no. 2   april - june 2004

Irish-British Forum "Inaugural Conference"

The Carmelite Forum of Britain and Ireland will have an "inaugural conference" at The Friars, Aylesford, England on June 4-6, 2004. The title of the conference is "Carmelite Perspectives: A Contribution to Our Contemporary Understanding of Mary." The weekend will be repeated in Ireland at Gort Muire Centre in Dublin on September 17-19, 2004.

The Carmelite Forum of Britain and Ireland is an association of all the branches of the Carmelite Family and all those associated through their spirituality with Carmel. It is a collaborative effort of OCARMs and OCDs operating both in Britain and Ireland. The Forum seeks to celebrate and share the riches of the Carmelite tradition and spirituality in these islands through prayer, dialogue, retreats, seminars, and modern means of communication.

The main speakers at the conference will be Carmelite Chris O’Donnell, Teresa Clements, DMJ, and Eugene McCaffrey, OCD. Workshop facilitators will be Richard Copsey, O. Carm., Ruth Kelly, OCD, James McCaffrey, OCD, Wilfrid McGreal, O. Carm., and Alacoque O’Reilly, OCDS.

Members of the Forum Committee are John Keating, O. Carm. (Hib), Francis Kemley, O. Carm. (Brit), Rosemary Kinman (Leaven), and Discalced Carmelites James McGaffrey, Michael McGoldrick, and Alacoque O’Reilly.

The forum website is: www.carmeliteforum.org

Celebration of Carmelo Domestico: 18 Couples Make Profession

Sassone, Italy. February 14-15, 2004 will be two days forever in the history of Carmelo Domestico. The first community, after 10 years of formation, made its profession in the hands of the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers and received their "mission" from the founder, Mariano Cera, O. Carm.

Some 60 members of Carmelo Domestico with almost 150 children, as well as seminarians and Carmelite sisters, were present.

The Prior General presented the riches of the Carmelite charism to the group, the meaning of entering the Carmelite Family, and the work that the couples accept on behalf of the Church and Order in order to live the charism as lay people and to spread that charism in the world where they live.

"Every charism," said the Prior General, "is a gift of grace that God bestows on a person or a group, not for a particular good but for the building up of the Church and humanity. The whole Carmelite Family participates in this charism and takes on the responsibility of carrying it forward."

Carmelo Domestico was born in January 1994, a time the Church declared "The Decade of the Family." After the crisis of the 1970’s and 1980’s, everyone understood that the revitalizing of the Church and country needed to begin with the family. Carmelo Domestico, founded by Mariano Cera of the Italian Province, came about as a response to this cry from the Italian Church. It began with a groups of 20 families. After 10 years, 18 of these families have made profession into the Order. In the course of the last 10 years, nine other groups were born and the total number of families is over 100.

Also in his talk, the Prior General touched on various other themes of the charism: the relationship with God, contemplation, transformation, prayer, the inescapable "dark night," and service. "As members of the Carmelite Family, you have a call to service. This can be lived out in many different ways as there is not one work specifically Carmelite. The great work is the transformation of humanity for the benefit of the Church and the world. But your state as married persons and parents gives you a particular responsibility in our day." He ended by recalling the challenge that all Carmelites have to creative faithfulness, and highlighted the themes of formation, Carmelite Family, justice and peace.

Some of the couples in this first group remembered the journey of these last 10 years: the enthusiasm of the early days that brought them to Nocera with their children and luggage for two months of sun, with rain, and sometimes with snow. They remembered the "crossing" of the Red Sea, the renewal of the marriage vows, the beginning of a common fund from which many projects of Carmelite charity were paid, the development of prayer with the use of the breviary.

The long awaited moment, the Holy Mass, was celebrated by the Prior General with the Prior Provincial of the Italian Province, Claudio Bellotti, Mariano Cera and other members. Also present was Sr. Donatello Cappello, Provincial of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters. It was under her provincialate that Sr. Annamaria Amadori received permission to have Carmelo Domestico in the female Carmelite communities. Sr. Annamaria gave the female aspect to Carmelo Domestico and now continues that work as General Delegate of the Institute.

Two hours with God: a well prepared liturgy made the high points of profession and mission all the more meaningful. Each couple, together with their children, made profession in the hands of the Prior General and received a mission cross from Fr. Mariano. "Receive this cross, sign of the love of God for all humanity. I send you into the Carmelite Family and into your local churches to carry with you this sign of the love of God."

17th Meeting of the Carmelite Family of the Baetica Province in Aracena (Huelva), Spain

On April 17, 2004, the XVIIth Meeting of the Carmelite Family in the Baetica Province took place in Aracana, where the Carmelites have been present for several centuries. Today there is a monastery of enclosed Carmelite nuns. This meeting is celebrated each year in various locations with the religious and laity of the Province participating.

The theme of this year’s gathering was dedicated to the new Third Order Rule and the Carmelite Family. Fr. Rafael Leiva Sánchez, O. Carm., General Councilor for the Mediterranean Region led the conference. The Bishop of the Diocese of Huelva, D. Ignacio Noguer Carmona, friend of the Carmelites was present. He wrote a pastoral letter about the scapular devotion and Carmel on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the scapular. Also present were the Prior Provincial of the Baetica Province, José Ramírez Román, and the pastor of the parish in Aracena, D. Longinos Abengozar Muñoz, who permitted use of the parish facilities. There was a representation of the Carmelite nuns of the monastery of Santa Catalina, numerous Carmelite religious, members of the "Hermanas de la Virgen María del Monte Carmelo" and numerous laity. Some 400 people in all attended.

