Four California Augustinian Theologians are living in the Augustinian Monastery during the 2016-2017 school year. Bro. Sarfraz Alan, OSA, having completed theological studies in Pakistan, is now applying that knowledge to American use. Bro. Philip Yang, OSA, returning from his pastoral year, is completing his final year of graduate studies. Bro. Robert Baiocco, OSA, continues his theological studies. Bro. Adnan Ghani, also of Pakistan and having completed theological studies there, is, like Sarfaz, is applying that knowledge to American use.
Pictured with Prior Provincial Kevin Mullins, OSA are newly professed Augustinian Friars Adnan Ghani, OSA, Dominic Smith, OSA, and Sarfaz Alan, OSA. They professed their vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience in the Order of St. Augustine along with their novitiate classmates in the St. Rita High School Chapel in Chicago, IL on July 31, 2016.
Bro. Dominic Smith, OSA
Bro. Dominic Smith, OSA was born in San Diego, CA. His family later moved to Riverside, CA. and then again to Lake Havasu, AZ., where he graduated high school. He went to Northern Arizona University where he studied Communications. He then worked as a firefighter before transitioning into oil refinery safety. He discerned with the Augustinians and recently professed first vows on July 31, 2016. He enjoys snowboarding, exercising, teaching catechism, and outdoor activities. He is on the path to ordination.
Bro. Adnan Ghani, OSA
Adnan Ghani, OSA, 31, lives in North Pakistan who grew up In the City of Gujrat (Lalamusa) Pakistan. After completing his high school studies from St Joseph Catholic School he joined, Our Lady Of Lourdes Minor Seminary Rawalpindi in 2002. He completed his four years of minor Seminary program in 2006. During these four years of formation he had basic english language courses and also introduction to required studies for priesthood. For Philosophical Studies, he went to St Francis Xavier Seminary Lahore (affiliated from Pontifical Urbaniana University Rome), and completed his Philosophical Degree Program in 2009. Finally for four years of Theological Studies he traveled from North to South to a National Institue for Theological Studies “National Catholic Institute of Theology” (affiliated from MCD University of Divinity, Australia), and earned his Bachelor of Theology in 2013.
After completing his required studies for priesthood, he felt his call towards Religious life. By Prayer and reflection he discerned to join the Augustinians. Bro. Adnan Ghani became the part of Augustinians in January 2015 by starting his Pre-Novitiate Year in St Rita House in San Fransisco. During his Pre-Novitiate Year he served as a volunteer in St Anthony’s soup kitchen and going to State University of San Fransisco for History classes. He also attended English Summer Classes in John Adam’s.
August 2015, bro. Adnan Ghani started his Novitiate Year in Racine Wisconsin and professed his first vows in July 31, 2016. At the moment he is in St Augustine Friary Chicago, studying in Catholic Theological Union in continuing Education Programe.
Bro. Sarfraz Alam, OSA
Sarfraz Alam was born into a Christian family in Pakistan who trace their Christian faith back to Saint Thomas. St. Thomas, one of the original 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, brought the Christian faith to the Indian subcontinent. Although majority-Muslim, Pakistan has a Christian minority of about one million. He was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family. His late aunt, Sister Mary Francis, Played an important role in his early life and upbringing. From early childhood He attended Sunday School every week. He learned the basic Christian stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Moses,and may Christian hymns. The teachers prepared him for his first Holy Communion. He developed an active prayer life. He joined the choir and acted in dramas that were performed in Sunday School. He received the sacrament of confirmation. He attended St. Bonaventure Boys High School in Hyderabad for about 7 years. After his graduation from secondary school in Karachi, He felt called by God through Scripture, Is. 6: 7-8: The Lord said to Isaiah, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responded, “Here I am Lord, Send me!” He discussed this called with his father and his father told him to talk to his parish priest. He spoke to his parish priest and the priest told Sarfraz that the Lord was calling him and he could answer God’s call by becoming a priest. Sarfraz’ parish priest recommended him for the seminary and he entered the seminary in August 2002. Entrance to the seminary began a period for Him in which he became closer to the Lord and his relationship with the Lord was built up. During this time He experienced many faith strengthening events. Thus faith became the foundation of miracles in his life rather than miracles being the foundation of faith. In the final year of his seminary studies, in the course of researching an assignment on “Christianity in the Subcontinent”, He learned about the Protugese Augustinians who came as missionaries to the Subcontinent in the 15th century. After that, He began researching the Augustinians on the web. He studied the Augustinians and found the Augustinians and their way of life inspiring. He also studied about St. Augustine of Hippo who was a great saint of the Church who came to live his life through Gospel values. His followers, the Augustinians, seek to do the same. After this study and research, He sought to join the Order of Saint Augustine. He holds a Bachelor of Philosophy degree, Magna Cum Laude Probatus, granted by the Pontifical Urbaniana University through St. Francis Seminary in Lahore, Pakistan in 2009. He also holds a Diploma in Theological Studies granted by the National Catholic Institute of Theology in Karachi, Pakistan in 2014. Thus He is already well prepared academically for a life of service to Christ’s Church. Sarfraz Alam joint the Augustinians on 8 September 2014. He completed his pre-novititae year in San Francisco at St. Rita of Cassia House under the formation of Fr. Thomas Whelan OSA. After completing the Pre Novitiate he entered in Novitiate on the 15 August 2015. after the completion of his Novitiate Year he professed his first vows on the 31 July 2016. The Order of Saint Augustine welcomed him in his desire to become a member of the Order of Saint Augustine and looks forward to his service as an Augustinian in the works of the Order of Saint Augustine throughout the world. As a strong element in the New Evangelization being promoted by the Catholic Church throughout the world, the Order of Saint Augustine has a great need for holy and devoted Augustinians to assist in its mission activities throughout the world.
Bobby Baiocco, OSA and Maxime Villeneuve, OSA, during their travels to the Augustinian Youth Encounter in Prauge, Poland, traveled through some Italian sites pertinent to the Order of St. Augustine. In this photo they are in the basement of the Domo in Milan, Italy at the site of St. Augustine’s baptism.
Augustinians Philip Yang, Maxime Villeneuve, and Robert Baicco renewed their vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience to Very Rev. Kevin C. Mullins, OSA, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Augustine, who represented Most Rev. Alejandro Moral Anton, OSA the Prior General of the Order of St. Augustine.