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Sunday, 16 September 2018 08:22

Prior General

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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.

Saturday, 05 October 2019 09:11

Final Message of the 2019 General Chapter

“You are my witnesses” (Is. 43:10)

From one generation to the next: called to be faithful to our Carmelite charism

We, Carmelite Friars, gathered in General Chapter at Il Carmelo, Sassone, Italy (10-27 September 2019), from all over the world, greet our brothers and sisters of the Carmelite Family: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A global Order

We rejoice in our coming together as brothers in Carmel. The general chapter is the principal sign of the unity of our Order, in all its diversity. It is the fraternal gathering in which we listen to the Holy Spirit and our Lord Jesus Christ, so as to know God’s will for this generation so that we best serve the Church (cf. Const. 255). In his address, Carmelite Archbishop Antonio Muniz challenged us with a question from our own tradition. He helped us to hear the Lord’s question to Elijah, ‘What are you doing here?’ as one addressed to members of the chapter: ‘What are you doing here, Carmelites?’  In the following days we attempted with the help of the Holy Spirit to give an answer to this question.  As a truly universal gathering, unity in diversity has been very evident at this chapter. While varying parts of the Order experience a decline in membership, many parts of the Order are experiencing steady growth. In the balance, demographic studies show a strong future for the Order.

We have rejoiced in the presence of many brothers from the emerging areas of the Order, grateful to the ever-creative Holy Spirit, to our missionaries, past and present, and to the founding provinces for their far-sightedness and generosity. The diversity in our chapter has enriched our discussions and deliberations, our fraternity, and our prayer.

Passing on the tradition

Through talks, personal reflection, and group sharing over our days together, we have reflected on the theme of the chapter, passing on the tradition from one generation to the next. We thank God for the charism and rich tradition that have been handed down to us throughout our history. We recognize, however, that “Tradition is alive as long as it is being passed on from one generation to the next” (from the talk of Fr. Michael Casey OCSO to the chapter). This responsibility challenges us to a deeper knowledge and more enthusiastic living out of our tradition. We cannot pass it on to new generations unless we own it, interiorize it, and make it our way of life. As the summary of the answers to the Instrumentum laboris presented by the Preparatory Commission of the chapter attests, we ourselves are aware that “There is a gap between the Carmelite ideal we are called to live and the reality of our lives.”

In addition, the reports by members of the outgoing General Council drew our attention to the urgency of prioritizing formation, both initial and ongoing. This awareness was echoed throughout our discussions. It has been emphasised that Carmelite formation cannot be limited to the novitiate but must be continued steadily all through the initial formation process and throughout our life. We often speak of formation as being our priority but for this to be so, concrete and clear decisions have to be taken.

The theme of passing on the tradition was amply and profoundly developed by Fr. Saverio Cannistrà, superior general of the Discalced Carmelites, in a talk that he gave on the day dedicated to the Carmelite Family. Fr. Saverio insisted particularly on the need for formation not to be limited to passing on concepts and information. It should aim, above all, at transmitting a life-style. It should transform hearts, not only minds. This can only be done by religious and communities who have truly made Christ the centre of their lives and radiate, often unknowingly, their experience of Him. Formation takes place in sincere personal dialogue between the formator and the person in formation, in the meeting of the questioning heart of the person in formation with the experience of a disciple who has been on the way of following Christ already for some time. In this encounter of two spiritual experiences both are enriched as each continues to grow in discipleship.

The chapter affirmed that community is essential to our Carmelite way of life. Our communities are called to be a counter-cultural sign of hope to a fragmented and highly individualistic world. Despite our diversity on many levels we witness to the possibility of forming community. This is especially true in the case of international communities. The chapter encourages the formation of more international communities within the Order. We discussed the number of Carmelites needed to have a healthy community, a community capable of sustaining a regular structure of liturgy, community meetings, and common meals. The suggested number of members for a community varied, but the concern for a vital community was shared by all. The chapter encourages all communities to take the renewal of their quality of life seriously, working on the building up of truly fraternal relationships.

