no. 2   april - june 2003


Update on the Carmelites in Zimbabwe

The Irish Provincial, Fintan Burke, O. Carm., accompanied by two members of the Provincial Council, Patrick Staunton, O. Carm., and Michael Troy, O. Carm., visited the Commissariat of Zimbabwe from January 19 _ February 17, 2003. Besides visiting the two centers of initial formation, Kriste Mambo Novitiate and Mount Carmel, Kriste Mambo College, Hatfield Priory, and Mutare Priory, they were also able to visit each of the mission centers. Their visit also gave them the opportunity to participate in the Commissariat's Annual General Meeting, a meeting of the Formation Commission, and that of the Commissary Council.

At a specially convened Assembly Day, attended by almost all of the members of The Commissariat, four key topics were discussed which will be important for the future development of the Carmelite presence in the country: formation, personnel, apostolates/ministries, and finance.

According to Fintan Burke, "This day of reflection and discussion is the beginning of a dialogue around the developing Carmelite presence in Zimbabwe, a dialogue that will continue at the forthcoming Chapter."

During the visit, three members of the Commissariat, Andrew Thokozane, Innocent Mazano, and James Nyagadi made their Solemn Professions. All three were ordained deacons on March 21. Four brothers, Henry James Phiri, Sylvester Mubako, Lovemore Gutu, and Vernon Patrick Jere made their First Profession.

The Diocese of Killaloe (Ireland) Outreach, which brought two and sometimes three diocesan clergy to the Commissariat and the Diocese of Mutare, will end after 20 years. "It is with great regret we learned that Bishop Willie Walsh will be unable to replace Frs. Michael Casey and Michael Cooney," said Fintan Burke in his address to the members of the Zimbabwean Commissariat. "The involvement of the Killaloe Diocese with the work of the Irish Carmelites in Zimbabwe has been greatly valued during the past twenty years. Besides the pastoral work carried out together, great personal friendships have been formed which will continue away from Zimbabwe. While the departure of the Killaloe priests is a blow to the morale of our men here we are fortunate to have had their assistance for so long and that their leaving comes at a time when we can look forward to increased numbers of Zimbabwean Carmelites coming through our formation programme".


Carmelite Institute in USA Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Five Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite Provincials met in mid April, 1993 to officially establish the Carmelite Institute in the United States of America. It was to be a cooperative venture between the two branches of the Carmelite Family and would include male Carmelites, the nuns, sisters, and Carmelite laity.

"The Institute began with enthusiasm and a vision … the possibilities were numerous and the road ahead was wide open," said Mary Rodriguez-Harrington, O.C.D.S, Executive Secretary of the Institute. "Looking back on the first ten years, I recognize the generosity of those who came together to create quality programs."

The Institute now offers a plethora of resources to Carmelites around the world. The Carmelite Studies Program, affiliated with the Washington Theological Union, provides courses for credit in a wide range of Carmelite topics. The Distance Education program has provided students in twelve countries the opportunity to do studies in Carmelite topics. The Residential program has brought together students from a diverse backgrounds and cultures.

The Institute also provides a variety of resources on video and audiocassette. Four books have been published and three well attended conferences have been held.

"Three years ago we grew into a `two full-time staff' office but we still rely on the kindness of volunteers and friends to accomplish the work needed for our projects to run well," said Mary. "I hope for many more decades ahead. The Carmelite tradition speaks to our troubled times."

A New Carmelite Program from Lumen Christi

A new program in Carmelite Studies has started under the auspices of the Lumen Christi Institute in Chicago, Illinois (USA). In order to "promote a deeper understanding of the Carmelite intellectual tradition" and "to make the Carmelite tradition available to scholars and theologians of the Church," the Institute began working with the Washington Province of the Discalced Carmelites. Michael Dodd, OCD, is the first director of the Carmelite Studies program. The program's inaugural event was a one day seminar last November 9 at the University of Chicago on the poetry of John of the Cross.

Some of the activities planned for the future include an annual academic conference, a scholars' symposium, occasional lectures, pastoral conferences, liturgical events, study retreats, and pilgrimages, all focused around Carmelite themes.

According to Steven Payne, OCD, "The Lumen Christi Institute is fortunate to have both the O.Carm. and OCD branches so strongly represented in the Chicago area. This should provide valuable resources and a significant audience for its Carmelite offerings.

