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Communicationes N. 161


  • Celebration for the constitution of the new Delhi Province

  • A group studies how to relaunch the Order as an NGO at the UN

  • Apostolic Vicariate of St.Michael, Sucumbios

  • Collaboration between regions and the mission to China will focus the agendas at the Provincial Chapters of Eastern Asia and Australia

  • Fr. General participates in the regional meeting for Eastern Asia and Australia

Fr. General and the Definitor for India were present
Celebration of the constitution for the new Delhi Province

Hoshiarpur, November 5, 2010 (Communicationes). – Fr. Saverio Cannistra, General of the Discalced Carmelites, formally established the Commissariat of Delhi, India, as a new Province, during a solemn celebration of the Eucharist, on November 4, in Mount Carmel Ashram, Hoshiarpur-Punjab.

The Bishop of Jalapa, Mgr. Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, presided at the Eucharist, together with Fr. General, the General Definitor for India, Fr. Augustine Mulloor; the Provincial of the new Delhi Province, Fr. Benjamin Kokkat and a large number of priests and religious from different
dioceses as well as many Carmelites from the Malabar Province and other Indian Provinces.

Province of Saint Therese of Lisieux, Delhi
The new Delhi Province traces its roots to the missionary work by the Malabar Province in the Jalapa diocese and to the response to the request by the Capuchin Bishop, Mgr. Sinforiano to the Provincial of Malabar, Fr. Patrick Mootheriyil.  

The Carmelite mission from the Malabar Province was raised from the category of Provincial Delegation in 1987, to Regional Vicariate in 1994 and in 2004 to that of a Commissariat. On September 8, the General Definitor approved that the Delhi Commissariat be raised to a Province under the patronage of Saint Therese of Lisieux.

The territory of the new Latin-rite Province of New Delhi includes the Indian states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Khand Utter, Delhi and the territory of the Union of Khandigarh.  

At the present time, the Delhi Province consists of 32 clerical brothers, 19 students, 5 novices, postulants and 16 aspirants aged 18.  

The new Province has nine canonically erected houses: Delhi (Provincial house), Olloor in Kerala and Una, in Himachal Pradesh (aspirants’ houses), Hoshiarpur in the Punjab (postulants), Dehra Dun with all of Khand (Novices), Faridabad in Haryana (Philosophy) and Houses in Balachaur (Punjab) and Palampur (Himachal Pradesh).

A Meeting took place in the Generalate
To Study how to relaunch the Order as an NGO at the UN
Rome, November 3, 2010 (Communicationes).- The Generalate of the Discalced Carmelites in Rome held a meeting from November 1 – 2 to examine our Order’s participation as an NGO, recognised by the Department of Public Information of the UN.  

Those who took part in the meeting were: the Vicar General, Fr. Emilio J. Martinez; the Definitor General, Fr. Peter Chung; the General Secretary for the Missions, Fr. Julio Almansa; Fr. General’s representative at the UN Department of Public Information, Fr. John Sullivan; the President of the European Provincials, Fr. Pascal Gil and a lawyer, Dr. Jose Luis.  

On the table for discussion was the need to study the situation of the Order, recognised as an NGO by the UN Dept., of Public Information, and how, following the resolutions of the last two General Chapters, the Order, as such, ought to be more involved in such NGO activities.   

It was decided at the meeting to rewrite the Statutes of the ‘Discalced Carmelite Order’ NGO, which state what we do as an NGO with international representation, and to make the Statutes more effective.  

The Last Mission of the Order
St. Michael’s Apostolic Vicariate, Sucumbios
Rome, October 31, 2010 (Communicationes).
– On Saturday October 30, the Holy See published Mgr. Gonzalo Lopez Maranon’s request to retire, due to age. Mgr Maranon is a 77 year old Spanish Discalced Carmelite, and Apostolic Vicar of Sucumbios, Ecuador. 
At the same time, the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference appointed Fr. Raphael Ramon Ibarguren Schiler, a member of the Heralds of the Gospel, as Apostolic Administrator of the Vicariate while the diocese of Sucumbios remains vacant.

The Vatican Congregation for the Evangelisation of People wrote to our Fr. General to inform him that the ius commissionis of the Vicariate of St. Michael, in Sucumbios, Ecuador will henceforth be under the jurisdiction of the Heralds of the Gospel. The Order accepted the decision of the Vatican Congregation, and at the time expressed the pain felt by all Carmelites at the loss of our ius commissionis.   

