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Displaying items by tag: prior general

Friday, 10 December 2021 14:26

Fr. Míċeál O'Neill Elected to USG Committees

The Carmelite Prior General, Míċeál O'Neill, O. Carm., was elected to the executive committee of the Union of Superiors General (USG). He will represent the Mendicant orders. Fr. Míċéal was also selected as one of the members of the so-called Commission of 16.

The Executive Committee is responsible for the ordinary decisions of the Union and for implementation of resolutions of the Assembly. The Commission of 16 is made up of eight male religious and eight female religious. They have the charge of engaging in formal dialogue with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Associations of Apostolic Life from time to time.

The members also elected Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J., for a second term as president of the USG. The newly elected serve for the period 2021-2024.

The USG was created "to promote the life and mission of the individual institutes at the service of the Church, for a more effective collaboration among them, and for a more fruitful contact with the Holy See and hierarchy. Its members are the superior generals of men’s Religious Institutes or Societies of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right. Practically it is a voluntary forum for the exchange information and accompaniment.

The organization’s 96th Assembly was held on November 24-26, 2021, at the Fraterna Domus, a facility of the Associazione Volontari del Servizio Sociale Cristiano.

 USG Conference 1 450

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Fr. Míceál O'Neill, O.Carm., Prior General of the Order, invites all the Carmelite Family members to have a joyful and prayerful celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the 16 July 2021.

Watch here



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Wednesday, 23 December 2020 04:49

A message for Christmas

A Happy Christmas to one and all. It is that time of year when we have the joy of wishing one another the blessings of Christmas. I extend my good wishes and the good wishes of our General Council to all the Carmelite friars around the world,  to the contemplative nuns, the sisters and brothers in apostolic congregations and the many lay Carmelite men and women who rejoice in being members of the Carmelite Family.

Circumstances change, but the message of Christmas remains the same:  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” Jesus came as the Saviour and brother for all.  This Christmas, 2020 will find us changed. We are poorer, sicker, more frightened that we can ever remember. But we are also stronger, strengthened by what we have seen of the goodness of people who sacrifice themselves every day in order to help others, in the very difficult circumstances brought about by the Coronavirus. And that is not all. While it is true that there are many examples of violent deaths, deaths in the Mediterranean, victims of crime, war and famine, before our eyes, every day, there are also many signs of life because of the many people who save lives, respect life and do all they can to protect the dignity of other people and of our common home. This Christmas wouldn’t it be lovely to give one another the gift of a Christmas that is simple, a Gospel Christmas, a purer Christmas, one in which we are attentive to the needs of others, especially the needs of the poor, the infirm, migrants, and people with no home either for themselves or for their families. Let us commend one another and the whole of humanity to the loving care of Mary and Joseph as we welcome the gift of their Son, God made human, and join in one voice in singing, Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women that our God loves. May the grace and peace of the Incarnate Word fill your lives and your homes throughout this holy Season.   Amen. Thank you.

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Tuesday, 08 December 2020 04:07

St. Joseph, Patron of Carmel

A Letter from the Prior General, O.Carm. and Superior General, O.C.D. to the Carmelite Family on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

This year, 2020, we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph in the full throws of a pandemic, that forced us to remain in our own homes. Because of that, we felt the need even more to turn to that just and faithful man who knew the meaning of hardship, exile, and worries about tomorrow, but did not lose heart, but continued to believe and hope God, from whom he had received a very unique mission: he was to take care of Mary and the child Jesus, the family of Nazareth, the embryo of the new family that God was giving to the world. Pope Francis, preaching in Santa Marta, reminded us of some of the qualities of St. Joseph: the man of clear and practical vision, capable of doing his work with precision and professional skill, and one who at the same time penetrated the mystery of God, beyond all that was familiar to him or was under his control, and in the presence of which he kneels and adores.

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Wednesday, 02 December 2020 14:28

Former Priors General

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A letter to Carmelite Friars, Contemplative Sisters, Sisters and Brothers of Congregations of Apostolic Life, Members of the Carmelite Third Order, Lay Carmelites in general and all who celebrate the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel with special devotion:

Mary kept all these things in her heart. Lk 2,52

Dear sisters and brothers in Carmel,

On this day of celebration, as we rejoice in being brothers and sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, I reach out to each one of you, in the bond of love.  These days we are thinking a lot, pondering like Mary, everything that is happening in our world. Mary kept all these things in her heart (Lk 2,19) and pondering what was happening in her world, she found the will of God. Mary the contemplative, Mary full of grace, full of God, full of Gospel: That is the type of person who can respond to what is happening in today’s world.

