no. 3   july - september 2003

Meeting of the Mediterranean Region Provincials, Commissaries, and General Delegates

On May 26-27, 2003 a meeting of the Provincials, Commisaries, and General Delegates of the Mediterranean Region was held at the Carmelite monastery in Seville, Spain. Attending were Rafael Leiva Sánchez, O.Carm., General Councilor for the Mediterranean Region, José Ramírez Román, O. Carm., Provincial of Baetica, David Oliver Felipo, O.Carm., Provincial of Arago-Valentina, Luis Ortiz Serrano, O.Carm., Provincial of Castille, Manuel Bonilla, O.Carm., Provincial of Catalonia, Alexander Vella, O. Carm., Provincial of Malta, Claudio Bellotti, O.Carm., Provincial of the Italian Province, Mario Alfarano, O.Carm., Provincial of the Neapolitan Province, Henrique Martins, O.Carm., General Commissary of Portugal, Klaus Schenkelberger, O.Carm., General Delegate of France.

Alfredo Di Cerbo, recently elected as General Commissary of La Bruna (Naples), was not able to attend.

Among the topics discussed were news from the various Provinces, collaboration in the Meditteranean Region and cooperation with the Northern European Region, initial and permanent formation, exchanges, relations with the General Council, and the upcoming Council of Provinces.

Alexander Vella, the Maltese Provincial, was named as a delegate to attend the meeting of the Northern European Region. 

Fr. Luis Aróstegui Gamboa of St. Thérèse Elected Superior General of Discalced

Fr. Luis Aróstegui Gamboa of St. Therese was elected the Propositor General of the Discalced Carmelites at that Order’s General Chapter held in Avila, Spain, April 27 – May 18, 2003. He replaces Fr. Camilo Maccise who completed 12 years.

Joseph Chalmers, the Prior General, attended the OCD Chapter for one day. He gave an address and answered questions before being the main celebrant at Mass. Carlos Mesters, the General Councilor for Latin America, also attended and gave a talk on "Returning to the Essentials of the Gospel."

Fr. Luis was born in Gatica (Viscaya, Spain) on January 21, 1939. He was ordained priest on April 5, 1964 and earned a licentiate degree in theology from Rome.

In the 1987 Provincial Chapter he was elected Provincial (Province of St. Joachim of Navarre), then he was re-elected to another term in 1990. Between 1996-1999, he served as Provincial for a third term. After he left the provincialate he became Director of the Spirituality Center of Larrea-Amorebieta (Viscaya).

Members of the new Definitory are: 1st Definitor General - Fr. Zdenko Krizic (Prov. Croatiae); 2nd Defintor General - Fr. Luigi Gaetani (Prov. Neapolitanae); 3rd Defintor General - Fr. Robert Paul (Prov. Avignon.-Aquitaniae - Quebec); 4th Defintor General - Fr. Xavier Jaya Raj (Prov. South Keralae); 5th Defintor General - Fr. Zacharie Igirukwaya  (Prov. Cracoviae - Africa ); 6th Defintor General - Fr. Stephen Watson (Prov. California-Arizonae); 7th Defintor General - Fr. Angelo Madelo (Comm. Philippinae); 8th Defintor General - Fr. Nicolas García (Prov. México).   

Prior General, Joseph Chalmer, and Propositor General, Luis Aróstegui Gamboa, OCD during a concelebrated Eucharist at the General Chapter of the Discalced Carmelite Order. (Photos courtesy of the OCD website)


Discalced Carmelite Website:

Update on the Discalced Carmelite Community in Baghdad, Iraq

CITOC received the following letter from Fr. Michel, the Carmelite Superior in Iraq, which we published via CITOC-online and now here so that members of the Order can be aware of the situation of the Carmelite community in that war torn country. There are two Discalced Carmelite communities in Iraq, one in Baghdad and one in Basrah. The Archbishop of Baghdad, Jean Sleiman, is a Discalced Carmelite.

The Discalced Carmelite community of Baghdad (Iraq) was in the middle of the war from the morning of March 20th. On the evening before, an elderly friar, who needs daily medical attention, was placed in the clinic of a doctor who is a friend of the community. Some days later, another elderly friar went to the clinic.

On the 30th, due to the violence of the bombardment, the rest of the community dispersed. The Superior went to the house of Archbishop Sleiman. The younger brethren went to their families. The community house was left empty and the building was damaged by explosions. A part of the ceiling collapsed. The area where we lived, near a presidential palace, was called "death alley."

There were no services for Holy Week and each priest served where he happened to be. Fr. Robert celebrated in the clinic for those who worked there, for the Red Cross workers and for the soldiers stationed nearby. Fr. Michel celebrated in the Latin cathedral and Fr. Gadhir served in the Eastern Rite parishes and in private homes.

The situation is returning to normal little by little but our area has suffered greatly. The community came together again on April 23. We began to put the house in order again. A lot of the furniture was damaged and doors broken. We are waiting for a U.S. Commission of Inquiry to examine the church for damage. The mission will gratefully accept financial help from Provinces. Iraqi money has no value now.

At the moment, the community is doing what it can, seeking to survive and trying to respond to the needs of the poor who are many and who constantly seek our aid. We are concerned for the future of the country and we depend on your solidarity and your prayers.

Fr. Michel, OCD
Superior of the Discalced Carmelites in Iraq

Session on How to Organize a Library Held in Spain

On June 22-26, 2003, the Arago-Valentine Province (Spain) organized a course at El Carmen de Onda (Castellón), Spain, to teach how to organize a library. The course was taught by Manuel Anguiano Villegas, O.Carm., General Archivist and Librarian of the Curia.
The course course consisted of: the ordering of a library, sections, catalogues, book registry, requirements and work of a library.

The course was intended for librarians and anyone who is interested in learning how to organize a library.