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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila 28th April 18th May 2003
Information * N. 13
Supplement to 8 May Issue of “Chapter News”
1) Mythical Headline:
AVILA DISAPPEARS -- CHAPTER ISOLATED!
Byline, Teresian Retreat Center
The Chapter meets at a site outside the medieval walls of Avila, and it is situated on flat ground below the city. Due to dense fog this morning Avila ceased to dominate the panorama above us. Reminded of that other memorable headline brandished by an English newspaper, “Fog over the Channel, Continent Isolated,” some capitulars wondered if we would remain cut off from our roots unless or until the sun returns.
Two wags saw it the other way around by remarking to the Scribe: “Why worry, the fog is actually in our heads” and “All the hot air generated by the Chapter is taking its toll on the ecology and mini-climate around us!” UNESCO, which has declared Avila a Monument of Universal Interest, might have to investigate.
2) Jesus Demoted at OCD Chapter
In the Eucharistic Prayer, spoken in English this morning, a Chapter Father read out “Our Pope John-Paul, our Bishop Jesus.” Actually, the diocesan bishop’s name is
Jésus [pronounced Hay-Zeus in the language of our host country[. Apparently the concelebrant missed the accent over the e, that is é, placing our Lord and Savior among the bishops! What the Eternal Father thought of this is still unknown. We await His response upon the arrival of an Archangel to investigate such a radical change.
3) (Teddy) Bear Sighted at Chapter
With some OCDS members present at the Chapter Signore Giuseppe Bortoloso (of Vicenza, Italy) is on hand to contribute to the discussion of this important branch of the Order. He just became a grandfather and this did not go unnoticed. An enterprising and friendly OCDS member from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (name reduced to Frank to protect the innocent) contacted the Scribe back home, asking him to bring a little gift to the newborn grandson of Giuseppe.
Thus, a baby boy´s
suit and a wee teddy bear made the arduous Transatlantic crossing, to be
passed along from the U.S. to Italy in this hallowed land of Castile.
So far there have been no threats of any gifts intended for travel in
the opposite direction. Whew, Scribe hopes no
problems with customs authorities will not ensue. Grandpa
Giuseppe is readying a warm thank-you note to his friend Frank in
Philadelphia (“City of Brotherly Love”).
News Issue No. 13 - 8 May 2003
At daybreak the weather was still rainy and chilly. Fortunately the sky lightened and by noon we saw the sun again. Father Dominic Nirmal, former Definitor and member of the Tamilnadu Province, used a story from the life of Buddha to illustrate the need to come to terms with death in life. The Gospel passage he was commenting on indicates that those who believe in Jesus experience eternal life, with its fullness coming only in our definitive encounter with Christ.
Upon entering the Chapter Hall the Mexican delegation distributed a CDRom of songs by their confrere Father Salvador Rivera. Father Salvador had to stop missionary work after a terrible road accident left him paralysed. For a quarter-century he then worked among handicapped persons of the same condition as his own. Five years ago he died, and work on his beatification process is now underway. Another gift was a ceramic jar as souvenir of pharmacy jars once in use in the Desert of Las Palmas belonging to the Aragon-Valencia Province.
The whole day was spent dialoguing with the Carmelite Nuns present. First the presidents of associations or federations of Spain, France, England, Italy, Germany, Brazil, the USA, Cameroon (for Africa) India, and Australia (for Oceania) reported on the current situation in their part of the world. All had high praise for the 10-year theological reflection project already underway—for them it is a very useful form of formation and communion among the nuns. On the other hand they pointed preoccupations over vocational discernment, formation both initial and ongoing, on spiritual accompaniment, sharing of financial resources, the search for forms of inculturation, etc.
At the beginning of the first work session Father Camilo Maccise informed the Chapter of the steps taken in the recent past to assure effective collaboration especially for devising the Ratio Institutionis and for the theological—spiritual reflection project. He reminded us that the Chapter does not decide matters concerning the nuns, rather, it ought to make decisions about the friars’ lives per se, but also in relation to the nuns. So, it is important to hear what the nuns want to tell us as well as what they expect of us. The moderator of the day’s sessions, Father Giuliano Bettati of Milan, read out number 58 of Vita Consecrata (our translation): It is urgent to take concrete steps to make room for the participation of women in many sectors and on all levels, also in decision-making procedures affecting them.” The attendance of our sisters at this Chapter is, put simply, the fruit of warm obedience to Pope John Paul II.
The plenary sessions and small group work detected signs of true communion and collaboration in many facets of our life (varying from place to place, of course). Another recognized phenomenon is this: it is difficult to find well-trained teachers to give courses lasting several days to just one monastery. As a result, it is important to see the association or federations promote participation in group sessions, always respecting a healthy balance of prayer, sharings, formation, and work.
Correction: Yesterday we should have identified the new Italian Definitor as the Delegate from the Neapolitan Province, while the Provincial is Father Leonardo Cuccurullo.
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