no. 2   april - june 2007

African Region Gathers to Discuss Common Concerns

Fifteen members of the Order met at the Carmelite monastery in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss issues of common concern in this fledgling area of the Order. The meetings took place February 26 – March 2, 2007.

Reports from each country where there is a Carmelite presence were given. An update was given on Tanzania where the La Bruna Commissariat will be opening a mission in the near future. The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers also gave a talk on the Carmelite Family in Africa.

The particular character of Carmelite life in Africa (African aspects of our charism, administrative structures, structures of fraternity, formation, finances, relationship with natural family) was presented by Nestor Django, O. Carm., of the Congolese Commissariate and Mission Superior in Cameroon.

The topic of regional collaboration in the area of formation (initial, post-graduate, and on-going) as well as student exchange, fraternal visits, meetings of formators and leadership, the academic facilities in Nairobi) was led by Simplisio Manyika, Commissary Provincial in Zimbabwe.

The idea of collaboration among the provinces for a unified Carmelite presence in Africa was introduced by Désiré Unen Alimange, Commissary Provincial in the Congo.

Other topics considered were the relationship between African missions and Europe, financing and personnel for the missions, and proposals for the 2007 General Chapter. A proposal to have two houses of theology and specialized studies in Africa: Nairobi, Kenya for the English speakers and Yaoundé, Cameroon for the French speakers was sent to the General Chapter. It will be proposed to have a General Councilor for Africa and an African Carmelite Institute.

In January the International Commission for Culture and the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome met in Nairobi with representatives of the African Carmelite communities to discuss establishing an Institute. (see article on page 9)

A meeting for the formators of the African region was set for July 23-30, 2007 at Bustani ya Karmeli in Nairobi. A similar meeting was held in mid 2006 to discuss inculturation of the charism in Africa.

International Culture Commission Meets in Africa to Discuss Needs of the Region

The Carmelites of Nairobi hosted the International Culture Commission’s meeting in January 2007. As has become the practice, the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum met at the same time due to the overlap in membership of the two groups. The series of meetings ran from January 3-5.

The International Culture Commission met to review its work in view of the Six Year Plan and to review proposals for the 2007 General Chapter. Four goals were part of the Six Year Plan, which was formulated in 2002: (1) to develop a strategy to promote higher studies in the Order; (2) to appoint an ad hoc commission to study (a) the proposals of the Institutum Carmelitanum, (b) the role of a General Delegate for Culture, and (c) the proposal, approved by the General Chapter, put forward by the Titus Brandsma Institute; (3) to involve the members of the Order in developing new centers of Carmelite spirituality in the various regions of the world; and (4) to continue the work of connecting the various Carmelite libraries in the world.

During the meeting, progress and deficiencies for reaching each goal were discussed. In general the membership found the number of people studying for advanced degrees to be too few. It was felt that despite a program to promote higher studies, the goal was not accomplished. A specific recommendation for the General Delegate for Culture was made to the 2007 General Chapter. The Culture Commission remains very committed to the SPINE and SPIRIN projects of the Titus Brandsma Institute in the Netherlands. The Institutum Carmelitanum has expressed its desire to become involved as have a couple of other Institutes. It was stated that the Commission has done all it can do at this point, as SPINE and SPIRIN continue to develop.

An initial survey of the Carmelite Institutes shows that we had some form of established Institutes in Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, North America, and the Philippines. During the past six years, an Institute has been successfully established in Britain/Ireland (in co-operation with the OCDs). The Iberian Peninsula has begun moving towards building an Institute with an emphasis on publications such as Fonte. The Institute in the Philippines has been re-focused as an Institute for Asia. News has been received about the start of a Carmelite Institute in Malta and Rio de Janeiro.

One of the reasons for holding the meeting of the Culture Commission and the Administrative Board of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Africa was to allow members to dialogue with those Carmelites in Africa about an Institute, the development of a library, and other resources they need to insure a strong program of formation for the members. Following a meeting of the leadership of the African missions, a proposal was approved for submission to the General Chapter to establish such an Institute.

The final area discussed was the connection of the various Carmelite libraries around the world. There have been regular meetings of the Carmelite librarians. A voluntary association, the Carmelite Library Association (CLA), was formed to build cooperation among the libraries in the areas of card catalogues on the internet, establishing/strengthening libraries in developing areas, and the digitalization of rare books.

Since the 2001 General Chapter, the Irish Province has established a Carmelite Library in Gort Muire and the Rio de Janeiro Province has begun planning a revitalization of their Carmelite library.

The Commission sent two proposals to the Preparatory Commission of the General Chapter. One proposal reconfigures the International Culture Commission to include the International Commission for the Study of the Charism and Spirituality of the Order. It also gives a more defined role to the Delegate for Culture. The second proposal calls for the creation of a development board to raise funds for projects of the Order in six specific areas.

The website of the International Culture Commission is:

Contract of Cooperation Signed Between Institute of Münster and Pontifical University Antonianum of Rome

On February 20, 2007, in the Hall of St. Anthony, in the Pontifical Antonianum University in Rome, an agreement of cooperation was signed between the Institute of Spirituality in Münster and the Antonianum. The contract calls for an exchange of teachers and students as well as common projects. It opens the possibility for graduates of the University of Münster to earn degrees from the Antonianum based on work done in Münster.

During the celebration, the heads of each Institute gave a brief talk in Italian.

Dr. Paolo Martinelli, OFM. Cap, the director of the Institute of Spirituality in Rome spoke on "The Theology of Spirituality: The Spiritual Sources of Europe and of the Encounter between People and Culture." Dr. Michael Plattig, O. Carm., director of the Institute for Spirituality in Münster spoke on "The Meaning of Spirituality for Today’s Western European Society according to the Distinctions of the Spirits."

