The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, O. Carm., announced the appointment of Patrick Thomas McMahon, O.Carm. (PCM) as President of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome.

“I am delighted that Fr. Patrick has accepted this important task. The Carmelite Institute has played a vital role for the past 50 years in the development of the Order’s awareness of its history and charism,” said Fr. Joseph. “I believe that under Fr. Patrick’s direction, the Carmelite Institute will assist the Order as we continue our journey.”

Patrick professed First Vows at the Monastery of Mt. Carmel in Niagara Falls, ONT on August 22, 1968. He received a B.A. from Marquette University (Wisconsin) and a M.T.S. from the Washington Theological Union (DC). He holds a Ph.D. in history from New York University. His dissertation for the Doctorate was entitled “Servants of Two Masters: A History of the Carmine of Florence 1267-1400.”

Since 1998, Patrick has been the Provincial Delegate to the Third Order and since 1994 the director of the Carmelitana Collection at Whitefriars Hall in Washington, DC. Among his educational work, he has been a lecturer in the Carmelite Studies Program at the Washington Theological Union since 1992 and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in 1997, 1999, and 2000. He participates in Continuing Formation Programs at various OCD monasteries in the USA.

He is the author of a number of articles including "Carmelite Theology" and "Carmelite Women" in the Encyclopedia of Monasticism (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers) and the article on "Carmelite Spirituality" in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He has also contributed various festschrift articles, most notably for Carmelites Eamon R. Carroll and Roland Murphy. In addition, he has presented papers at Medieval Conferences in 1994, 1997 and 2001.



A year long celebration of the life of Carmelite Bishop, St. Andrew Corsini, was completed on January 6, 2002, the anniversary of the saint's death. He was born on November 30, 1301.

For the anniversary, events took place in several different locations but primarily at the Carmine in Florence where the Saint's body is preserved, Fiesole where he was bishop, and Rome at the Cathedral of St. John Lateran where the Corsini Chapel is located.

On November 30, 2001, the VII Centenary of the Birth of St. Andrew Corsini, Carmelite and Bishop of Fiesole (Italy), was celebrated in the Cathedral of Fiesole. On November 29, the reliquary of the uncorrupted body of Saint Andrew was moved from the Basilica of The Carmine in Florence to the Cathedral of Fiesole where it was displayed for several days.

The Bishop of Fiesole, Mons. Luciano Giovannetti, the clergy and seminarians of the diocesan seminary of which St. Andrew is the patron, received the body at the door of the cathedral. The reception was followed by sung Vespers according the rite proper to the diocese and the celebration of the Eucharist. During the Mass the letter of Pope John Paul II to Bishop Giovannetti on the occasion of the Centenary was read.

On November 30th, there was a solemn celebration of the Centenary. The Eucharist was presided by the Cardinal Emeritus of Florence, Silvano Piovanelli, accompanied by the Bishop Giovannetti of Fiesole, Bishop Gastone Simoni of Prato, and the Bishop emeritus of Viterbo, Bishop Fiorino Tagliaferri.

The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, could not attend the celebration as he was in Scotland because of the death of his mother. Representing the Order were the Vice General, Carlo Cicconetti, O. Carm., and the General Councilor for the Mediterranean region, Rafael Leiva, O. Carm., the Prior Provincial of the Italian Province, Claudio Bellotti, O. Carm., and the Prior Provincial of the Discalced Carmelites of the Tuscany Province, the Prior of Florence, Raffaele Schiavoni, O. Carm., and Fathers Tiziano Ballarin, O. Carm., and Clemente Benedetti, O. Carm. (Florence), Agostino Gelli, O. Carm., and Raffaele Duranti, O. Carm. (Castellina), Vincenzo Mosca, O. Carm. (Domus Carmelitana of Rome), professed religious of the Italian Province, numerous priests and seminarians, members of the Carmelite Family, and a representation of the descendants of the Corsini family.


Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, celebrated a Mass on February 4, 2002, in honor of St. Andrew Corsini on the 700th Anniversary of his birth. The celebration took place in the chapel dedicated to the Saint in the Lateran Patriarchal Basilica, Cathedral for the Church of Rome.

