A New Augustinian Community in South Philadelphia

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On the evening of March 5, 2019, the eve of Ash Wednesday and the start of the Liturgical Season of Lent, a new initiative of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova quietly commenced in South Philadelphia. Gathered in the recently refurbished rectory of Annunciation Parish at 10th and Dickinson Streets, eight friars gathered in prayer in the house chapel to celebrate Evening Prayer of the Church and to ask God’s blessing on their community, gathered together for the first time under one roof. Our Lady of Good Counsel Friary was now a reality after many months of planning, meetings, reconstruction, and relocation. Five friars from St. Rita of Cascia Friary and two from St. Nicholas of Tolentine Friary had, over recent days, moved from their respective residences into their new common residence to begin a new chapter in the Order’s long-standing presence and ministry in South Philadelphia. They were joined this night by the Prior Provincial who led them in prayer, in the blessing of their new home and in breaking bread together around a common table as they will continue to do from this point forward. From this friary the seven members of the community will continue to serve the parishes of Annunciation and St. Nicholas of Tolentine under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Nick Martorano, O.S.A., as well as the Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia. Fr. Bob Guessetto, O.S.A., is the prior of the community and the other members are Fr. Bill Recchutti, O.S.A., Fr. Jim Spenard, O.S.A., Fr. Bob Terranova, O.S.A., Fr. Dan McLaughlin, O.S.A., and Fr. Juan Alberto Cardenas,O.S.A. The friars had chosen as patroness of the new community, Our Lady of Good Counsel, in commemoration of the first parish established by the Augustinians in South Philadelphia under this title in 1898.