Tradition ever-new

In his talk to the chapter, Fr. Michael Casey OCSO discussed the dynamism of tradition. We are aware that:

Tradition remains itself by constantly changing. It is ever new, yet it loses nothing of what it was. Tradition is a process of on-going re-formation of whatever is received in accordance to the emergent situation. Re-formation is not an occasional necessity; it is an integral component of the process. The shape of this re-formation is not determined exclusively by what has previously existed; it is a response to new challenges.

The various reforms that have enriched our tradition witness to this development of tradition. But so does the publication of new constitutions and their revision throughout our history. At this chapter, after much reflection and discussion, we have approved revisions to the 1995 Constitutions in order to update them in accordance with the more recent documents of the Church and the Order. Also, revisions were needed to address new situations and challenges that the Order is facing in today’s world.

We thank the commission which over the past six years worked on the preparation of proposed revisions of the Constitutions. We hope that we all become familiar with the revisions which have been approved at the chapter, so that they truly become guidelines for the Order.

New conditions in our world

The dialogue between our tradition and the context in which we live is particularly urgent in the new cultures in which the Order is now present, but it is not limited to them. As we enter a new period of history, inspired by the Spirit at work in every age and in the Church, we seek to adapt our way of life to new conditions.

Our world is rich in possibility and in opportunities. It is in a state of constant growth and evolution, but it is also full of contradictions, yet we rejoice in the accomplishments that are achieved within the world. We seek to understand the signs of the times and to examine them in the light of the Gospel, of our charism, and of our spiritual heritage, so that we may incarnate this way of life in different cultures (Const. 13).

In the face of prevailing injustice, of violence, of abuse, of the rejection of those who are different, of the degradation of the environment, we all need to return to believing in solidarity, standing for the truth, and risking our own comfort. We were saddened to hear about the suffering of the people of Venezuela and Congo and moved to respond with concrete acts of solidarity. Similarly, in revising the Constitutions and issuing a decree, the Order strengthened its commitment to maintain safe environments for minors and vulnerable adults. In her inspiring talk, Professor Bruna Costacurta reminded us that the prophetic testimony we are called to give, in imitation of Elijah (1 Kgs 19:5), arises as a bulwark against the temptation to slumber or admit defeat.

As Fr. Casey challenged us, in order to be prophetic, we need to shake off the constraints of capitalism, consumerism, and exploitation. “But there is more. We need to allow the grace of our charism to flourish and bear fruit in our individual and corporate lives. To be what we are meant to be in the midst of banal everyday realities.”

Mystical dimension

Over the course of our chapter we emphasized the need to achieve a balance in our charism. During the day of recollection before electing our new leadership, our sister of the Dutch Province Anne-Marie Bos reminded us that Bl. Titus Brandsma received the Carmelite tradition, studied it, loved it, and interiorized it.  He lived it out in a very personal and creative way, remaining a true contemplative in a very active life.

Bl. Titus understood mysticism as a call directed to all and spoke of an everyday mysticism, convinced that God is the ground of our being and can be encountered always and everywhere and especially in our neighbour. He is a model of the new synthesis of the elements of our charism that each generation is called to make in order to keep our tradition alive and relevant. The example of Bl. Titus also spurs us to share our tradition with all.

In his message to the chapter members and representatives of the Carmelite family, newly elected Prior General, Fr. Míceál O’Neill, spoke of the beauty of Carmel:

The name Carmel conjures attractive and fascinating images of mountain, loving encounter, fraternity and justice. It suggests beauty, and dwells on what is most essential in the life of the human person. Carmel has a way of speaking about God that helps people to know more and more that the Lord is our God, there is no other, and we are to love God with all our heart and mind and strength and our neighbour as our selves. There is a beauty in Carmel that can inspire us. We have a feeling that Carmel might be the very thing that people everywhere are seeking today. 

