no. 4 october - december 2006
FROM THE PRIOR GENERAL
The Society of the Little Flower – UK/Ireland Continues Funding Projects in Developing Areas of the Order
The Society of the Little Flower, based in England, is the fund-raising organization of the General Curia. With the money from donations, the General Council has been able to help the Carmelite Family in many countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. This financial help has gone mostly into buildings and the work of formation, as well as humanitarian aid in several places.
The donations from over 20,000 people have made it possible for the General Council to come to the aid of several Provinces and Congregations, especially in the area of missions. A number of Carmelites have been permitted to study and to attend courses of formation through the assistance of the Society of the Little Flower. This year (2006), the General Council has made it possible for some Carmelites to attend the Ongoing Formation Course in Rome, the Carmelite Liturgy Seminar, the meeting of Carmelite Justice and Peace Promoters, FOCAL (the course for formators in Latin America), the Congress of Lay Carmelites, and the Meeting of Carmelite Bursars and Fundraisers.
The Prior General, Fr. Joseph Chalmers, along with other representatives from the Curia, celebrated the feast of St. Therese (1st October) in Aylesford, England, in thanksgiving for all the benefactors of the Society of the Little Flower. A crowd of about 500 people turned up from Ireland and Britain. The Prior General gave a talk on St. Therese and Trust, and also preached at the Mass.
Now with less than one year before the General Chapter, preparations are increasing. The last international congresses are being fitted in before the end of the six-year term. In August I was very pleased to be able to attend a portion of the meetings of Justice and Peace Promoters in Fatima as well as that of formators of Latin America (FOCAL) in Sao Paulo. In September I was present for the beginning and end of the Congress for Lay Carmelites, and in October I was able to attend some of the sessions of the meeting of Carmelite Bursars and Fundraisers. These two were held in Sassone, near Rome.
In October, I carried out the first part of a visitation of the PCM Province with Fr. William J. Harry, Councillor General. We visited both of the Latin American missions of the Province in Mexico and Peru. The latter visit coincided with the Congress on the Rule, prepared jointly by O.Carm and OCD members, and attended by approximately 150 people from all over Latin America.
On Saturday, October 14, 2006, Bishop Lucio Angelo M. Renna, O. Carm., took possession of his new Diocese of San Severo, Italy.
The solemn Eucharist took place at the Palasport Comunale in San Severo in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio for Italy, Bishop Paolo Romeo, as well as the former Bishop, Michele Seccia and the Bishop of Isernia, Andrea Gemma.
Present were a large number of priests from the Diocese of San Severo as well as Avezzano, Bishop Renna’s former diocese, members of the Carmelite Curia in Rome and of the Carmelite Neapolitan Province, religious women, civil authorities, and a large crowd of faithful.
In his homily, Bishop Renna said, "At the beginning of my pastoral ministry in this local Church, I have no desire for power, but only the desire to serve. To govern does not mean a separation but a communion with the people. I ask the help of all so that I gain a more profound understanding of the social-ecclesial reality of this diocese."
The celebrating started in June 2005 which a big fair including music, food, competitions, games, and carnival rides. This year saw an even bigger celebration with a musical show, solemn Eucharistic celebration, and a dinner dance in October and November 2006 to conclude the anniversary year.
Over 4,000 people attended the fair which took place in the high school building. The idea was to gather the family of Carmelitas—students, parents, alumni, and friends of the school. The evening lasted until 1AM, concluding with a huge party for all the families.
On October 27, 2006, Carmelitas hosted 2,100 guests in a specially constructed theater on the school’s center courtyard for Caminos Encuentros: Un Viaje por Historia de los Carmelitas. The multi-media production included theater, live music, dance, and visual arts with some 180 artists. Perfomers included students from all levels of the current student body as well as graduates and parents of current students.
Several former teachers and administrators of the school were in attendance. The Carmelites attending the five day Congress on the Rule of St. Albert also attended the performance.
The evening began with the presentation of the Medalla civica municipal to Raul Maraví, O. Carm., the current President of Carmelitas, to honor the Carmelite presence and their contribution over the past 50 years. The medal was presented by the Mayor of Miraflores, Fernando Andrade. Also participating in the award ceremony was Carmelitas alumnus Jorge Muñoz, Vice-Mayor of the City of Miraflores.
Carmelitas had earlier received a medal of honor from the Peruvian Congress in recognition of the school’s contribution to the education of the nation.
On the weekend of November 3-4, two big celebrations were held to conclude the anniversary year. A Eucharist took place in the gymnasium of the primary school. Some 700 people attended. Twenty Carmelites, including former teachers and administrators of the school concelebrated. Music was provided by the choir of the school. Miguel Baccigalupo, O. Carm., preached.
On November 4, a dinner dance took place at Costa Verde restaurant on the coast. Some 600 people attended.
The school was founded by members of the PCM Province in the then undeveloped Miraflores area of Lima. The Province started a parish and soon recognized the need for a primary and secondary school. In order for the money to be raised to build the school, many families paid for their children’s education in advance.
The 50th anniversary of the Carmelites in Peru was celebrated in 1999. In addition to the school and parish in Miraflores, the Commisariat now has a 64 room retreat center in Lurín, south of Lima which is also the site of an international Carmelite novitiate. Also in Lurín is the parish of José Galvez, administered by the Carmelites. Since 1959, the Province has provided leadership and care of the Prelature of Sicuani.
Members of the family of Carmelitas school and the participants in the Latin American Congress on the Rule meet in the parish center to relax before attending the school’s musical show to celebrated the 50th anniversary of the school. (CITOC photo)
The Carmelite monastery of St. Andrew in Salamanca, Spain was the site of the XIIIth Gathering of the Carmelite Family in the Iberian Region (Spain and Portugal). The meeting took place June 26-29, 2006. The Province of Castille was responsible for the preparations.
The theme for the meeting was Contemplation and Compassion.
Attending the meeting were about 100 religious, nuns, and laity. Also present was the General Counselor for the region, Fr. Rafael Leiva Sánchez.
Making presentations was María Asunción Codes, Teresian Carmelite, on "La Contemplación, la otra orilla de la Compasión" (Contemplation on the Other Sie of Compassion) and Carmen Calzada Felíu, president of Cáritas de Salamanca on "Testigos del amor compasivo del Padre" (Witnesses of the Compassionate Love of the Father).
Dame Muriel Spark, the distinguished Scottish-born author and friend to many Carmelites, died at her home in Civitella della Chiana, Italy on April 13, 2006. She was 88 years old.
She was well known to the Carmelites as she stayed at The Friars in Aylesford, England, for a while in the 1950’s. On the recommendation of Graham Greene, she came to Aylesford for a pilgrimage. She was captivated by Fr Malachy Lynch, O. Carm.
She later spent a year living in the Red Cottage at Allington Castle, near Aylesford, when it was a Carmelite retreat center. It was at Allington that Dame Muriel wrote The Comforters, the first of her 20 novels, in 1957. Some of the characters were based upon people she encountered at The Friars.
She remained in constant contact with The Friars and visited the place on occasions. She will be best remembered for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, inspired by her education at the High School for Girls in Edinburgh. The novel was made into an award winning film.
Dame Muriel is survived by her son, Robin.