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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila 28th April 18th May 2003
Information * N. 17
News Issue No. 17 - 13 May 2003
Today is the optional memorial of Our Lady of Fatima here in the Iberian Peninsula, so Father Alpoin Alves, Provincial of Portugal presided the Eucharist and led the group in some traditional Portuguese chants. In his homily he first narrated the story of the apparitions, then summed up their message that reaches to the very heart of the Gospel, viz., a call to conversion and to prayer. He proposed Mary as a model of faith and of consecration to God.
As the day’s Moderator, Father Giuliano Bettati (Milan) read out the proposals of the 1997 Chapter concerning the Apostolate. One asked for the creation of at least one house of prayer and spirituality or a retreat house in each of the Order’s circumscriptions. This was done in most places. The call for an international congress on the parishes of the Order was also answered positively. Another call was active work to favor inculturation in the Order. Steps were taken in this direction, but much work remains to be done in this regard. A final proposal was the establishment of a secretariat for the promotion of justice and peace and for strengthening social projects in our mission countries, but it has not been realized yet.
Next Father Jeremiah Fitzpatrick, former Definitor for the Missions, described the current status of the Discalced Carmelite missions. Missionary efforts have always been at heart of our Order, just as the Constitutions point out. We should not forget that the work of our first missionaries gave direct impulse to the creation of today’s “Propaganda Fidei” Congregation in the Vatican. Through its Secretariat of the Missions the Casa Generalizia fosters assistance to our missionaries; still, the monasteries and provinces ought to collaborate actively with the missions to the extent they can.
After linguistic groups worked for an hour and a half at devising Chapter decisions the members returned to the Chapter Hall to attend a “launch” of the second in a series of volumes of the Complete Works of Saint Edith Stein in Spanish. Three OCD publishing houses (at Madrid, Burgos and in Navarre) are collaborating on this project. Father Francis Xavier Sancho used the occasion to stress the timeliness and universal appeal of the person and message of our sainted sister. To demonstrate this he went on to enumerate: a new scholarly edition being issued by the OCDs of Germany in 24 volumes; the 200 biographies published in so many languages; of numerous essays and congresses organized around the world; and the 35,000 links on the Internet devoted to her. He finished by expressing his hope that the Chapter might petition the Holy See to declare her a Doctor of the Church. [Minor factoid, available only to you faithful readers: Scribe put 40 copies of a page listing the 9 volumes in ICS Publications’ series of Stein’s works and, would you believe it? they were gone even before sundown.)
In the afternoon Father Joe Tauro [no, nothing to do with bull-fighting, but rather the Provincial of Karnataka-Goa Province] explained a document submitted to the drafting committee for the Chapter Message Committee. Then Father Flavio Caloi, former Vicar General, delivered a report about canonization and beatification and causes in general sent to the Chapter from Father Ildefonso Moriones, Postulator General in Rome. He then turned to a description of the way the Casa Generalizia in Rome
functions and how many religious work there. [How many of you remember what the newly elected Pope John XXIII told a friend visiting him in the Vatican for the first time quipped, “How many work here? Oh, about half!”] In our own “little Vatican” 28 religious of 12 nationalities aided by 8 lay workers assure operations on our behalf. Father Flavio recommended generosity on the part of the provinces when the need arises to supply personnel to serve at Corso d’Italia, 38. The persons selected ought to be mature and well-balanced religious, competent in their manner of working, and able to function in a multi-cultural milieu.
The European Conference of Provincials met once again in the evening to finish their discussions.
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