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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila
28th April ­ 18th May 2003

Information * N. 10 
2003.05.05

 

 

 

5 May 2003 

Yesterday, Sunday the 5th of May, Father General concelebrated the Eucharist for the canonization ceremony in Madrid with Pope John Paul II.  Other groups of Chapter Delegates went with him, others went to visit the Deserts of Las Palmas (Valencia) or Las Batuecas (Salamanca), Salamanca, Valladolid, etc.  (A small group of Americans had the last city as its destination and were received by both friars  nuns in the city that stands fourth on the list of Holy Mother St. Teresa’s foundations.  The Nuns invited the three priests and one brother into the enclosure, and there allowed them to examine the famous Valladolid manuscript of The Way of Perfection and forty letters written by the Saint.) 

While some traveled away from Avila, others made there way to the city, namely, ten OCD nuns arriving to represent associations or federations of the Order around the world.  The Secretary General of the Secular Order, Fr. Aloysius Deeney (Oklahoma Prov.) and some Secular Order members also came to attend  sessions of the Chapter during this week. 

Father John Chua, Delegate for Taiwan-Singapore, presided at Morning Prayer.  Then, after breakfast, the opening session of the week’s plenaries took place with a conference from the O Carm. Definitor, Fr. Carlos Mesters speaking about “Returning to the Essential of the Good News brought to us by Jesus.”

He pointed to the double flow of God coming to encounter us in Jesus of Nazareth and of our going to God via Jesus of Nazareth, the Way.  Meeting Jesus and our imitation of his orientation--being incarnate, service to others, welcoming attitude toward marginalized individuals, giving up His own life—are the essence of the Gospel. 

After that our new and outgoing Generals welcomed Father Joseph Chalmers, Prior General of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, and he addressed the assembly.  He remarked about how important the writings of Saint Teresa have been for him personally.  He underscored the importance of the mileage logged in the communication and cooperation between our two Orders over these past years, even as he expressed the hope such contacts will deepen in the future.  With efforts to heal the hurts of the past (that he likened to a story out of J. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels) we ought to recognize that both Orders are called to work together to promote spirituality in the Church. 

During the noonday Eucharist the East Asia language group enhanced the celebration with beautiful chants in English, Korean, and Japanese (particularly haunting for its inclusion of solemn whistling that interpreted a paschal motif which none other than Ottorino Respighi wove into one of his orchestral pieces). Father Chalmers invited the group to move ahead by progressive “divinization and Chrstification” (terms jotted down by the Spanish editor of this bulletin) along the road to assimilation in Christ.  He asserted that the best witnessing [to Christ] comes from persons who know how to encounter the living God and let themselves be transformed by the Lord. 

The afternoon required of the members: first, a meeting in their respective language groups to form responses to two questions posed by Father Mesters.  One worth pointing out was “Are our communities, provinces and Orders providing an answer to the thirst for spirituality that our contemporaries demonstrate?”  After 90 minutes’ discussion all returned to the Chapter Hall to hear how the groups answered.  It is gratifying to note the number of contributions we make in this field: publications, centers of spirituality, houses of prayer, etc., etc. (To help illustrate this point the Scribe distributed information flyers to the Chapter members concerning the OCD-O Carm sponsored Carmelite Institute in Washington, DC.  The flyers were generously carried to the Chapter in the luggage of Br. Michael Stoegbauer.  Lucky for him his airline did not levy any charges for extra weight!)  The realization we are making progress is valid, even if we do admit there is quite a way to go till we succeed in making a truly significant difference in the Church as real sources of communion and reconciliation. 

With Evening Prayer and meditation we concluded a long but fruitful day’s activites.

 
    
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