With the appointment and the announcement by the Vatican Congregation about the jurisdiction of St. Michael’s Vicariate, in Sucumbios, Ecuador, it brings to an end the work of the Discalced Carmelites of the Burgos Province of St. John of the Cross, first entrusted with the Vicariate by the Holy See in 1937.  

The simple ceremony to transfer the administration of the Church of Sucumbios from the Carmelites to the members of the Clerical Society, Flos Carmeli, took place on Saturday October 30. Present for the occasion were the Papal Nuncio of Ecuador, the President of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, two neighbouring bishops, a group of Carmelite Missionary Sisters, Mgr. Gonzalo and Fr. Raphael.  

Following the news there has been of a lot of reaction and many messages of support from particular sectors for Mgr. Gonzalo in his last days in charge,. Fr. Saverio Cannistra, while in Asia, sent a personal letter to the Carmelite bishop in which he made known his support and that of all the Order. At the same time, Religious Congregations like the Salesians, the Comboni Fathers and the Ecuatorian Conference of Religious, as well as a large number of laity and associations, also sent many kind messages of support for Mgr. Gonzalo.  

Fr. Peter Thomas Navajas, Provincial of the St. John of the Cross, Burgos Carmelite Province, under whose jurisdiction Propaganda Fide had entrusted the Mission, when he heard the news wrote to stress that ‘silence from someone who has given their all and then leaves, is the best sign of love for the Church. Obedience to the Spirit and to His ways by all missionary friars and sisters, can make all of us docile instruments in the hands of the Spirit, for the one who sows in tears will one day reap with joy.’

A Mission that is more than 80 years old
In 1924 the Holy See created a new Apostolic Prefecture between the St. Michael, Aguarico and Napo rivers, covering an area of c. 41,500 sq. miles [67,120 square kms.] and with 2,500 inhabitants. About three years later the Discalced Carmelites arrived in the Ecuadorian Republic and began their evangelizing mission in this corner of Amazonia.

In 1929, Mgr. Albert Ordonez, Bishop of Ibarra, entrusted the new Prefecture to the Carmelites as it was impossible for the diocese to look after it. In 1937, the Holy See placed the Prefecture under the jurisdiction of the Discalced Carmelites, Saint John of the Cross Province (Burgos-Spain), and appointed Fr. Pacifico Cembranos first Apostolic Prefect.  

In 1953 the Prefecture of Aguarico was created, separated from the Napo Vicariate and the Prefecture of Sucumbios, covering an area of 12,500 sq. miles [20,000 square kilometres].  

Fr. Wenceslaw Gomez, who had been appointed Prefect in 1953, was killed in an air-crash in 1968. Mgr. Gonzalo arrived at the Mission in 1970 and on July 2, 1984, the Apostolic Vicar entrusted the Sucumbios Mission to the Discalced Carmelites.  

Regional Encounter for Eastern Asia and Australia
Collaboration between the Regions and the Mission to China will be the focus for the agendas of the Provincial Chapters of Eastern Asia and Australia
Singapore, October 30, 2010 (Communicationes).- 
The regional meeting with Fr. General and the Major Superiors of East Asia and Australia, which took place recently in Singapore, finished with a report of the themes that are destined to form part of the agendas for the forthcoming Provincial Chapters.

The revitalisation of our life, collaboration between the Regions and the missionary challenge of China were some of the central topics the Major Superiors from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Korea and Singapore-Taiwan tackled together with Fr General, Saverio Cannistra and the Definitor General for Easter Asia and Australia, Fr. Peter Chung, at a meeting that took place in Singapore from October 25-29.

The General recalled the centrality that the missionary aspect has always held in the Teresian charism and encouraged the Provincials of this geographical area to work to develop a common approach in bringing about a mission to China.

At the same time, they tackled the theme of collaboration between the different Regions that make up this geographical area of the Order. The idea of an interchange of personnel was proposed between Singapore and Australia, and an approach to other Regions in the area, such as India.  

On the other hand, Fr. Saverio Cannistra, underlined that it was important for the Provincials to promote prayer and community life as the fundamental aspects upon which Carmelite life is based.    