The Lumen Christi Institute was founded in 1997 by Catholic scholars at the University of Chicago. The aim of the Institute is to promote dialogue with the contemporary academy while remaining faithful to the Church's teaching and tradition. Among its many activities, Lumen Christi has organized a Regional Program in Catholic Scholarship, hosted various symposia on science and religion, sponsored the Yves Simon Lecture series, and selected visiting scholars to teach in a "Joint Program in Liberal Arts and the Catholic Tradition."

Pope Awards Carmelite "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice"

The Bishop of Mayagüez, Ulises Casiano Vargas, requested recognition of his diocese's Pastoral Vicar, Carmelite Rogelio Mur. A parchment arrived from Rome designating that Fr. Mur has received the title "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" from Pope John Paul II on January 19, 2002.

Fr. Mur was born in Spain in 1932. Three years after his ordination in 1956, he was sent to Puerto Rico, where, among other work, he became the coadjutor and pastor of a number of parishes over the years. He is currently Pastoral Vicar of the Diocese of Mayagüez and member of the Board of Governors of the Concepción Hospital.

He has served the Order as a local superior, as regional superior of the Antillas, and as Delegate to the Carmelite nuns.



Dumaguete City Carmelite Nuns Have New Monastery - After 38 years, the Monastery of Our Lady of Maravillas and St. Joseph of the Diocese of Dumaguete has a true monastery. Blessed by the Bishop of Dumaguete, together with the Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu, the opening celebration for the new building on Sunday, November 17, 2002, drew a large crowd. After the blessing, snacks were served in the Blessed Frances D'Amboise Formation Center. The old building was demolished in 2001.

The Carmelite Presence in Kamp-Lintfort, Germany Ends After 48 Years

After much discussion and debate during the past several months, the presence of the Lower German Province at Kamp-Lintfort ended in November 2002. At a Mass celebrated on November 3, the Auxilary Bishop of Münster, Heinrich Janssen, thanked the Carmelites for their service at Kamp-Lintfort as well as in other parishes in the area over the years.

Originally the site of a large Cistercian monastery, the Carmelites resided in one of the remaining buildings from that time.

For many years the novitiate of the Lower German Province was in Kloster Kamp as was the provincial office. The magazine "Karmel-Simmen" was also produced there. Just a short walk away is the Carmelite Retreat House "Edith-Stein-Haus."

General Council March Plenary Session

The General Council of the Order met in Rome March 1-11, 2003. Included in the sessions was a period of prayer and reflection on Ash Wednesday.

The statutes of the Carmelite Hermits in Christoval, Texas were approved following their incorporation into the Order on November 9, 2002. There was also discussion and finally approval of the proposed Rule for the Lay Carmelites by the General Council. (It has subsequently been approved by the Holy See. See article, page 9.)

There have been two large gathering of Carmelites in Rome. In late January and early February, an On-Going Formation program for priors took place at the Domus Carmelitana. This was quickly followed by the meeting of the Carmelite nuns on the RATIO. The General Council reviewed feedback from both and discussed future steps.

Various matters from the Procurator General were presented and decided. He also gave an update on the Government Commission's work. The Bursar General also presented a number of matters for discussion.

The programming of a number of future celebrations were discussed during the meetings, including the celebration of the anniversary of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi in 2007, the anniversary of St. Albert of Sicily, also in 2007, the 8th Centenary of the Rule in 2007, and the Congress on the Charism and the Parish in 2004. Most of the planning was for the XVth Council of Provinces which will take place in September in Fatima, Portugal.

The members of the Council also discussed the various meetings that they have participated in since the last meeting in December. The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, and Rafael Leiva, the General Councilor for the Mediterranean made canonical visitations to the Province of Malta and to the French Delegation. A number of meetings were also held in Latin America and the Carribean and in Rome. There were updates on the work of the Institutum Carmelitanum and the Edizioni Carmelitane in Rome as well as the program for improving communications in the Order.

Various calendar dates were fixed for 2004, including dates for the General Council meetings. The members have decided to expand the amount of some of the plenary sessions in order to provide more time to do long term planning and to discuss some topics more in depth. These dates are posted on the General Council website.