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Displaying items by tag: General Councillor for Europe

Thursday, 28 January 2021 12:47

Europe

Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025

Richard Byrne, O.Carm.

globalplaneurope01 450Europe is the continent of the great pilgrim paths. Among its people there continues to be a deep hunger for God. Undoubtedly, there has been a shifting away from Christianity as European society has become more secu­larised. Indeed, many of the countries in Europe could be described as post-Christian: the elements of Christian faith are present but without a shared “Christian memory and heritage” (Ecclesia in Europa). However, belief is not ab­sent, although people are more interested in spirituality than doctrine. The failure of the Church in safeguarding the weakest in society has had a devastating impact. Eu­rope is also a land of increasing diversity and pluralism which afford the possibility of dialogue among people of different faiths and none. Europe faces many challenges especially those coming from immigration and the devas­tating impact of Covid-19.

Within Europe, Carmel still continues to bear fruit, as many Carmelites with hard work and dedication serve the Gospel. Carmelites are uniquely placed to offer a voice from our tradition in this complex and challenging Europe.

Living in “allegiance to Jesus Christ”, in moments of en­counter, Carmelites can speak of our personal and living relationship with Christ while recognising the plurality of religious positions. Our communities say to those who seek to exclude people from society that we Carmelites discover in each of our sisters and brothers the presence of God and can walk together towards God (Con. 19). As once we were the immigrants in Europe, our service in the midst of the people now allows us to joyfully accept the invitation “to encounter people on the ‘peripheries’ and share the Gospel with them” (Con. 101).

At the same time, it is true that challenges exist for Car­mel in Europe which faces painful choices in how best to preserve the Carmelite charism while letting go of existing structures. Yet, Carmel in Europe must also commit itself anew “to wake up the world” and not become closed in on itself or a hostage to its problems. As compassionate con­templatives we must always be wary of a ‘lukewarmness’ creeping into our lives, of an “inertia of immobility” and “the temptation to keep our distance from the wounds of Christ’s body” (Pope Francis, Carmelite General Chapter, 2019). Instead, like all the members of the Church, Carmelites are called to continue to “light a fire in the heart of the world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 271).

Confident that God continues his initiative of calling people to the Church and to Carmel, our vocations minis­try is not so much about “brilliant vocation programs” but serves by helping people to discover the gift within them­selves so they can choose the lifestyle which corresponds to it. This is a priority. European Carmelites are challenged to “open our eyes and our hearts to a new understanding and expression of our Carmelite tradition to which young people can relate” which opens Carmel to a process of con­version, daily discernment and ongoing formation.

Youth ministry, which should be a primary ministry of every entity within Europe, provides opportunities to “en­counter young people, to travel with them and to listen to them”.

Plans

  1. To facilitate meetings of Vocation Promoters with their provincials, commissaries and delegates so as to pro­mote the prioritisation of the ministry of vocations within Europe.
  2. To continue the work of the Awakening project and its ministry to young people promoting youth ministry as a primary ministry of each entity in Europe.
  3. To establish an ad hoc Commission for Ongoing Forma­tion in Europe to offer, prepare and organise a regular ongoing formation programme and to persuade Car­melites of its necessity.
  4. To facilitate a process in preserving faithfully the char­ism of Carmel in Europe.
  5. To explore and facilitate the unification of provinces where necessary especially through the development of strategies for co-operation.
  6. To organise and facilitate an annual meeting of the Pro­vincials and Commissary Provincials and Delegates.
  7. To research and present possibilities for a common Eu­ropean student house for those in simple profession.
Thursday, 28 January 2021 12:32

Communications Task Force

Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025

Richard Byrne, O.Carm.

Aware of the growing importance of the ministry of community for evangelisation – especially by means of so­cial networks (Con. 35) – the Carmelite Order seeks to speak words of hope and of salvation “more by our life than by our words” (Con. 24) to all women and men wherever they may be but especially to anyone “who draws their inspira­tion from the Rule of St Albert” (Con. 28). The primary fo­cus of all communications from the Carmelite Order is the message of the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom of God, which we have received from Christ the living Word, expressed through the charism of the Carmelite Order us­ing a wide variety (media) of means of communication.

The Carmelite Order embraces the use of different me­dia including websites, social networks, publications and video/music productions for both internal and external communication. Our ministry of communication does not aim to simply generate information for consumption but instead wishes to foster mutually respectful encounters in which human beings can truly listen to each other and grow in understanding and knowledge (Pope Francis, 2015, World Communications Day). In addition, Carmelites acknowledge that it is not a matter of simply advertising ourselves but instead of “bearing witness to what the Spirit writes in our hearts” (Pope Francis, 2020, World Communications Day).

In particular, in our use of social networks, Carmelites wish to foster mutually respectful encounters in which human beings can truly listen to each other and grow in understanding and knowledge. In the public square of the digital world, we have “a responsibility for our neighbour whom we do not see but who … has a dignity which must be respected” (Pope Francis, 2016, World Communications Day). Keeping mind that the Prophet Elijah recognised the voice of God not in the great and strong wind nor in the earth­quake or the fire, but in “a still small voice” (1 Kg 19:11-12), Carmelites are aware that the “truth which we long for does not derive its worth from its ‘popularity’ or from the amount of attention it receives” (Pope Benedict XVI, 2011, World Communications Day).

Communication within our Carmelite Family allows us to recognise each other and creates a closeness by which our common vocation can be recognised and fostered. The General Curia acknowledges that it has an important role to play in this ministry and, consequently, wishing to strengthen and update this important ministry, the General Council establishes a Task Force with the following terms of reference.

