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

Information * N. 16 




News Issue No. 16  - 12 May 2003 

(Before starting we want to offer our prayers for the peace of mind and safety of our sisters in the Terre Haute Carmel, in the wake of the tornado that touched down on their property yesterday.) 

Today, Monday, Father Aloysius Rego, Vicar of the Delegation of Australia.  In his homily he asked us to consider our service to our brothers as a part of our pastoral outreach, most especially when we aim to communicate our experience of God and guide others along the way of prayer—just as Mary did for the Apostles.  Delicate melodies filled the chapel at this morning’s services, and the Delegate from South Corea sang a solo at the presentation of the gifts. 

The entire day was devoted to the “Lay Brothers.”  The moderator who showed his language skills, Father Jean Bergara, introduced a panel of four brothers from as many significant areas of the Order.  The aim of listening to their presentations was to include them in discussion about their share in the Order’s life.  Points touched by each of them were: the number and age of the brothers in their region, vocations, the outlook on future developments, challenges, and proposals for the calling and mission of the brothers. 

The presenters were Br. Eulogio Hernandez of Castile for the Iberian Peninsula; Br. Ryszak of Krakow for Central Europe and his mission territory in Africa; Br Tomas Ostos of Mexico for Latin America; and Br. Michael Stoegbauer of Washington for the United States.  A representative of Italy could not attend because an overriding commitment came up after he had been invited to the Chapter. 

All acknowledged how welcome and helpful was the Letter that Fr. Camilo sent to the Order titled  “Call-ing and Mission of the LayBrothers.”  

It is apparent that there are situations in which the brothers are still searching for an identity that  bespeaks equality with all others (clerics and non-clerics) who share the same Carmelite religious vocation.  The brothers in some parts of the Order already enjoy recognition of their place as they fill positions like managers, editors of magazines, spiritual assistants to the Secular Order, spiritual directors, bursars, architects and, in some cases, superiors.  It is an authentic vocation deserving of positive recognition and credit. 

The study groups then reflected on four demanding questions: “What should be the Order’s stance in promoting this calling?” “What is the name to be used when one describes the non-cleric brothers?”  “Will full participation in a General Chapter be open to them?” and “Should we change our Norms in order to make election of them as definitors possible?”  

The reports generated by the language groups contained convergent points of view, with understandable differences.  Still, all want to affirm the commonly shared vocation in consecrated life, and therefore remove any and all discrimination  and every distinction that does not derive from ordination to the presbyterate.  Some propositions will be voted upon by the Chapter

The day’s activities ended with Evening Prayer and mental prayer; but for the European Provincials there was to be an extra session after supper as the European Conference of Provincials.

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Updated 12 mag 2003  - Page maintained by O.C.D. General House