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Africa

Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025

Conrad Mutizamhepo, O.Carm.

All are to remain in their cells or near them, meditating day and night on the Law of the Lord and keeping vigil in prayer, unless they are occupied with other worthy activities (Rule, 10).
From the beginning, the Carmelite Order has taken on both a life of prayer and an apostolate of prayer. Prayer is the centre of our lives, and authentic community and ministry spring from this source. The prayer of the Carmelite community is a sign of the praying Church to the world (Con. 67).

Inspired by the fundamental directions of our charism and by present-day ecclesial and social contexts, the fol­lowing guidelines are offered for the discernment of our apostolic mission:

  • a life of brotherhood and prayer in the midst of the people;
  • a response to the needs of the local and universal Church;
  • a preferential service to the poor and the marginal­ized;
  • a special attention to issues concerning women;
  • a commitment to justice and peace;
  • a care for those who show an interest in the spirit, the spiritual heritage, and the life of Carmel.

In these ways we commit ourselves to listening to God, as he speaks to us in Scripture and in the history of our people (Con. 94).

View the embedded image gallery online at:
https://ocarm.org/en/item/5459-africa#sigProId48b7f5a78c

Carmel of the ancient observance (O.Carm.) is present in seven African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dem­ocratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanza­nia and Zimbabwe. Our brothers of the Teresian Reform (OCD) are in a lot more countries than ourselves. The pur­pose of our presence in Africa is the joyful evangelization of the peoples of Africa by participating in witness, spread and inculturation of the Gospel of Christ according to the Carmelite charism. We can engage in the mission of evan­gelization by responding in a specifically Carmelite way by striving to be: “a) authentic men and women of prayer; b) to live an evangelical community life, open to dialogue and building relationships in the areas we live and serve; and c) to be prophetic in our ministries” and recognizing that “a new reality of Church is emerging, on that is synodal, dialogical, collaborative, inclusive and accountable”.[1] We need to bear in mind that mission is, first of all, a matter of being and secondarily a matter of doing. Pope Benedict XVI and his successor Pope Francis have stated with clar­ity that “It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but ‘by attraction’.[2] For all peoples everywhere, but more specifically for Africans, the Gospel “fully humanizes, inte­grally dignifies persons and peoples, and brings fulfilment to every heart and the whole of life”.[3]

It is in this context that we need to stress on Carmelites deepening their reception, ownership and interiorization of the charism that has been handed down to us by succes­sive generations of Carmelites so that we can make it our way of life.

Plans

  1. To engage in fraternal visits in order to cultivate first hand knowledge of realities and development in entities;
  2. To assist in raising awareness on the General Chapter 2019 Decree, updating of Carmelite Constitutions, pri­orities, proposals and recommendations;
  3. To encourage friars to reflect on the following priorities for building a more robust Carmelite presence:
    • Formation: Vocations Promotion, Accompaniment, Discernment and Evaluation;
    • Interiority: Fidelity to prayer and contemplation through cultivation of friars’ personal relationship with God;
    • Witnessing Communities: Building communities of presence, encounter, prayer, respect, care and mutual accompaniment;
    • Prophetic reading of the signs of the times and respond­ing to them through service of people: re-evaluating our ministerial choices in line with our charism and the needs of the people especially the minores recog­nizing that the Gospel offers a profound connection between evangelization and human advancement;
    • Financial self-sustainability of new entities: to learn, explore and find ways of fundraising for consolida­tion and sustainable growth of the charism in new presences;
    • The Carmelite Family: Transmission and incultura­tion of the Carmelite spirituality among youth, men and women;
    • Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults: Com­mitment to following best policy and practice and promoting the welfare all persons and ensuring an environment free from abuse and harassment of any form.
  4. To encourage intra-African dialogue and exchange with­in and across language blocs through formation of a fo­rum to network local entity leaders and formators;
  5. To conduct a workshop-conference for vocation pro­moters and formators on vocation discernment, accom­paniment, nurturance and evaluation;
  6. To conduct a workshop-conference for leaders and bur­sars on Leadership, Financial Accountability and Self-Sustainability;
  7. To conduct a workshop-conference on prophetic read­ing of the signs of the times and responding to them in light of the Gospel for pastoral ministers on ministry review, evaluation and alignment of ministries with our charismatic endowment and skills pool.
  8. To encourage entities to conduct conferences on the theme of the Carmelite Family in their countries or re­gions to share experiences on witnessing to the Carmel­ite charism in the various states of life and explore ways in which Carmel may respond more appropriately to the cry for spirituality in our times.

 

[1] O.Carm.-OCD General Councils Meeting, We are Mission: because We are God’s Love Poured Out, 27-31 Mary 2019, Gort Muire, Dublin. See: https://ocarm.org/en/carmel/statement-ocarm-ocd-general-councils-meeting.dublin-ireland-may2019#English.

[2] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World, Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, no. 15.

[3] Pope Francis, Querida Amazonia, Post-synodal Apostolic Ex¬hortation to the People of God and to all persons of good will, Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2020, no. 76.

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