In our time of confinement, it is possible that we as people with a sense of God, capable of pondering, found in these new conditions new opportunities for solidarity and for the evangelization of the world. Here there are new manifestations of God’s will, helping us to grow and mature as custodians of our world and one another.

We have grown together in our communities. Forced to remain indoors, by pondering alone or with others, we have discovered so much of the truths of our faith and of our Carmelite vocation. While some of us had the Eucharist all the time, others had to rely on the internet and use the prayers for spiritual communion. This raised questions about how we value the Eucharist. For people who normally celebrate the Eucharist everyday, it was difficult to adapt to its absence. For people who were faithful to the Sunday Eucharist, it was something very new to be told that they are not to go to Mass. When we return to the normal celebration of the Eucharist, it may be that we will do it with greater conviction and understanding, on account of what became a Eucharistic fast.

We have lived with restrictions and with some fear now for many months. Families are grieving. Hospitals are still taking care of victims of the virus. Doctors, nurses and the whole medical profession and staff have shown all their dedication, professionalism and zeal, beyond the call of duty.  People have made sacrifices to make sure there was bread on our tables, and as everywhere people are counting the toll that the virus has taken on their lives through bereavement, illness, loss of employment and livelihood, we might say that we are seeing an explosion of humanity.

If it was all behind us, we could take a different view. However, now that we are learning to co-habit with the virus, and we try not to give in to the fear that there is more to come, we all have to ask, how are we to take care of one another, how are we to act in the future, to limit the negative effects of this virus, and a create a society in which we are not bound by fear, and no one is left in need?  It may well be simply a question of caring and sharing.

I am on fire with zeal for the Lord (I Kg 19,10)

Generating, caring and protecting are among the charisms that we see in Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.  As I think about the various Carmelite communities of both men and women around the world, I am struck by how important this feast is to us all. In some places it is just the day itself; in some places it is three days of reflection and prayer and in other places it is the full nine days of the novena. The celebrations are imbued with warmth and devotion, and with conviction that makes us think that perhaps this is a moment when we as Carmelites are most zealous.

The world of today is asking us to be zealous. Down through the centuries, Carmelites have echoed and repeated the words of the Prophet Elijah, “I am on fire with zeal for the Lord God of hosts”.(I Kg 19)  Our celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel may be a very good time for us to renew, revive and direct our zeal. Four days later, we will have another opportunity, when we celebrate the feast of the Prophet himself. 

Zeal is a gift. As such we must pray for it. We must ask God to give us zeal, to make us who we say we are. But, zeal is not always an attractive word. It sometimes suggests extremism.  We do not automatically feel that we want this gift. I recall the zeal of John the Baptist, the voice crying in the wilderness, living on locusts and wild honey (Mk 1,7) and I compare that to the calm of Jesus speaking to the people in the Synagogue. (Lk 4,21-22)   I think of the Gospel, where we see Christ on the Cross, Mary and John standing by. These are all moments of zeal, if by zeal we mean a heart burning with desire for all that is good and a spirit that will work hard and make sacrifices to achieve it. The globalization of zeal for the things of God might be the antidote to the globalization of indifference that Pope Francis so often talks about.

And no one was left in need. Acts 2,45

As we become aware of one another’s needs, we are entering a new age of sharing. Within our family, we are aware that many communities have lost some of their sources of income. Among lay Carmelites there are those who have lost their jobs, and whose homes may be threatened. New projects in our family will always need funding. In the face of the needs that are emerging, we have to look again at the model of the early Christian community, an image and reality that inspired the Carmelite Rule. That community was built on prayer, the pondering of the Scriptures, the breaking of bread, and the sharing of all that people possessed so that no one was left in need. (Acts 2,42-45) As we become aware of one another’s needs, we can help one another and be an example to others of the kind of sharing that will be needed in our society in the future, if no one is to be left in need. The dialogue in John’s Gospel (Jn 6,9-10) comes to mind: Andrew said, “There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish, but what is that between so many? In the end no one was left in need. In our zeal for the things of the Gospel, we will take up the challenge of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana, “Do whatever he tells you to do”. (Jn 2,5)

This year’s celebration will be different to that of other years. As a family, we have been spared in many ways, but we do not forget those who have died in the Netherlands and in Italy. Let our celebration this year be marked by our prayer for the individuals, families and communities who suffered the worst effects of the Coronavirus.

On this feast may each one hear again the words from the cross, “Behold you son”, “Behold you mother”, (Jn 19,26-27)   and know that as our Saviour gave us to one another and to Mary, we may know how to take care of one another in the common home that is blessed by the presence of Mary our Mother and Sister.