Regional meeting of Eastern Asia and Australia
Fr. General joined in the regional meeting for Eastern Asia and Australia
Singapore, October 30, 2010 (Communicationes).- 
The major superiors from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Korea and Singapore-Taiwan came together for a regional meeting of Eastern Asia and Australia, together with Fr. General, Saverio Cannistra and the General Definitor, Peter Chung, in Singapore from October 25-29.  

The meeting was in keeping with the new methodology approved by the General Definitory for Visitations to the Order’s Provinces and Regions. According to this same methodology, Fr. General and the Definitor responsible for the geographical area are to hold a regional meeting
with the Provincials of the area at which they are to analyze the problems which arise following fraternal Visitations by the Definitor; they are also to study concrete proposals for the Provincial chapters.  

The Teresian Carmel in Eastern Asia and Australia
The meeting began with a report presented by the General Definitor, Peter Chung, on the Teresian Carmel in this geographical area of the Order. In his presentation the Korean Definitor analysed the situation of each zone, stressing especially the difficulties which the Order faces in each of them.  

Each one of the major superiors presented in turn a brief report of the challenges faced by the countries in which they are located and the direct implications for their own Carmelite lives.

The presence of the Order in Indonesia is affected by the tense situation between the different religions: between Catholics and Protestants and, particularly, between Christians and Muslims; the latter can place significant restrictions on the Church and the Order in Indonesia.  

Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore-Taiwan all share in the rich nations’ syndrome: individualism, materialism, secularism and consumerism. And even though the Philippines, doesn’t share this tendency, none the less there is an attraction for this lifestyle.  

A Region in numbers  
The Eastern Asian and Australian region has 30 Discalced Carmelite communities. The biggest presence is in Japan which has 9 communities, followed by Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines, each one having five communities; Australia has three, Singapore two and one in Taiwan.  

There are in all 236 religious belonging to this area of the Order. In recent years there has been
an upturn in the number of young men in formation.  

Communications N. 140


discalced carmelite general house
Corso d’Italia, 38
00198   Roma – Italia

letter from the definitory (3)


+ Rome, December 21, 2009


Dear brothers and sisters in Carmel:

            We met in Rome for the third time during this sexennium from 15th to 21st December. This meeting, celebrated in the last days of Advent, while the joyful hope of the Lord’s coming was alive in our hearts, was marked by very pleasant happenings.

The evening before beginning, the feast of St John of the Cross, we celebrated at the Teresianum with a Eucharist at which Fr General presided for the solemn profession of three of our Friars from the International Theological College. Two days later, during the general audience held in Paul VI Hall, Fr Saverio greeted His Holiness, Benedict XVI, telling him of the Order’s affection for him and prayer for his ministry. Present with him were the Definitors, the Secretary General, and our man in charge of communications. Finally, on 17th December we met with the O.Carm General Council.

All of these events had an effect on our work during this time, as signs of communion within the Order, with our O.Carm brothers and with the Church.

            One of the first things we did during these days was to share information on the work done during the past months.

            Fr Emilio J. Martínez told us about the meeting of the Commission for the Centenary, which took place at CITeS in Avila in October. The conclusions of the meeting and the aims of the different areas have already been sent to the Major Superior by the secretary of the Commission, Fr Alfredo Amesti. We hope that the Web site to help communities prepare for the centenary is already functioning, at least in some languages.

            Fr General and Fr Marchos Juchem informed us about the Bolivarian CICLA meeting held from the 22nd to 28th October with Carmelite representatives from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The principal topic of the meeting was the restructuring of the CICLA, a subject that Fr General and the Definitory, especially Fr Marcos, wanted us to study more deeply in the coming years in order to help and assist our brothers there in this complex task. This Definitory has already been working on some suggestions. The final decision will take into account what had been agreed by the friars committed to the different areas, on both sides of the Ocean.

            The Definitors in charge of Europe also spoke to the meeting about the Conference of European Provincials held in Zidine (Bosnia) from 26th to 29th October. Fr General along with Fr Marco and Fr John Grennan gave information about the first meeting of the financial commission which was held on December 5. This meeting was to form contacts and plan work, without taking, for the time being, any decisions about reviewing the situation. We also heard from the Bursar General, Attilio Ghislieri, about the financial situation of the Order. The major difficulty at the moment is the lessening of help arriving at the General House, – probably caused by the world-wide financial crisis – and the resultant problem of renting our property that has been left vacant in recent months. Nevertheless, in this regard, the skill of Fr Attilio is beginning to bear fruit and in one of our properties we already have new tenants.