Plans

  1. To evaluate and update the General Curia’s current on­line presence and use of social networks.
  2. To explore different possible methods of providing the Order’s desired online presence (external agencies, in­ternal appointments) and make a proposal to the Gen­eral Council with a proposed budget.
  3. To evaluate and propose a structure for the General Cu­ria’s Communications Office.
  4. To propose a job description for the office of the Del­egate for social communication (Con. 323).
  5. To explore and propose ways in which communica­tion can be fostered between the General Curia and the various areas of the Order (internal) and to those who feel drawn to the values of Carmel (external).
  6. To propose a Communications Plan for the Carmelite Order.
  7. In consultation with the Task Force for the Reform of the Institutum Carmelitanum, to evaluate the mission and structure of Edizioni Carmelitane (including how its publications are distributed) and, if necessary, propose how this might be updated.

Members

  • Richard Byrne, O.Carm.
  • William Harry, O.Carm. (PCM, USA)
  • Roberto Hasudungan Sianturi, O.Carm. (Indonesia)
  • David Hoffman, O.Carm. (Australia-Timor Leste)
Thursday, 28 January 2021 09:41

Liturgy and Prayer Commission

Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025

Richard Byrne, O.Carm.

Carmelites live their life of allegiance to Jesus Christ in a contemplative attitude exercised in a life of prayer, fraternity and service in the midst of the people. The orientation towards contemplation is not merely one of these elements of our charism; it is the dynamic ele­ment which unifies them (Con. 14).
Prayer is the way we relate to God both as individuals and as community. In prayer we become open to God who gradually transforms us through all the events of our lives, whether great or small (Con. 18).
The Rule of Carmel puts liturgical life at the centre of our community life both in practice and symbolically (RIVC, 39).

In the midst of a globalised and pluralist world, our faithful commitment to prayer allows us as Carmelites to witness to the “living and mysterious presence of God” (Con. 18). Our prayer reminds us that the life of Carmel is Christocentric. Permeating through every aspect of a Car­melite’s life, prayer not only nourishes our spiritual lives, but also through gradual transformation enriches our fra­ternal life and makes us better able to serve in the Church with compassion in a spirit of solidarity with our sisters and brothers.

While prayer can assume many forms, Carmelites re­gard liturgical prayer – especially communal – as a central part of our overall spiritual life (Liturgical Congress, 2018, Final Message). Intimately linked with our personal prayer, our liturgical prayer is the visible sign of the Order at prayer (RIVC 39). Our contemplative way of living keeps our liturgical celebrations always Paschal with a Resurrec­tion orientation. Consequently, formation in liturgy is vital for Carmelites and is not just about “liturgical studies for ministry or knowledge of the rubrics, but about a frater­nal celebration of who we Carmelites are” (RIVC, 39). Car­melites are particularly nourished in the Word and in the Eucharist.

As the bread is broken and shared, the daily Eucharist builds our Carmelite community, not just symbolically, but as a sign of our “sharing in the mystery of God and with the community of those in need” (RIVC, 39). In the Eucha­rist we offer our daily lives in total sacrifice in an intimate union with Christ’s paschal mystery (Con. 73).

Pondering the Word is an essential element of our char­ism and Carmelite identity and Lectio divina is given a prominent role in our prayer life (Con. 85). The communal celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, especially with the faithful, is central to our identity.

The Carmelite way is marked by silence (RIVC, 36). In­deed, our spirit of contemplation can be greatly nurtured by silent prayer. In addition, retreats, days of recollection and the reading of the writings of our Order are important for Carmelites.

Alongside our devotion to the Saints of Carmel, Carmel­ites especially venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary and, con­sequently, our Marian shrines are held in high regard not only as centres of the Word and liturgical life but also as centres of evangelisation, solidarity and places of encoun­ter with those of other faiths and none (Con. 89-93).

Plans

  1. To continue updating the Liturgical Rites and Books of the Carmelite Order (including but not limited to the Carmelite Ritual, the Lectionary, the Liturgy of the Hours) as well as seeking their approval, translation and publication;
  2. To continue to prepare additional materials from Car­melite authors for the Carmelite Office of Readings for the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday and on other days of particular devotion to Our Lady of Mt Carmel;
  3. To seek a collaborative project with the General Com­mission on Formation regarding (a) the liturgical prepa­ration of the brothers in formation, (b) liturgical stud­ies from the Carmelite tradition as part of ongoing for­mation courses for the Order, and (c) the promotion of good preaching (General Chapter Decree, 2019);
  4. To promote an uptake in the study of Liturgy at an ad­vanced level in dialogue with the relevant people (Gen­eral Chapter Recommendation, 2019);
  5. To explore and promote ways of celebrating the Liturgy from a Carmelite perspective;
  6. To explore ways in which the shrines of the Order could be fostered at an Order level;
  7. To organise congresses and meetings that foster the li­turgical and prayer life of the members of the Carmelite Family.

Members

  • Richard Byrne, O.Carm.
  • Désiré Unen Alimange, O.Carm. (Congo)
  • Pius Robert Manik, O.Carm. (Indonesia)
  • Alexander Vella, O.Carm. (Malta)
  • John Keating, O.Carm. (Ireland)
  • Nerina de Simone, CMSTBG
Thursday, 28 January 2021 03:17

General Councillor for Europe

 

Published in General Curia

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