no. 3   july - september 2007

Lay Carmelites Around the World Meet and Celebrate

Brazil: Congress of the Carmelite Province of Pernambuco

A Congress entitled The 800 Years of the Carmelite Rule: Passion and Challenges will be held in the Province of Pernambuco (Brazil) November 14-18, 2007 in Camocim de São Félix, Pernambuco.

The themes are "The 800 Year History of Our Rule", "Biblical Aspects of the Rule of Carmel", "The Spirituality and Symbolism of the Carmelite Rule", "The Rule in Relation to the Contemporary World", "The Feminine Perspective on the Carmelite Rule." This will be followed by a discussion of the lived experience of the Carmelite Rule.

Members of the recently affiliated Associazione Oratorio Spirituale Laico della B.V. Maria e di S. Filippo Neri at the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi at the Carmine in Florence. Begun in 1993 in Bologna, Italy, the members grew close to the Carmelites, especially Fr. Agosto Canal, and to our spirituality. During his final illness, Fr. Agosto was assisted by members at the hospital and eventually at the home of the Associazione. (L-R) Felicia Bongiovanni, Elisabetta Righini, Barbara Da Rin with Carlo Cicconetti, Vice General of the Order in the cloister at Il Carmine. (CITOC photo)

Brazil: Second Course on Carmelite Spirituality

On June 2-3, the second Course on Carmelite Spirituality was held. This was for Lay Carmelite Formators of the Province of Pernambuco. Various forms of Carmelite prayer were studied in theory as well as practiced.

Present for the course were 18 formators from four local communities. The course took place at the Third Order Office in Recife, Pernambuco.

It was a fraternal and fruitful meeting.

Indonesia: Gathering of the OCD-OCARM Family

An extended third meeting of the Carmelite Family of both the OCD and OCARM branches together was held in Jogjakarta (Central Java) on April 22 – 23, 2007. There have been two previous meetings on December 20, 2006 and February 27, 2007

Twenty-two members from the OCD Friars, Sisters of Carmelite Missions, Carmelite Missionary Secular, Putri Putri Yesus Kristus, OCDS, OCARM friars, the Congregation of St. Elias, Hermanas Carmelitas, OCARM, and TOC participated.

During the meeting it was agreed that both branches will make a network cooperation, building communication between secretaries of the various groups under one Familia Carmelitana of Indonesia. Several short and long term projects were agreed upon. A proposed joint meeting of the Familia Carmelitana will be the celebration of the 800 years of the giving of the Formula vitae on November 14. This will be in Malang.

Indonesia: Indonesian National Council Meeting

The Indonesian Lay Carmelite Provincial (National) Council Meeting was held in Malang at the Hermanas Carmelitas Retreat House from March 17 – 19, 2007. Some 38 representatives from 9 of the 10 Lay Carmelite communities in Indonesia attended as did seven Carmelite friars, the Provincial Delegate and six of the Local Delegates.

The meeting opened with evening prayer and a word of welcome from Titus Brandsma Pantjaja Adji Wilasa, O. Carm., the Provincial Delegate. A short talk was given by Henrikus Suwaji, O. Carm., on the topic "I Am Proud to be a Lay Carmelite." Some of the Carmelite students then led the group in a "Taize" night prayer. This took place in a chapel, lit only with a few candles.

At the beginning of the Sunday assembly, messages from Anita Renehan (International Secretary for the Lay Carmelites), Mindy (USA), Crescentia Devi Tadjipramana (former member of Surabaya who is now living in Canada), Mathilda Yani Setiawan (former member of Jakarta who is now living in USA), as well as from some of our Indonesian members were read.

The whole day was dedicated to the discussion of the new Provincial Statutes. There was also a report from the Fourth International Congress which was shared by Hubertus Suprashartono. The participants were also shown many of the pictures taken during the International Congress.

Programing for the next two years was discussed, including the ongoing formation materials. It was agreed that a National Convention be held in March 2008.

Nairobi, Kenya: National Lay Carmelite Family Day

Our National Lay Carmelite Family Day started well at 11am on June 16, 2007,at the Carmelite house in Nkoroi, Nairobi, Kenya. Some 270 of our members were present and this brought a lot of joy to all of us.

Members from two of the youngest Lay Carmelite communities, Machakos and Nkoroi, were present. Also participating were the communities from Nairobi, Meru, Kakamega, Nyeri, and the Lay Carmelite students from Bishop Gatimu Gandu Girls Secondary School, the Kagwe Girls Secondary School, and the Kahatia Secondary School.

It is interesting to note that secondary schools have Lay Carmelites groups. Most of our members join the Lay Carmelites while in school.

The groups arrived very early and the day began with the Holy Eucharist celebrated by the Carmelite Regional Superior, Sonny Abraham. Onesmus Muthini Muthoka, O. Carm. and Fr. Lawrence, a friend of the Carmelites, con-celebrated.

Following Mass, the typical Kenyan entertainment, which is done to bring us together by getting to know each other, was celebrated. Each group presented some play, jokes, dances or songs.