Pope Francis’ message

In an audience with Pope Francis, Carmelites were encouraged to seek the face of the living God through prayer, fraternity, and service. The Pope identified what he called “three lines of action” for the Order:

  • Fidelity and contemplation:
    The Pope reminded us that when the Church thinks of Carmel she thinks of a school of contemplation. Carmelites need a personal relationship with the Lord, nurtured through solitude, contemplation, and detachment. This Carmelite way allows Carmelites to serve God’s people in any ministry or apostolate. It calls us to give particular attention to the spiritual journey of people.
  • Accompaniment and prayer:
    The Pope quoted Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi who warned about the danger of routine and “lukewarmness”. We have to live more “inside” ourselves in order to be able to go “outside” and accompany people in their journey to God. Serenity and joy should be hallmarks of our work with the people.
  • Tenderness and compassion:
    Especially, we need tender and compassionate hearts in order to remain sensitive to the sufferings of people around us. When we are not faithful in our interior life, we may no longer see this suffering. The Pope quoted Bl. Angelo Paoli who said, “Whoever loves God must seek him in the poor.” And Pope Francis said tenderness “in the style of Jesus” will keep us away from “pseudomysticism”, and “weekend solidarity” which tempts us to stay away from the sufferings of the Christ’s body. “The wounds of Jesus are visible today in the bodies of our brothers and sisters who are stripped, humiliated and enslaved.”

Carmelite Family

On one of the last days of the chapter we had the joy of welcoming among us various members of the Carmelite Family, both religious and lay, and listening to some of them as they shared their experience of witnessing to the Carmelite charism.

The Prior General asked us to consider what it is that brings us together as a family:

People in all different sectors of the Carmelite Family recognize in themselves the values of the Carmelite Family and identify themselves as Carmelites in their lives today. The Carmelite in me, speaks to the Carmelite in you, resonates with the Carmelite in you and because of this resonating of the gift of the Holy Spirit, people draw close to one another, want to be nourished by one another and want to shape their lives together in accordance with this gift.

Journeying in hope

We would like to end our message by sharing with you, our brothers and sisters, the challenge posed to us by Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In his homily to the chapter, drawing from the story of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kgs 19, Carballo called us to follow the three divine injunctions addressed to Elijah: Get up, eat, and journey on. We cannot surrender to discouragement, but we need to get up in hope, convinced that God is still at work in Carmel, in the Church, and in the world even in these difficult times. Nourished by the Word of God, by the Eucharist and the sacraments, we continue our journey, faithful to our Carmelite identity and to the Church, ever ready to continue our witness.

May Mary, our mother and sister, Star of the Sea, show us the way and journey with us, as we continue to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ, her Son, and transmit from one generation to another the joy of living the Gospel in the Carmelite way of life.

Issued on this, the 27th day of September 2019, at Il Carmelo, Sassone, Italy

 

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 16:29

Bursar General

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At the General Chapter which is held every six years a friar is elected to be the Bursar General of the Order. The Bursar General administers the assets of the Order, takes care of the financial affairs of the General Council while liaising with the different areas of the Order. He convenes the financial commission which helps to determine the financial strategy of the Order ensuring that it is consistent with the Order’s preferential option for the poor and the marginalised.

At the General Chapter in September 2019, Father Christian Körner was elected as the Order’s Bursar General.

Tuesday, 01 October 2019 13:43

Lectio Divina October 2019

Pope's Prayer Intentions for October 2019

Evangelization – Holy Spirit

That the breath of the Holy Spirit engender a new missionary “spring” in the church.






























 

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Lectio Divina: Luke 9:51-56

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Lectio Divina: The Holy Guardian Angel - Matthew 18:1-5,10

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Lectio: Luke 10:1-12

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Lectio: Luke 10:13-16

Friday, October 4, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 10:17-24

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Lectio Divina: 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 10:25-37

Monday, October 7, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 10:38-42

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:1-4

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:5-13

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:15-26

Friday, October 11, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:27-28

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lectio Divina: 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:29-32

Monday, October 14, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:37-41

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:42-46

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 11:47-54

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Lectio Divina: St. Luke, Evangelist - Luke 10:1-9