            As in every meeting of the Definitory, we touched on different questions regarding regions of the Order.

            First of all, Fr George Tambala, who recently visited the General Delegation of the Congo, gave us detailed information on the situation there. As a result of the visitation, Fr George together with the friars of the delegation came to a consensus on problems for which we need to find a solution. For this purpose the Definitory set up a commission over which it will preside and will also have as members Fr Festus (from the Aragon and Valencia Province who is residing in the Burkina-Fasso mission in the Ivory Coast) and Fr Julio, the Secretary for the Missions.

            Fr Makhoul Farah was appointed by the Definitory to carry out a canonical visitation to the General Delegation of Israel and Egypt. He was accompanied for a few days of the visitation by Frs John Grennan and Attilio Ghislieri. He recently returned to Rome to share with the Definitory the conclusions of this visit. As a result of his work, which pleased us immensely, and after the visit that Fr General will make in February to this area, we can take opportune decisions in our next meeting which will be on the first of March.

            Turning then to Europe, we decided that Fr General, accompanied by Fr Emilio J. Martínez, would carry out a pastoral visit to the Province of Malta from 3rd January to the 10th, after the fraternal visit carried out by Fr John Grennan.

            We also dealt with some special matters referring to appointments that still had to be made or particular situations that needed out attention. We also discussed our life in the General House, which we desire should first of all be a community of brothers praying together, sharing their life and work serving the Order.

            In our discussions on these matters, many questions and thoughts arose which we would like to share with you.

            First of all, the need was seen to improve coordination between the initiatives of the Provinces and what was necessary for the spread and consolidation of the Order. It seems to us that, by improving communication between the circumscriptions and the centre of the Order, it would be much easier to take steps towards this needed coordination and we could employ our efforts to much better and increasing advantage.

            While respecting the just autonomy of the circumscriptions, it sometimes happens that Provinces take on missionary work or reach agreements for collaboration on which, from the point of view of the General Government, we could shed light or assist and which would then bear more fruit for the good of the Order. We must walk together in communion in order to find ways of coordination.

            As a quite practical consequence of this question, we decided that all requests for help for all types of ventures in monasteries and circumscriptions will be coordinated by the General Government. We believe that this, far from hampering a healthy communion of goods between brothers and sisters, will improve it and make it easier. The details of this decision will be explained in a letter to be sent to all the circumscriptions.

            In going deeply into these ideas, we became aware that it was necessary for all to be involved in the taking of important decisions. As a Definitory, it is up to us to make Major Superiors aware of the need to work together always in increasing unity, including the moment when decisions are taken. The projects that the General Government can assist or undertake, in the search always for the greater good of the Order, its spread and consolidation, can never reach a satisfactory conclusion if all the religious do not feel that they are also their own projects, in which we ought to be involved, because they belong to us.

            To take an example: the fact that Israel-Egypt is a General Delegation does not mean that only the Definitory must be concerned about it. It belongs to all of us, (particularly Mount Carmel), in such a way that all of us should be concerned about it. We believe that all of us should be concerned about maintaining our presence there, by care and adequate attention for this presence and for the friars and sisters who – at times with great effort and difficulty – keep it going as the visible face of Carmel in those lands.

            Without avoiding our responsibilities, the Lord would want us as a Definitory to know how to find ways for communion in taking decisions and in effective collaboration for the growth of the Order and, above all, to improve daily in being Discalced Carmelite Friars and Nuns.

            Basically, this would need and require restructuring some circumscriptions in Latin America – to which we will refer later on – just as the situations we have seen first hand in the Congo and Israel-Egypt, for example, led to long discussions among us. 

            When you speak of restructuring, the first thing that springs to mind is the idea of changing boundaries or juridical statutes, or even to suppress or erect foundations. However this does not seem the most important to us. What is crucial is internal restructuring of persons and communities.

            It is an undeniable fact that religious life in general and Carmelite life in particular is being attacked and threatened in its prophetic dimension. There is no need to look for surprising threats and attacks from outside while the world around us, following its own dynamics, is moving at great speed, while we appear, at least, disturbed, if not immovable. This scene calls us to defend our identity urgently.

            That the whole world has become multicultural, turning it into the one country, seems to demand of us, in order to survive, taking on a plural identity. However, our discussions within the Definitory led us to see that we are call to be precisely the opposite, which means that we should give preference to our common identity in such a way that is can be developed with distinctive features in various cultures.