The meeting concluded with a fraternal meal. Thanks is given to the fledgling Carmelite Family of Aracena, to the enclosed nuns and to the organization headed up by Luis María Ruano Ramírez, Provincial Counselor for the Apostolate.

Donum Dei Missionary Family : Inauguration of the Clergy House in Seville, Spain

On January 7, 2004, the Clergy House "Santa Clara" was inaugurated in Seville, Spain. This residence is managed by the Third Order Carmelites of the Donum Dei Missionary Family.

The dedication took place in the presence of the Cardinal of Seville, Carlos Amigo Vallejo, the Papal Nuncio in Spain, Bishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, the President of the Andalucía government, and the Bishops of Jerez, Huelva and Cordoba. Also present were many priests as well as Rafael Leiva Sánchez, General Councilor of the Carmelites, José Ramírez Román, Prior Provincial of the Baetica Province, Luis María Ruano, Provincial Councilor, and Francisco A. González Cerezo, Prior of the Carmelites in Seville.

This foundation begins the presence of the Donum Dei in Spain. The house is near the monastery of the Carmelite nuns in Seville.

The address of the residence is:

Casa Sacerdotal ‘Santa Clara’
c/ Becas, s/n;
41002 SEVILLA, Spagna
Tel.: 0034.954.91.51.77

Novitiate in Brazil: A Flowering of Carmel

On January 10, 2004, 14 novices made profession in the novitiate house in Graziosa, Paraná, Brazil. The young men come from the two Brazilian Provinces and Commissariate: the St. Elias Province of Rio de Janeiro, the Pernambuco Province of Recife, and the Commissariate of Paraná of the Upper German Province.

The day turned into a great celebration, with the participation of the people of the little town of Graziosa, which offered a big meal for more than 300 people.

On January 18, 16 other young men began their novitiate in Graziosa. This novitiate is truly Latin American: four of the novices come from the Carmelite community of the Italian Province in Cartegena, Columbia, one is from the Commisariate of Perú of the PCM Province and 11 come from the two Provinces and one Commisariate in Brazil.

Restoration of the Facade and Roof of the Carmelite Monastery in Antequera, Spain

After waiting for a number of years, the enclosed Carmelite community in Antequera, Spain, has begun to restore the bell-tower and the façade of the monastery. Both structures had seriously deteriorated.

The restoration began in January 2003 with the bell-tower. the most damaged part of the building.

To date, the major part of one corner of the convent, where the church is, has been restored. Its facade will be one of the most beautiful of all the churches in Antequera.

The community is managing to pay for the cost of the work thanks to financial aid from the town council of Antequera, various organizations, and private donations.

The community is also waiting for the promised approval for the repairs to the church roof which is in a dangerous condition. These repairs are absolutely essential to preserve the interior wood ceiling. This ceiling is XVIth century Mudejar, and is the most important work of art in the church.

The Danger May be in Your Own House

We never know where we may find a dangerous situation. It may be very near to us!

In the still of the night on January 4th 2004, some of the sisters in the Carmel in Antequera, Spain, heard a tremendous noise but had no idea what had caused it.

One of the sisters claimed that it was a noise similar to that of a slight earthquake—but the floor did not tremble at all!

Another sister thought the noise came from the street.

Next morning, the sisters discovered the cause of the strange noise. A part of the roof and ceiling of a large workroom had collapsed due to the bad state of the old wooden beams.

Now the community is having this roof repaired with cement beams and a modern system of construction.

The sisters of this Carmel give thanks to God because although the roof fell in, there were no injuries.

The Carmelite convent in Antequera dates from 1536.

Visits to the Carmelite Nuns in Cabanatuan City

The Carmel of Our Lady of Nazareth in Cabanatuan City, Philippines was graced by the visits of the Prior Provincial, Tjeu Timmermans, O. Carm., and Co-Provincial, Ben Wolbert, O. Carm. on November 3, 2003. This was followed by the visit of the Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, on November 8, 2003.

"Fr. Tjeu gave two interesting conferences on ‘Community Building’ and our ‘Mission in the Church’ followed by a lively sharing that clarified practically all the questions of the Sisters and gave clear insights about the essence of our call as Carmelites and our role in the Church," wrote the sisters.

The Prior General celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the community. A large number of Tertiaries and others attended. His homily was "an appealing invitation to prayer, especially Lectio Divina. He enlightened everyone about its practice. After posing with some tertiaries for pictures, he dedicated the rest of the day to the nuns," according to the sisters Christmas letter.

The monastery has seven "junior sisters" who were in the Burgos Carmel with their formator. A one month course was held there while repairs were being made to the monastery in Guiguinto.

The television program "Ecclesia in Asia" is televising a series of Sunday Masses and asked to have the first two telecasts in the monastery of the Holy Family in Guiguinto. The telecasts were made on October 19 and 26, 2003.

Commissariate of Bolivia Re-Activated

The General Council of the Order gave permission to the Maltese Province to reactivate the Bolivian Commissariate. The permission was given during the General Council’s March 2004 sessions. At present there are eight solemnly professed members with active voice in Bolivia.

The Provincial of Malta, Alexander Vella, requested the re-activation of the Commissariate to build a stronger sense of identity among the Bolivians and to give priority to the vocations ministry.

In the 1980’s the Maltese Provincial Council decided to suspend the Commissariate when there were only three Carmelites in Bolivia. A delegate was appointed in place of the Commissary.

The General Council also approved the dispensation of Const 389 in order to allow Milton Murillo Ortiz, O. Carm., to be appointed as prior of the community in La Paz.



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