Friday, October 18, 2019

Lectio: Luke 12:8-12

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Lectio Divina: 29th Sunday of ordinary time (C)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 12:13-21

Monday, October 21, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 12:35-38

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 12:39-48

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 12:49-53

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 12:54-59

Friday, October 25, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 13:1-9

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Lectio Divina: 30th Sunday of ordinary time (C)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Lectio Divina: Saints Simon and Jude, apostles - Luke 6:12-19

Monday, October 28, 2019

Lectio: Luke 13:18-21

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 13:22-30

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Lectio Divina: Luke 13:31-35

Thursday, October 31, 2019


Image:
Lectio Divina October 2019
Thursday, 26 September 2019 08:47

Fifteenth Day of the General Chapter 2019

The 24th of September was the Carmelite Family Day. The day started with the Eucharist presided by Fr. Saverio Cannistrà O.C.D., who also shared with the assembly some reflections on the transmission of the Carmelite charism, underlining the challenges, the contents and the various methods in the transmission of charism and formation today.

Subsequently, some representatives of the various sectors of the Carmelite Family (Sr. Elena Maria Lopez Font O.Carm., Sr. Zélia Da Conceição Dias, CMSTGB, Francisco Javier Bernabeu Almela and Sabrina Rubio Pérez) gave their input in reply to the question of how we can be witnesses to this generation, starting from their own experiences as a nun, missionary sister and young lay Carmelites respectively.
In the afternoon, Fr. Mario Alfarano, Delegate for the nuns, presented his report, outlining the response of the Order to recent pontifical statements on cloistered life, the various foundations in recent times, together with other changes taken place in various of our monasteries.

The Prior General shared a reflection on “the Carmelite Family, good new for the Church and the World”, highlighting six keywords: Carmel, charism, contemplation, community, collaboration, celebration.
Following a shared reflection in linguistic groups and in plenary session, the day came to a conclusion with a fraternal family celebration .

Sunday, 22 September, day of rest, the participants visited Castel Gandolfo and the gardens of the pontifical palace, an excellent place where the popes can rest and antique residence of the emperor Domitian.

On the 23 September, the 14th day of the General Chapter the work of the chapter continued with the process of revising the last proposals of the Constitutions and started to study and vote those proposals related to issues of government, international commissions, Europe, co-ordination of new foundations, formation, culture, Carmelite identity, justice and peace and care of creation, Carmelite liturgy and economy. Throughout the day members of the Carmelite family started to arrive.

The Eucharist was presided by the Secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Mgr. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM. He greeted the Prior General, the participants of the Chapter and the members of the Carmelite Family. He appreciated the close collaboration developed during these last years between the Congregation and the Carmelite Order.

During his homily he focused of the figure of the prophet Elijah, an inspirational figure of our charism and spirituality, pointing out three verbs: Stand up, eat and walk. Wake up as an antidote to resignation, described as the venom of religious life. Eat, to be sustained by the tradition, returning to the sources, living in faithfulness to our tradition, as Pope Francis reminded us in his message. Walk, to be open to the future, with an undivided heart, together, avoiding the snares that create division of the essential.

Afterwards Mgr Carballo greeted the Carmelite contemplative nuns and said a few words of appreciation to them. The Congregation had worked closely with them in these years.

On the 21st of September Pope Francis met all the members of the General Chapter the Clementine Hall. Afterwards the participants went to eat at CISA. The community and the employees of St Albert College made all welcome and were attentive to all the details.

The cordiality and closeness of Pope Francis was greatly appreciated. In his message, taking into account the theme of the Chapter, “You are my witnesses (Is.43, 10) from one generation to the other, called to remain faithful to our Carmelite charism” (cfr. Const 21), the Pope developed three ideas.