            We are not speaking about returning to olden times when, for example, Carmelite life was totally regulated and lived in an identical manner within monasteries, both for friars and nuns, whether in one extreme of the world or the other. Then the essential elements of its life were safeguarded by external forms of observance. Never has glancing backwards been a secure sign of wisdom nor a guarantee of survival.

            We sincerely believe there is no need to return to the past, because the past no longer exists, but it is a matter of returning to what is essential to our life as Discalced friars and nuns. Also, returning to essentials means, in the first place, overcoming the temptation to value ourselves mainly by what we do, since what truly gives us value is what we are.

            Theoretically, everyone is in agreement that what we are is more important that what we do. Nevertheless, in practice it seems that we must constantly justify ourselves by what we are doing – the positions we hold, our apostolates – and not for what we are. In this matter we are very close to our Discalced Carmelite sisters who are beginning to question the value – in se and apostolically – of their life as contemplatives. They feel at times a disquiet produced (and judged by these absurd criteria based on doing) by the fact they are seemingly not doing anything. They ask themselves what they should do and suffer at times, since they feel incomprehension or that they are undervalued by some, including their brothers, who invite them to do something.

            Our identity is founded on living in the same way as the disciples, together with Mary our Mother in the cenacle, as praying and poor fraternities. How many times have we heard the complaint, above all from the very young, brought about by a nostalgia for a more prayerful life that is more fraternal and more austere! We lament, and hear others do the same, that there is no time for prayer; that as soon as we see one another we are separated for the day because we are loaded with work, with the result that we do not spend even our leisure time together and that we are becoming individualists…

            Thus, at times, our days develop into a constant sense of unease because we lack the courage or the decision to bring about an improvement in our conditions of life, or the courage to undertake the journey to our sources, which overflow with the life and mystical experience of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross.

            The Holy Mother wanted us to be a family of friends of God and of one another, who deepen their relationships and grow in intimacy and communion through prayer in common, life together, recreation and sharing of goods, in service of the world and the Church.

            Caught up in so many things, pressed at times to do in order to justify ourselves before ourselves and the rest, we do not realise that, lacking prayer and the presence of God and an authentic and active communion with our brothers and sisters, all that we are doing loses meaning, since the Teresian charism is not understood when it lacks active communion between the two parts, feminine and masculine, that make it up.

            What is important is not changing our activities: for example, stating that it is more Teresian to set up houses of spirituality than working in a parish. What is important is that what we do, whatever it is, comes from within, from encounter with God and our brothers in prayer, liturgical and sacramental life, fraternal recreation and service to one another within our communities.

            In this meeting of the Definitory, we felt called to stimulate and reinforce the culture of our Carmelite life. For strengthening our identity will make us capable of offering ourselves in various environments, along common guidelines which, moreover, will give us the capability of working together, doing away with the spectre of individualism, even though we come from different cultures and have to submerge ourselves in different cultures.

            An excessive emphasis on what is local destroys the capacity of an Order to establish itself and spread throughout the world. There is no greater enemy than the roots that tie us to a place, lessening our availability. If we are searching for people capable of not clinging on to them, it is enough to cast our minds back to the ways, not just physical, that our holy parents Teresa and John travelled by means of their spiritual experience, long before us. We ought to be good children of such courageous parents.

            Our contextualization in one environment is not preferably the once which contributes to going to or leaving a place. Rather it is what forms us into an Order: to have and to live our Teresian charism. From another point of view, we will not be capable of responding, mobilizing ourselves, to the demands of a world that is moving which, in fact, has already moved. Soon, as we said before, it will reach the point where the whole world forms but one village. Who can state with certainty that they live as religious in a homogenous society? Without having left ones own country, who can be sure that they are not already living on the periphery?

            From this point of view it is very interesting to keep in mind here what Fr Jean-Jacques  Pérennès, OP, who lives as a Domincan in the Middle East, explained to the Superiors General of the USG in his November conference “Religious life and inter-religious dialogue”. It was a very fine lecture in which he faced up to the challenges of religious life seeking to become part of a multicultural and multi-religious situation. In replying to the question, “How do you support religious called to live in this type of experience?”, he stated: “I believe that here we are dealing with the question of spiritual formation. It is evident that religious life on the borders of the Christian world, and even totally outside of it, is upheld thanks to a real spiritual life: spiritual prayer, listening frequently to the Word of God, as nourishment, are indispensable supports. However there are no recipes.”

