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

Information * N. 15 
2003.05.10

 

 

 

News Issue No. 15 - 10 May 2003 

Father Jude Peters, Provincial of Washington, presided at today´s Eucharist.  In his homily on the readings he affirmed that Saint Peter and the Church have carried on  Jesus’ ministry of preaching and healing.  He spoke of his own experiences of this kind as much in his family as in his work at Holy Hill, Wisconsin. 

Father Dominic Nirmal, just finishing up his service as Definitor for India, sketched the situation of formation and vocations in the Order during the past sexennium. In spite of deaths and those who left we have grown in numbers and thus stand at a good point internationally, even though it is true that the majority of those being formed is now predominant in parts of the Order different from the traditional ones (in India alone there are now 775 young men in formation, viz., among postulants, novices and those in temporary vows). He listed initiatives undertaken in this field, especially the joint meetings between OCD and O Carm groups.  He went to insist on the importance of both a convincing good example from both individuals and communities that will assist young men to overcome their uncertainty. We need to create manageable and attractive teaching materials like vocation videos, etc., etc.  He pointed to Chapter determinations taken in the past, such as promotion of active participation of our students in courses like specialization in sprituality at either Rome’s Teresianum or at Avila’s CITES center.

(As one of the Teresianum’s teachers used to say when some line of text or name was missing from his typed class notes, the acronymn “C.I.” (= the “Carmelite Institute” of Washington, D.C. got “stuck in his computer”. . .something all the more noticeable after two, yes two, Provincials contacted Fr. Jude above and Scribe, as Prior of Washington, to ask hospitality in the OCD monastery for two students they intend to send for courses at said Institute!)  Another positive event since the last General Chapter was the Formation Congress that took place in Lebanon in 1999.  That meeting called for adequate training for formators and their communities along with co-responsible work with the Center of the Order for courses of this sort and for creation of useful formation materials.  After that congress an international commission started work but was unable to attend to the objectives assigned to it. 

Father Philippe Hugule, from the Paris Province, then spelled out elements of fraternal life in community.  He counted 4,056 religious in 510 houses in the Order.  In connection with those numbers he challenged the Chapter to weigh what kind of numerical balance is needed to assure solid vitality in and among our communities.  He brought up the determinations left by the 1997 General Chapter held in Lisieux, listing things like the goal of devising a practical and community plan that allows for evaluation; reflection on some recent Church documents, and desirable openness to sharing our life with the laity.  Follow-up to those determinations was “spotty” whether in our communities or in the circumscriptions.  Father Philippe (heading for a sabbatical year at the CITES program this coming year, now that his work as definitor has ended—bonne chance, mon vieux) said there are two urgent matters deserving of the group’s attention, viz., the need to be fraternal and prayerful communities that give credible witness to the reality of personal contact with God; and the need for openness in sharing our experiences with the laity. 

Father Charles Serrao, outgoing Definitor for the Far East and Oceania, gave the Chapter a balance-sheet of the Order’s commitments to the Apostolate. He used this occasion to call attention to the 2001 Congress on Parishes held in Villa de Leyva, Columbia.  Our mission in the Church is to be witnesses to the Living Lord pointing to ourselves as centers of fraternal life and of personal encounter with Christ.  The 217 parishes we take care or have to sources of contact with the Carmelite charism.  The Congress helped devise an overall plan for parishes including general directives that ought to be adaptable to diversity of situations and places.  In this regard such a plan has been drawn up by the Conference of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).  It was distributed in the Chapter Hall for their information. 

The language groups brought to their ongoing work the reflections on the three areas just mentioned.  Work on formulating “practical conclusions” for the Working Document of the Chapter followed the morning’s plenary session. 

See you all on Monday.  Father General gave us the afternoon off.  On Sunday’s list of

activities is an organized outing to the Escorial palace half-way between Avila and Madrid.  And though no one is letting his guard down quite yet, Madrid will be next Sunday’s site of a fervent “exeunt omnes”—see your copy of Shakespeare’s plays.   

 
    
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