Second Day of the General Chapter 2019
The second day of the General Chapter was filled with the reports of the four General Councillors. Each councillor gave a detailed report on his own geographical area and on his area of particular responsibility. The first to report was Fr. John Keating, councillor for Europe. He described the present situation of the Order and the Church in Europe and urged that the Order would take the radical steps necessary to ensure the continuation of the Carmelite tradition in Europe irrespective of the number or the identity of provinces. In his report on the work of the General Commission for Evangelisation and Mission, John explained the link between the work of the commission and the apostolic exhoration, evangelii gaudium which led to the publication of three booklets of meditations combining the apostolic exhortation with the conclusions of the last General Chapter 2013. He further explained the nature and purpose of the workshop on preaching organised by the Commission in Fatima in January, 2019.
The first report was followed by that of the councillor for Africa, with responsibility for the area of justice, peace and theintegrityh of creation, Fr. Conrad Mutizamhepo. This report gave a detailed account of the development of the Carmelite presence in Africa and pointed to the need for formation and resources for study in order to strengthen and give direction to that presence. In the afternoon, Fr. Raul Maravi gave his report on the Americas and his area of responsibility which is lay carmelites and Carmelite schools. He spoke of the three major divisions in his geographic area, North America, Brazil, and the Spanish speaking countries of Central and South America. What is most noteworthy is the increase of vocations in this area since the 2013 General Chapter.
There has been a continuation of good relations with the Discalced Carmelites and a question about the organisation of Carmelite presence in these countries, where the problem of distance makes it difficult to form viable unites of administration and support. Finally Fr. Benny Phang got the opportunity to report on the situation of the order in Asia, Australia and Oceania. This was a story of steady development of the Order in eight countries in Asia, many with a significant number of vocations. The work of formation is seen to be a priority. Christianity is a small minority in Asia and in order to communicate with the members of the major religions of Asia, a more mystagogicical approach to Christian and Carmelite formation, initial and ongoing, is needed.
The four councillors ended their reports with word of thanks to the Prior General, the other members of the Council and the Carmelites they had encountered in their time of service on the General Council.