            He went on to say, “What is also important is an intellectual formation, and in particular theological […]. It is very important as well to bring up the question of sharing faith in our religious communities. Living for a long time on the edge or outside the Christian world can make people question themselves, sometimes radically. For religious, specially the young, it is very important to allow them to be supported in a community where the faith is shared, reflected upon and celebrated together. The ritualized expression of the liturgy and the divine office is not enough. It is important that each one is allowed to speak about what they are seeking in their own words, to hear what their brothers or sisters are living through and to feel supported, especially in a time of crisis.”

            Finally, we propose to you, brothers and sisters, to undertake together a precious voyage of interior conversion which, it is evident to us, many have already begun. This is what will bring us to have being, from works to identity, growth in being Discalced Carmelite Friars and Nuns. It will facilitate our living and working together and will allow us to adapt more appropriately to our surroundings, where the distinctive feature is a plurality of cultures.

            We trust that the daily reading of Saint Teresa, which we began last October, will contribute to strengthening and affirming this our identity. We also hope that this summary of our reflections will be a source of rich debate in our communities.

            May the Child Jesus grant us to stand before him, bringing as an offering to the stable what we are: men and women who, having know God’s love, are seeking together to share it with others through the witness of a simple life: prayerful, fraternal and as a family, austere and obedient.

            Sincere wishes for a Happy Christmas and that 2010 may be full of peace and God’s presence.

            Your brothers:

Fr Saverio Cannistrà, General
Fr Emilio J. Martínez
Fr Albert Wach
Fr Augustine Mulloor
Fr Robert Paul
Fr Marcos Juchem
Fr Peter Chung
Fr George Tambala
Fr John Grennan

+ Rome, June 19 2009, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel:


As you no doubt know we held our first definitory meeting in Rome from June 8 – 18. With this letter we would like to inform you about this recent event and of some of our decisions.

In taking our first steps in the government of the Order we wanted, above all, to know and sense that we are brothers, that we are a community united by the bonds of fraternal love and mutual trust. We want to give ourselves to all our brothers and sisters, in a spirit of simplicity and with a desire to serve the truth.

The fraternity we felt in these days and experienced at our meetings, as well as during the times of prayer and recreation, has been a source of joy. Fraternity is the first and most important stimulus for our work at the service of all the Order. It is something we experienced and hope to experience always. Such fraternity has not come about by our own efforts, but is a God-given gift that we share with the brothers who help us with different tasks in the Generalate and, that we wish to share also with all of you.

We know that communication promotes mutual knowledge and, thereby sustains and increases fraternity. For this reason we dedicated quite a lot of time at this definitory meeting in getting to know each other better and the situation we have to deal with. By doing this we were able to find out straight away the strengths and weaknesses of our respective areas and the hopes and problems of the people in these areas.

The importance we attach to communication, as a fruit of fraternity, has prompted us to search for means by which we, as a general government, can make ourselves closer to each one of you, in so far as this will be possible. The communications-office we are forming, with the help of new technology, will help us in this task (of being closer to each and everyone); however, we shall bear in mind the communities that cannot easily avail themselves of the modern means of communication, so that this disadvantage will not deprive them of information.

In improving our levels of communication, it is obvious that the actual or physical presence of Fr. General and the definitors in each of the areas is the most direct and efficacious way of getting to know and share your joys and hopes, difficulties and worries. In order to help us to be present we have first of all decided on the geographical or linguistic areas that each definitor will look after. And so, Fr. Emilio J. Martinez will be responsible for the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian areas; Fr. Albert Wach for Central Europe; Fr. Augustine Mulloor for India and Sri Lanka;            Fr. Robert Paul for the french-speaking areas; Fr. Marcos Juchem for Latin America; Fr. Peter Chung for East Asia and Australia; Fr. George Tambala for Africa; and Fr. John Grennan for the english speaking areas. Fr. General will try to be present in all the Regions, in so far as he can, but will have greater concern for the provinces to which each of the definitor belongs.