Participating in the celebration of the Mass were Archbishops Rizzato, Tamburrino and Appignanesi, Canons of the Lateran Basilica, Prelates, and the Vice General of the Order, Carlo Cicconetti, O. Carm., Rafael Leiva Sánchez, O. Carm., General Councilor of the Order, and Enzo Mosca, O. Carm., Director of the Domus Carmelitana, members of the Corsini family, the President of the Lazio (Rome) region, Sig. Storace, the Vice Mayor of Rome, Sig. Gasbarra, who gave to the Cardinal an artistic silver chalice as a remembrance of the celebration. There were also various officials of the City of Rome, as well as various other people in attendance.

The Lateran Choir, directed by Maestro Marco Frisina performed the "Messa brevis" of Palestrina.
Cardinal Sepe, in his homily, praised holiness first of all the person of Christ and in the life of the Church and he recalled the saintly Carmelite Bishop of Fiesole who was canonized by Pope Urban VIII on April 22, 1629.

"Holiness is God present today. Holiness runs through the veins of the Church. What is the `way' that Christ taught us? The answer is obvious. That of the Gospel. To reach the summit, the way to go is that of humility. Jesus humbled himself ending in death on the cross. From the kenosis to the resurrection, this is the required `way' culminating in the ascension to heaven. The saints today are also in our midst. They are a living theology of holiness that pervades the history of humankind," said Cardinal Sepe, linking the historical context of St. Andrew Corsini with his testimony of holiness.

"Andrew Corsini was a disciple of holiness in the school of Christ. At age 15 he left his noble family to become a Carmelite. He was a poor priest, at the service of those hit by the plague. He abandoned his palace in Fiesole in order to give it to the poor and in order to give himself to the poor. The bishop is servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world (10th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 30 September 27 October 2001). The path to God is that of "clothing yourself in holiness, humility, courage, bearing witness, and love." (cfr L'Osservatore Romano, 6 February 2002.)


Following the recent celebration of the 700th Anniversary of the birth of St. Andrew Corsini in the Corsini Chapel in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Msgr. Franco Camaldo, Chaplain of the noted Corsini Chapel and Dean of the Pontifical Masters of Ceremony, together with other other people from the world of art, presented the book La capella Corsini nella Basílica di San Giovanni in Laterano Milano, Franco Maria Ricci Editore, 2001, pp. 94, coll. Grand Tour 26.

A magnificent monograph, edited by Franco Maria Ricci with his usual abundance of photographs of exceptional quality, makes a memorable record of the history of the Corsini Chapel in St. John Lateran. The critical text is from Caterina Napoleone, the biographical notes are by A.F. Gunter, the photographs by Luciano Romano.

The Corsini Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement XII (Lorenzo Corsini) who dedicated it to his ancestor St. Andrew Corsini. Just elected on July 16, 1730, Clement XII went to visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran and asked the Chapter to construct, in the place already occupied by an altar dedicated to St. James the Great, a beautiful chapel in honor of his own ancestor, Andrew Corsini. The chapel, in late baroque style, was begun on January 7, 1731 and completed in January 1735. It is one of the most impressive chapels in Rome. (cfr: L'Osservatore Romano, Thursday, 31 January 2002).



Did Religious Life Enter into the Discussions?

On November 23, 2001, the General Council of the Order participated in a presentation on the recently concluded Synod entitled "The Role of the Bishop as Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." The November gathering highlighted information useful to those in leadership positions in the Church's religious Orders, congregations, and religious institutes.

The full day meeting, sponsored by the Union of General Superiors (USG) was held in the packed conference center at the Pontifical Urbaniana University. A variety of presentations were made by those members of the USG who participated in the actual Synod and by Bishop Claude Dagens, the Bishop of Angoulême in France. Religious played some role in the actual Synod. In all, there were 247 members of the Synod. Seventy-five percent were diocesan and twenty-five percent were religious. Eleven women took part, ten as auditors.