The president of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome, Patrick McMahon, O. Carm., represented the Prior General at the event.

Michael Plattig will be named Extraordinary Professor of Spiritual Theology at the Antonianum.

As a first fruit of the cooperation, Fr. Plattig with give a course at the Antonianum in 2007-2008 entitled "The Experience of the ‘Dark Night’ as an Experience of ‘Creative Depression.’" He will give a seminar on the same topic at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome.


Communications Combines Meeting with Opportunity to Network in Philippines

The final meeting of the International Communications Commission met February 2-8 in the Institute of Spirituality in Asia. In addition to the regular meeting, there was the opportunity to network with various communications programs within the Order and the Church in the Philippines.

The meeting of the Commission focused primarily on the audit of the Order’s communications program which was done in 2002 and again at the end of 2006. From the information received from the various provinces and enclosed monasteries, an evaluation could be made of progress during the last six years. Areas for increased focus were also highlighted. To assist in an Order wide focus on some of those issues, specific proprosals to strengthen the programs were drawn up and submitted to the Preparatory Commission for the 2007 General Chapter.

It was noted that most areas of the Order are using the internet more now than in 2006. Web pages on Carmelite topics have proliferated. There is still the need for oversight and programs for updating the websites regularly. It was also noted that most sites do not take advantage of the powerful interactive capabilities of the internet.

Publication of printed material continues to be the area most Carmelites feel comfortable in. Other forms of publications—CDs, films, audio-visual materials, etc—are generally not done in the Order. Continued evaluation of our publishing programs with the needs and wants of the people we serve, especially the young, continually require to be done. Initiatives in creating music, film, and art, of which there are some in the Order, need to continue to be encouraged.

In general Carmelites do not interact with the media or with communications resources available in the local area. However, there is reported to be an increase in networking between the Order and the provinces and monasteries and between members of these.

A presentation on the Titus Brandsma Center – Media Program was given by Carmelites on staff and experts in the area of film. This is the only such program in the Philippines and has become a focus of the Carmelites as part of their ministry to the country.

A trip to the Communication Forum for Asia (CFA) provided members with the opportunity to see what is occurring in both radio and television in the Philippines. CFA focuses on traditional church topics as well as family development, bringing Christian and Muslim youth together, and media training for clergy and pastoral workers.

The apostolate of the Pauline priests provided the commission the opportunity to learn more about the process of printing a book, from conception to delivering into the customers’ hands.

A visit to Radio Veritas Asia included a working lunch with the program director and a tour of the facilities, including studios, libraries, and museum.

Because of his work in communications, Br. Arnuld Alindayu, O. Carm., of the Philippine Commissary, joined in the visits to the outside agencies. He was also one of the presenters of the Titus Brandsma Center – Media Program.

More details about the meeting are available on the website for the International Communications Commission:

Members of the International Communications Commission pose next to the symbol of Radio Veritas Asia with members of that organization. The meeting was part of the in-service program for commission members. A replica of the symbol for Radio Veritas was presented to the Carmelites at the end of the meeting.

Planning Underway for 100th Anniversary of Corpus Christi Carmelites

The launching of the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Corpus Christi Carmelites in Leicester, England, will take place in Trinidad, West Indies, on July 16, 2007. The anniversary starts with a solemn High Mass presided over by Bishop Edward Gilbert, Archbishop of Port-of-Spain, with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, in attendance.

A large number of the clergy, Lay Carmelites, and friends of the Congregation from Trinidad and other areas served by the sisters are expected to attend.

Similar inaugural events will take place in the English and American Regions of the Congregation as well.

A song on the life of Mother Mary Ellerker, the Congregation’s foundress, was composed by Sr. Alphonsa Morris, O. Carm., for the occasion.

Other activities being celebrated during the year include: the 800th anniversary of the receiving of the Formula vitae from St. Albert of Jerusalem; a dramatic presentation written by Sr. Rose Madgalene entitled "To God Be the Glory." This is the story of the life of the Congregation’s foundress; an open air Mass, on the Feast of St. Simon Stock, at which there will be enrollment in the brown scapular and the reception and profession ceremonies for Lay Carmelites.

The year will close on July 16, 2008 with the celebration "Deo Gratias" at the VIII General Chapter of the Congregation and the election of a new Superior General and General Council.

The website of the Corpus Christi Carmelites is:

Appointments of Carmelites

Mark Attard, a member of the Maltese Province residing at CISA in Rome, was appointed Head of the Moral Theology Department within the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) in September 20006. His responsibilities include programming and organizing the courses for the next couple of years, following the students’ study plans and progress, in addition to the normal administration of an academic department. The appointment is for three years. Fr. Mark has been Procurator General, prior of CISA and taught moral theology at a number of schools in the Rome area.

Robert Colaresi, member of the PCM Province, was elected chairperson of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Development Conference. Fr. Robert has served as director of the Society of the Little Flower in the USA and Canada for the last 15 years. He directed the development of the Society of the Little Flower UK-Ireland to provide funds for Carmelite ministries in development parts of the world. The Society has been an active member of the NCDC since 1982 and Fr. Robert was serving his fourth year on the Board of Directors. The NCDC is the USA’s premier and largest association of Catholic fundraisers.

Lucio Zappatore, member of the Italian Province, was aggregated into the Confraternity of Carmine di Trastevere (Rome) in early February. The ceremony took place in S. Agata a Trastevere, the seat of the confraternity. The confraternity has responsibility for the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, according to legend, fished out of the Tiber River. Each year, the confraternity organizes the Festa de Noantri (Feast of Our Neighborhood in the Roman dialect), said to be the largest celebration of popular religion in Rome.