We would really like to study in depth how we can express correctly the relationship between the Order’s general government and the local governments, so as to decide the best possible way to collaborate. We would like to renew the traditional method of conducting a pastoral visitation and, apart from studying some interesting suggestions as to how this could be done, as well as discussing this among ourselves, we have invited a Fr. Domingo Andres, CMF, to give us some talks on this theme. These talks will be given next September 14 & 15, at the end of our next meeting that will be held in Rome between 3rd-13th of the same month.

Moreover, in order to help the work of each of us as definitors in our task of animating the Order, we shall dedicate ourselves to some specific sectors of the Order’s life.  We have thus distributed the following tasks: culture (Fr. Emilio), formation (Fr. Augustine), OCD nuns (Frs. Albert & Robert), missions (Frs. George & Peter), OCDS (Fr. Peter) and finance (Frs. Marcos & John).

An important starting point for our discussions in these days was, as you would expect, the general Chapter celebrated recently in Fatima. We discussed the chapter decisions and the practical conclusions to the document, approved by the Chapter, in order to animate the plan of teresian studies in view of the 5th centenary of St. Teresa of Jesus’ birth.

More specifically, we had in mind the Chapter’s mandate to the definitory of forming a commission that would study in depth the situation of our study centres. This commission would look at how it could animate these centres and encourage their coordination; and so, Fr. Augustine will work together with Frs. Stephane-Marie Morgain, Marco Paolinelli, Auguti Borrell to develop this goal and bring practical guidelines to the definitory when the time comes for it to look at this task.

Among the great challenges that the Order must face, is that of renewing and relaunching the theological and theological-spiritual reflection that is most clearly carmelite, enlightened by the experience of our Saints. In continuity with our tradition and animated by the proximity of the teresian centenary, we would like to promote places within the Order and the carmelite family where there can be reflection; places where new lines of investigation will arise, as well as items of cultural interest for the new theological-cultural awareness of our world. It is in this sense that the definitory has thought of creating a new international spiritual review.

With regard to the general Chapter mandate we have worked to form a commision that will be responsible for the preparation and animation of the teresian Centenary. Furthermore, the executive committee, presided by Fr. Emilio, which will be helped by Fr. Alfred Amesti as secretary, has stressed the following areas, or sub-commissions: community animation, cultural and pastoral animation, as well as what is happening locally in Avila. Each one of these commissions, made up of members from the entire carmelite family, will have a specific area of competence. They will relate with the executive committee and among themselves, by means of the commission coordinators of the same. In brief, we shall communicate the goals and area of competence of each commission, as well as the names of all its members.

The first task the commission will take on itself, is to send the chapter document as soon as possible to all our communities, as well as the study-aids on the works of St. Teresa, especially what we shall be working on this year, i.e., the Book of her Life.

Among the particularly complex issues that we have begun to confront, two appear to be more important. The first is the financial situation of the centre of the Order, as well as the particular initiatives of some Provinces in the area of finance. The second, is the present and future situation of the Delegation of Israel and Egypt, to which the definitory wishes to give special attention in this sexennium. We have therefore decided to carry out an extraordinary visitation in this Delegation, after which Fr. General will pay a fraternal visit.

With regard to our Discalced Carmelite sisters, as a definitory we would like to walk alongside them in order to face together the challenges of the modern world, so different however in each Region. A first step would be to improve the channels of communication between us, which should moreover faciliate their participation with the friars in the study of the works of Saint Teresa, that we shall embark on in this sexennium.

A more specific theme claiming our attention at this time is what is referred to as the relationship between the authority of the associations-federations and the autonomy of the convents [monasteries]. We are aware that CIVCSVA is analysing this at a world level and for all the contemplative religious. It seems to us, therefore, that a parallel reflection is very necessary within our Order.

We would also like to be close to our brothers and sisters in the OCDS. We have been studying in this definitory its Ratio Institutionis. They shall also participate in our teresian study project.

At the beginning of our journey we feel we are in Teresa’s hands. It is a journey that will last six years, at the end of which we shall celebrate the 5th centenary of her birth. Guided by her we have made a start together, so let’s go, it is time to move![es tiempo de caminar!]. May our holy Mother obtain for us the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father and, through the communion of the Holy Spirit, an increase in the bonds that unite us in fraternity with the most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.  

Your brothers:
Fr. Saverio Cannistra, General                         
Fr. Marcos Juchem
Fr. Emilio J Martinez
Fr. Peter Chung
Fr. Albert Wach
Fr. George Tambala
Fr. Augustine Mullor
Fr. John Grennan
Fr. Robert Paul 



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