According to the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Joseph Tobin, CSsR, the consecrated life received a much more positive treatment than at the last extraordinary session, the second Synod on Europe in 1999. At that Synod, the Cardinal-relator managed to offer the two keynote addresses and barely mention the consecrated life in Europe. "Much more value was placed on the so-called `new ecclesial movements' as sources of new vigour for the life of the Church," said Fr. Tobin.

In contrast, the relator of the Synod on the Role of the Bishop gave a fairly positive evaluation of the consecrated life in the mission of the Church today, echoing the favourable evaluation of the Instrumentum Laboris. For Fr. Tobin the final list of propositions "included a respectful and optimistic proposal regarding the consecrated life."

"As far as the role of religious at the Synod, there was both a helpful preparation of the delegates and auditors through meetings and communication before the Synod itself as well as ample contacts during the month, keeping delegates united and confident of our representation," said Fr. Tobin.

The competencies of the ten elected religious participants were matched with the key themes of the Synod so that they could speak confidently as representatives of religious in the Church today. Each had 8 minutes in the plenary assembly to address the Synod.

Fr. Giacomo Bini, Minister General of the Franciscans, spoke about consecrated life as a locus of "prophets and prophetic communities and as signs of hope on the way to the Kingdom." Speaking about the relation between St. Francis and the Pope at the time, he called for the Bishops to "preserve hope by preserving the foundations of consecrated life" and "to free hope by liberating the potential of consecrated life" even when it sometimes occasions difficulties in the Church.

Fr. Bini said "The radical character of consecrated life is the reason why its fixed roots lie solely in God, and its nature is not to let itself be set into frameworks defined once and for all."

The President of the Subiaco Congregation of Benedictines called attention to monastic life and its irreplaceable role in the Church. Camilo Maccise, OCD, Propositor General of the Discalced Carmelites, spoke on "living tensions in growing communion" with reference both to consecrated life and to a committed and responsible laity. He pointed out that the same Holy Spirit is at the origin of all genuine charisms.

David Fleming, S.M., Superior General of the Marianists, spoke of the participative style of leadership that had become characteristic of most institutes of consecrated life in modern times. "We try to emphasize closeness and communion among all members, listening, subsidiarity, dialogue, and accountability," said Fr. Fleming, highlighting some particular gifts consecrated life has for the Church. "I spoke (at the Synod) of collaborative decision-making, interaction among different nations and continents within our Institutes, the importance of community life for the major superior, and the involvement of members in the choice of major superiors through election or consultation. Our experience might be of some help for the life of the Church in today's world."

Acknowledging differences, Fr. Tobin said "They often arise from an ignorance of the meaning of consecrated life in general and the particular charism of a religious family. Dialogue between religious and bishops is essential."


A Synod of Bishops unfolds in three phases: pre-assembly, the assembly, and post assembly. In all, the process can last five years or more. The assembly of Oceania, was held in 1998 but the post synod document was only promulgated on November 22, 2001. By then, the subsequent synod had also taken place.

In the pre-assembly phase, a document with suggestions of topics, concerns, convictions and hopes with respect to the theme is distributed to all the Episcopal Conferences and organizations such as USG or UISG along with a questionnaire. The returns are incorporated into a new text, called the Instrumentum Laboris, which is the working document of the Assembly.

The month-long Assembly comprises two moments. For almost two weeks, participants listen to eight minute interventions of the members. Special sessions are held for the "Fraternal Delegates," those representing other Christian faiths, to make interventions. At the end, a relatio is read aloud which is supposed to pick up the points from the presentations which further develop the content of the Instrumentum Laboris.

The second moment is the work in the circuli minores. For the Synod on the Bishop, there were 12 small groups in the various languages. The circuli discuss the relation and draw up a report based on a set of questions provided by the General Relator. These reports are read in the Synod Hall during a General Congregation. The circuli then draw up propositions based on what was heard in the reports. These and all the other documents produced by the Synod are presented to the Pope.

These documents form the basis for the post Assembly work which involves drawing up a post Synod document by the Commission on the Synod Message. Membership for those serving on the commission is voted on by the Assembly. Every continent is represented.