A ten kilogram cake was cut and shared among the brothers and sisters during this celebration. This cake was a gift from Nkoroi group in Nairobi. It represented our love and unity with each other as family. We then had lunch together and continued with our entertainment.

The passage from the First Book of Kings, Get up and eat else the journey will be too long for you, was our theme for the meeting. It proved to be a very appropriate one.

We would like to take this special opportunity to thank all our brothers and sisters all over the world and with the love of Our Beloved Mother of Mount Carmel encourage them to be faithful and active because God is good at all times.

Onesmus Muthini Muthoka, O. Carm.

St. Elias Province, USA: Leadership Workshop

On June 23, 2007, sixty Lay Carmelites gathered for the "Building Strong Communities Workshop" at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Middletown, USA. The workshop is presented three times during the year to assist leaders in the Lay Carmelite communities for the Province of St. Elias.

The morning presentation, led by Quinn Connors, O. Carm., focused on four phases/stages in the life of a community and the leadership skills which affect the development of a community during these stages. The Lay Carmelites later broke into small groups to discuss a positive event in their community and how the leadership handled the situation.

Francis Amodio, O. Carm., the Provincial Delegate for the Lay Carmelites, spoke to the group in the afternoon about the Lay Carmelite Community Manual. He gave the Lay Carmelites some reflections about why there should be an agenda, how to create an environment for dialogue and an atmosphere of hospitality, welcome and inclusion, all ingredients for a successful community.

Along with food and Morning Prayer, the day was filled with motivation for all those that attended.

Trinidad and Tobago: Lay Carmelites Celebrate the Feast of St. Simon Stock

Heavy Traffic, scorching hot weather, and other inconveniences did not deter the Carmelite family from attending the feast of Simon Stock, one of the Order’s most significant saints on May 16, 2007.

The celebration included an open air Mass held on the tree- shaded grounds of the convent of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters at Tunapuna which began at 5.00 pm. The St. Teresa of Avila Community led the congregation in the Rosary.

Sr. Adriana Noel, O. Carm., Regional Director of Lay Carmelites, focused her introductory remarks on the spiritual meaning of the scapular—a sign that we have chosen to be involved with those who need us and that we must be attentive to their needs. The scapular would have no meaning if we do not follow the tradition.

Celebrant for Holy Mass was Carmelite Gerald Tang Choon, assisted by students from the Friary. The procession began with the entrance hymn I am the Way, composed by Richard Ho Lung, a contemporary Caribbean priest of the poor. The lyrics of this and the other hymns chosen for the ceremony were reminders of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior as the end of the Easter season approached. They also pointed to the promises of His Ascension.

After the homily, sixteen persons, male and female, were enrolled in the Brown Scapular. Two of these were young people entering into religious life and two young children. Fr. Tang Choon outlined the Scapular promise and the rights and responsibilities of those who wear it. The formula was administered with a blessing, conferral and congratulations to the new members of the Brown Scapular Confraternity. The Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was recited by the congregation led by the Lay Carmelites.

As the early evening phased into twilight, there were gentle breezes, indicating a balmy tropical night. It was truly a meditative moment for us when the gentle cries of the birds in the trees accompanied a most melodic soprano duet of Schubert’s Ave Maria.

Sr. Adriana in her closing remarks thanked our celebrant for leading us on this feast day of St. Simon Stock despite his heavy schedule and prayed that God will continue to guide, protect and inspire him and the students to the friary. Mr. Michael Gonzales was thanked for his astute leadership of the choir, his singing voice and his accompaniment. The constant presence and graciousness of Sr. Antoinette Dickie, Superior General of the Corpus Christi Carmelites, was acknowledged, along with the presence of the Carmelite Sisters along with the young novices, postulants, and Lay Carmelites. The Regional Formation Mistress for the English-speaking Caribbean, Maria Campbell, made a presentation to Fr. Tang Choon on behalf of the Lay Carmelites.

Neila Todd, T.O.Carm.

Australia: Carmelite Family National Gathering

An Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality project for Australians was launched at the National Gathering held in April immediately prior to the Provincial Chapter in Melbourne. The National Gathering was organized by the Lay Carmelites National Council (LCNC).

Four attractive booklets have been produced in a series of an Inquiry Program for people interested in Carmelite Spirituality. The project is a joint venture of the Lay Carmelite National Council Australia and the Provincial Commission for Carmelite Laity.

The content was prepared by Sue Stuckey, a Lay Carmelite from Jamberoo, NSW. The Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, was the distinguished guest speaker for the National Gathering. Interesting presentations were made by Prior Provincial, Wayne Stanhope, and Provincial Delegate, Bruce Clark.

Adrian and Maureen Jones related their experience of attending the St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi on-going formation course in Rome. Librarian Philip Harvey gave valuable information about the newly refurbished Carmelite Library at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Middle Park.

The President and former President of the Discalced Secular Carmelites in Australia joined in the Gathering. The LCNCA members were invited to share in the closing Eucharist and dinner on the last day of the Provincial Chapter.