1. Faithfullness and contempaton.Pope Francis noted that the Church is proud of you and when it thinks of Carmel it thinks of a school that teaches contemplation. The Blessed Titus Brandsma, martyr and one of the great mystics of the 20thcentury had said, It is a characteristic of the Carmelite Order is an Order of mendicants of active life and who live in the midst of the people, conserving a great esteem for solidarity of … the world, considering solidarity and contemplation as the best of his spiritual life …” The Carmelite way of living contemplation prepares us to serve the people of God through different ministries and apostolates. Doing whatever you do, remain faithful to your past and open to the future with experiences living in obedience to Jesus Christ, paying special attention to the spiritual journey of people.

2. Accompaniment and prayer. The Holy Father said that Carmel is synonymous with the inner life. Carmelite mystics and writers have understood that “being in God” and “being in His things” do not always coincide. If we become anxious about a thousand things related to God without being rooted in Him, sooner or later he presents us with the bill: we realize that we have lost Him along the way. Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, advised that “lukewarmness” can creep into the consecrated life when the evangelical counsels become only a routine and love of Jesus is no longer the centre of life. The Pope also warned against worldliness. Pope Francis encouraged the Carmelites to accompany people to “make friends” with God. Saint Teresa said: “I hardly ever tired of speaking or hearing about God”. Our world thirsts for God and you Carmelites, teachers of prayer, can help many to leave behind the noise, haste and spiritual aridity. As good artisans of fraternity, place your trust in the Lord by overcoming the inertia of immobility and avoiding the temptation of reducing the religious community to “working groups” that would eventually dilute the fundamental elements of religious life.

3. Tenderness and compassion.At the end Pope Francis underlined the fact that the contemplative has a compassionate heart. When love is weakened, everything loses its flavour. Caring and creative love is a balm for those who are tired and exhausted for those who suffer abandonment. If one day, around us, there are no longer sick and hungry people, abandoned and despised – the minores of which your mendicant tradition speaks – it will not be because they are not there, but simply because we do not see them. The little ones and the discarded will always be there to offer us an opportunity to enable contemplation to be a window open to beauty, truth and goodness. “Pope Francis cited Blessed Angelo Paoli, whose third centenary of death we will soon celebrate “Whoever loves God must seek him in the poor, in the “brothers of Jesus”. The Pope recalled Blessed Angelo’s absolute trust in divine providence he had exclaimed with joy: “I have a pantry in which nothing is missing!” May your pantry overflow with compassion in the face of all forms of human suffering! The Pope continued: “Contemplation would merely be momentary if it were to be reduced to raptures and ecstasies that distance us from the joys and worries of the people. We must be wary of the contemplative who is not compassionate. Tenderness, in the style of Jesus shelters us from “pseudomystics”, “weekend solidarity” and the temptation to keep our distance from the wounds of Christ’s body. Three dangers: “pseudo-mystics”, “weekend solidarity” and the temptation to keep our distance from the wounds of Christ’s body. Jesus’ wounds are still visible today in the bodies of our brothers and sisters who are despoiled, humiliated and enslaved. By touching these wounds, caressing them, it is possible to worship the living God in our midst. Today there is a need for a revolution of tenderness which will make us more sensitive to the dark nights and dramas of humanity.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 11:01

Consiliarius

Consiliarius pro Ambitu Africae: A.R.P. Conrad Mutizamhepo, O.Carm.

Consiliarius pro Ambitu Americarum: A.R.P. Luis Maza Subero, O.Carm.

Consiliarius pro Ambitu Asiae, Australiae et Oceaniae: A.R.P. Robert Thomas Puthussery, O.Carm.

Consiliarius pro Ambitu Europae: A.R.P. Richard Byrne, O.Carm.

Vices Prior Generalis: A.R.P. Benny Phang Khong Wing, O.Carm

Procurator Generalis: A.R.P. Michael Farrugia, O.Carm.

Oeconomus Generalis: A.R.P. Christian Körner O.Carm.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019 09:50

Prior Generalis Ordinis

Fr. Míċéal O'Neill O.Carm.

Provincae Hiberniae alumnus

die XVII septembris a.D. MMXIX

festa S. Alberti Hierosolomytani,

a Capitolo Generali

Prior Generalis Ordinis

canonice electus fuit.

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