rita High School in Chicago during my four years in attendance: 1940-1946
What would you say the role is of the Augustinian Order today? How are the Augustinians still relevant in today’s society?
In view of a growing secular society, there is an even greater need of witness on the part of vowed religious life by Augustinians in:
- Christian, Augustinian Values-based education
- Meeting the needs of the Church in helping in the ministry in parishes
- Mission work in foreign countries
- Special apostolates in the Church
This is all the more true and important in these times with the shortage of vocations to ordained ministry in the priesthood or permanent diaconate, and vowed religious life.
You recently moved from the Augustinian Community at St. Rita Parish in Racine, Wisconsin, to community at St. Anthony Home in Crown Point, Indiana. How do you like living in your new community?
[I give] daily gratitude to God and to the Province; [I enjoy] still living in retirement in an Augustinian community (10 priests and brothers) with regular community life, prayer, and recreation.
You spent a lot of time educating young seminarians preparing to be Augustinians. Do you have any advice for those currently in formation or discerning a religious vocation?
Yes, the following:
- Daily preparation, participation and thanksgiving for the Mass
- Time spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament
- Spiritual reading and reflection meditation
- Spiritual direction on programed basis, with regular reception of Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Liturgy of the Hours and personal or communal prayer
- Some mortification joined to prayer, in union with reception of the Holy Eucharist
- Special Devotion to Mary, Mother of Good Counsel.
- Study and learn the history and tradition of the Order: active and contemplative
- Enjoy community life and recreation, along with personal physical exercise
- Remember, always, that your soul is the most valuable thing that you have from God. Your soul is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. He is there to enlighten your mind to see things more clearly, to strengthen your will, to overcome difficulty, and to guard affections of your heart. And all that you have to do is keep your soul holy so that He can carry on His divine action with you.
Over the last 60 years, you’ve seen numerous changes in our Augustinian Province, many changes in our global Church, and many changes in our society, as well. What are some of the most memorable moments you remember throughout your ministry?
- Closing and relinquishing many Augustinian apostolates over these past many years in our Province
- Shortage of vocations in the Church and in our Augustinian Province(s)
- Growing secularization of society, lessening Mass attendance, infrequent reception of Sacrament of Reconciliation, fewer Church-blessed marriages, growing relativism in morality in society
- Astounding fact that our Midwest Augustinian Province did not have a priestly ordination for 15 years!
- Lesser number of members in our Province, growing older median age, and more elderly and infirm members each year
- Present Holy Father, Pope Francis I
- Blessings of Vatican Council II
- Increase in recent years of number of vocations to the Province
- Acquisition of parishes in Chicago area
- Recent number of ordinations for Province
- Implementation of new [Augustinian] Constitution of 1963
- Blessed and wonderful cooperative work of multi-Province Vocation Directors
- Development of Federation [of Augustinians of North America, or FANA]
- Continued ministry of Missions in Peru and Japan
- Inter-Province exchange of personnel
- Establishment of Blessed Stephen Bellesini Community in Crown Point, Indiana
- Success of annual Augustinian Gala
- Inspired leadership of present Province, and Counselors
Thanks be to God for his Divine Providence which has brought me to the observance of my 60th Anniversary of my Priesthood Ordination, sharing in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ! To the words inscribed on the base of my Ordination Chalice; “Bless, O Lord, all those who have helped me to thy holy altar,” I now add the words: “Bless, O Lord, abundantly all those who have shared in my sacerdotal and sacramental ministry during all these past many years. Since I am in retirement now, and because I have a very large celebration for my 50th Anniversary, I am not having any particular form of celebration at this time, but rather, I would appreciate a pledge of remembrance in your prayers for me now and from time to time in the future. As always, May God Bless you.
With a prayer,
Fr. Henry Maibusch, O.S.A.