One of the strong messages to come out of the General Chapter in September was that we as an Order need to focus on communications.

The six year plan developed by the General Council calls for improving communications within the Order as well as with the world outside the Order. Provinces, Commissariates and Delegations will be asked to also focus on improving their own communications. There was also a call to stress training new members in various aspects of communication, including listening skills, public speaking, and the use of modern means of communications.

An international Commission for Communications has been established and will be discussing how communications can be improved on all levels as proposed by the General Chapter.

Much of the renewed interest in effective communications comes from the provisions in the Order's Constitutions for using mass media in evangelization and the ever increasing use of computers and the Internet (cfr Const. 34). The Constitutions also call for a life in common based on knowledge and love and even gives some examples of concrete ways this might be achieved (Const. 31).

The Church, too, is calling for the more effective use of communications. Pope John Paul II proposed the theme "The Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel" for the World Day of Social Communications 2002. "The theme chosen by the Holy Father," explained Archbishop John P. Foley, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, "touches on one of the significant keys of communication that has been developed in recent years and is of particular interest to the young people."

The World Day of Social Communication is celebrated on Sunday, May 12, 2002. The Pope's message on communications was released, as is the custom, on January 24, the feast day of St. Francis DeSales, patron of journalists. (For more information about World Day of Social Communications and Pope John Paul's message, got to the Order's web page ( and click on the link.

Mixing Internet and Religion?

At the end of November, the Pope John Paul II used his laptop computer and email to distribute the post synod apostolic exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania" to members of the Church in that region of the world. The Pope's use of the Internet dramatized the Order's own desire for communities to "evaluate the best ways to make use of the mass media, with a view both to safeguarding the contemplative and fraternal dimensions of our lives, and to increasing the effectiveness of our apostolate (Const. 34).

More adult Americans, one in four adult Internet "surfers" have sought out religious or spiritual information online. That represents some 28 million people. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than 3 million U.S. adults find religious information online, up from 2 million last year.

Those engaged in religious activities online are more likely to search for educational or reference material (69%) or research other faiths (50%) than offer spiritual advice through e-mail (35%) or seek it out (21%), the study found.

Those most active online are also most active offline in their congregations the study showed. Internet religion seekers are more likely to belong to an organization like a church or synagogue and attend services weekly than the population as a whole, the report said. And 86% said they prayed or meditated every day.
Although no comparable studies have been done in other countries, it does indicate the wisdom of the Carmelites developing a strong presence on the Internet.


In order to get news from the General Council to the members of the Order in a timely manner, CITOC-online, an email news service has been developed.

These press releases are periodically sent via email to Provincials, Provincial Commissaries, General Delegates, General Superiors of Congregations and Institutes, and monasteries of Carmelite nuns. They are asked to distribute the information to their membership as they see fit.

CITOC-online is also available to any Carmelite who would like to receive it. The Carmelite only needs to send their name and email address to An archive of previous CITOC-online releases can also be found at the Order's website,




Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you will see from the "six year plan" outlined during the first months of the new General Council, many areas of concern will be dealt with during the mandate of the current administration. One of the major focuses of our Order will be on developing effective and efficient means of communication.

Among the specifics in the plan, we will be developing new strategies for marketing the books, CDs, and other audio-visual materials we produce. We will expand our presence on the Internet, especially on the world wide web and in email services.

I thank Anthony Cilia, O. Carm., for pioneering the Internet effort for the Order's administration. The General Council accepted Anthony's request to be released from this responsibility. With input from the newly created Communications Commission, William J. Harry, O. Carm., member of the General Council, will be responsible for all communications, including the Order's web site and publications.

Good communication is absolutely essential if we are to grow in our knowledge and love of the Order that we committed ourselves to. Effective communication brings together the dispirit parts of the organization, allowing the parts to progress together towards a common goal rather than remaining disjointed. Communication also promotes the mutual understanding between leadership and membership as both strive to make the Order more effective in the carrying out of its mission. Communication also invites us to join together in celebrating our grace filled moments.

Our communication efforts cannot only be inward. Carmel is a gift to the whole Church a gift to be given. We have brought the message of Christ and our particular spirituality to people for 800 years using every means of communication available to us. The example of the faith-filled lives of our members has always been our most effective communication tool. We also communicated using the spoken word, song, dance, art, and the written word. In the last century, film, radio, and television presented new opportunities and challenges to our communication of Christ's message. The Internet is only the latest means enabling us to speak to the world and with each other. We will continue to explore its possibilities, along with the other means available to us, as we continue our journey to our God.

With best wishes, I am

Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm.
Prior General



We are looking for interesting news items for the next issue of CITOC. Our goal is to promote better knowledge of current events and people in the Order and to facilitate communication between the members. Please remember that CITOC is a publication for the entire Carmelite Family, so we are very interested in making sure that news from all parts of the family is included. We can only do that if you help!!!

CITOC is published in the official languages of the Order: Spanish, English, and Italian. Other Provinces will often translate it into their own language. So the coverage news in CITOC receives is literally world wide.

Please send short articles (200 words or less) about interesting events, meetings, religious professions, ordinations, plans and/or projects, dedications of church buildings, monasteries, new additions to current facilities and/or other major events. What do you think the other members of the Family should know about your members, monastery, Province, or ministry? Tell them via CITOC!

CITOC will also publish notices about new publications, books, audio and video cassettes, calendars, etc, that would be of interest to the larger Carmelite Family.

We are also interested in pictures which "communicate better than words"— that is, action shots, faces that are clearly visible and large, interesting looking scenes that communicate what is going on. Please identify the scene and people in it so that an appropriate caption can be created.

In the interest of making space available to all, we reserve the right to edit information for length. Sometimes additional information that is not in the printed CITOC may appear on the Carmelite website.

If you have access to email, we would appreciate receiving the information in electronic files in .rtf, .wpd or .doc format to Receiving electronic files will save us from retyping everything. If you do not have email, please send by fax or letter.

With thanks for your help in keeping CITOC informative and enjoyable!


Beginning the first Sunday of Lent, the Order's Website at is hosting lectio divina on the Sunday readings. The authors of the program will be three of the Order's biblicists: Carlos Mesters, O. Carm., Roland Murphy, O. Carm., and Alexander Vella, O. Carm.

Carlos Mesters, O. Carm., was elected in September to the General Council as the representative for Latin America. He is also responsible for Peace and Justice. A graduate of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the École Biblique in Jerusalem, Carlos has worked among the Basic Ecclesial Communities in Brazil since 1973 and is the author of many books.

Roland Murphy, O. Carm., has taught at Duke University, the Yale University Divinity School, and the University of Notre Dame in the USA. He was president of the Catholic Biblical Association and of the Society of Biblical Literature. He has served on the editorial boards of several biblical and theological journals and authored many books on the Scriptures. He was a co-editor of the Jerome Biblical Commentary.

Alexander Vella, O. Carm., completed a six year term on the General Council this past September. He is a member of the Maltese Province and did biblical studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome) from which he holds an S.S.L. In 1988 he spent five months of personal research in Israel. At present he is a lecturer of Sacred Scripture at the University of Malta.

The Communications Commission will use feedback received regarding this new service to evaluate other ways the website might be used to assist the members of the wider Carmelite Family.

To reach the lectio divina web site in English, go to