Míceál O’Neill
Prior General

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As the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is approaching, the Prior General sends a short video message to the Carmelite Family expressing his best wishes and inviting all members to celebrate the Feast with humility and gratitude.

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Monday, 04 May 2020 00:00

The feast of Saint Angelus of Sicily

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I join with the very many people who are celebrating the feast of Saint Angelus of Sicily, and my first thought is to pray for his intercession and protection for a world that is learning to live the corona virus, Covid-19. May he protect us today just as, in times gone by, he protected the city of Licata.

Today we open the celebrations of the eighth centenary of his death as a martyr. Saint Angelus has remained in the mind and the devotion of the people for eight hundred years. This anniversary has led to the return of the Carmelite Friars to the Shrine of Saint Angelus in Licata. I thank the Cardinal Archbishop of Agrigento, Francesco Montenegro for his invitation and for the way in which he has facilitated the return of my brother Carmelites to Licata.

Saint Angelus from Jerusalem, is remembered and honoured in the Church as a Carmelite religious, a martyr and a witness to the Gospel.

Carmelite

Born in Jerusalem, Angelus knew the first generation of the Carmelites, that group of people who settled on Mount Carmel and who received the Rule of Carmel from the Patriarch, Albert of Jerusalem. The figure of Jesus Christ pervades that Rule. The Carmelite who follows it lives his life in “allegiance to Jesus Christ” and puts on “the armour of God”. He follows the Gospel of Christ and clothes himself in the virtues of God - justice, faith, salvation and the Word of the Lord. Armour on the one hand protects us from all evil and on the other hand proposes the truth of the Gospel.

With gift and mission Angelus left  the Middle East and made his way to Europe. He arrived in Sicily, and as a man clothed in the armour of God he dedicated himself to his mission. He preached the Gospel, and opposed the falsehood and injustice of the powerful. He died as a martyr, a consequence of the gospel he proposed and the justice he defended. Today we can find in him a model and a companion when we feel oppressed by the evils of today, organized crime, human trafficking, abuse of our common home, the problem of the many people who seek a safe place in society and do not find it. We can all find strength in the armour of God - holy thoughts, justice, faith and salvation offered to all without exception.

Martyr

Martyrdom is the measure of the depth of our commitment to truth and justice. It is the measure of true commitment in favour of a cause which is not one’s own gratification, but the good of one’s neighbour, the defence of truth. Martyrdom is the measure of our love. The martyr is one with strong and deep convictions, and one who accepts the consequences of holding those convictions. Faced with the possibility of death or suffering, the person who loves like Saint Angelus does not turn back. In him we find an example for today’s young people, young people who seek a purpose for their life, an environment conducive to their growth, among people who are capable of dedicating their lives for the good of others, people who do not draw back in the face of difficulties. The martyrs today are those we see in hospitals, who stay at the bedside of virus sufferers, knowing that their own lives are in danger.

Witness

The world today follows a witness more than a teacher and if it follows the teacher it is because he or she is a witness. Witness lets us see the truth of life and the truth of the Gospel, so as to awaken in those who see it the desire to live according to that truth of life and that Gospel. “By this they will know that you are my disciples,” says the Lord. They will see the love you have for others. For his witness, the world remembers Angelus of Sicily. Because of his witness the people recognized in him, immediately, eight centuries ago, the truth of his life, and the truth of the Gospel he preached and so their memory and memory of the Church gives us the feast that we celebrate today.

I pray to God that the Jubilee that begins today, and the return of the friars to the Shrine of Saint Angelus may be signs of God’s love for his people, and that the shrine under the guidance of the Carmelites, may offer the local people, the immigrants and the pilgrims, a place of encounter, restoration and gospel enlightenment. May the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, guide our steps. Thank you.

Míceál O’Neill, O.Carm.
Prior General

Rome, 4th May 2020.

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Sunday, 16 September 2018 08:22

Prior General

priorgeneral 150

Every six years one of the friars is elected to be the Prior General of the Order. This election takes place at an international meeting of the Order called the General Chapter. This is a fraternal gathering where friars from the different areas of the Order come together to reflect as a community on our faithfulness to the Gospel and to our Carmelite charism.

Once elected the Prior General has the responsibility to lead and guide the Order for the following six years. He has to make sure that an authentic spirit of Carmel is present and growing throughout the Order especially in its life of prayer and in the life and ministry of its members.

During the last General Chapter, on 17th September 2019, Father Míceál O'Neill was elected Prior General.

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