It has become a custom for our general superiors to meet with their counterparts of the Calced Carmelites in Rome. This year the meeting was held at the General Curia of the Calced Carmelites, near the Vatican. In a cordial atmosphere our superiors exchanged information on topics of common interest. One item that did stick out was the preparation of the international meeting of the young Carmelites, which will take place on the 28th of January 2019 in the context of the World Youth Day (Panama, 22-27 January 2019). In unity lies our strength.
During the 90th Semi-annual assembly of the Superior Generals last month in Rome, ten General Superiors were chosen to participate in the next Synod of Bishops, scheduled from 3 to 28 October, on the theme: “Youth, faith and vocational discernment”. Our Father General Father Savior Cannistra was elected to be one of these ten. This is an honor and a responsibility both for the Father General and for the whole Order. We are called to be open ourselves to the faith and the burning issues of youth.
During the general meeting of the Definitory, our Superiors reevaluated the various visits of our Definitors in the various areas of the Order carried out in the months of April and May.
Our Father General was in Spain and Portugal. After a formative meeting with the younger religious of the Interprovincial House of Studies in Triana (Madrid), Fr. General visited twenty communities of friars and participated in a number of assemblies of the Federations of Discalced Carmelites. In the final meeting with the Provincial Council, he presented some proposals to reaffirm the preferential attention to the initial formation (shared with the Provinces of Navarre and Portugal) and to continue the required process of provincial restructuring, for which he indicated some presences that need to be reinforced and others will have to abandon.
Fr. Łukasz Kansy from Poland carried out the Pastoral Visit to the Province of Germany from 2 to 20 April. In Germany there are 32 religious living in 4 communities, average age is 67 years. In the Province there are 20 monasteries of Discalced Carmelite nuns and 23 communities of the Secular Order. The Visitor was able to observe various positive aspects of the Province, such as the vitality of the Birkenwerder Retreat House, the abundant and well taken care libraries of the convents and the numerous Carmelite publications, as well as the good relationship between the Fathers, the nuns and the laity.
Fr. Łukasz then went to the Semi-province of Austria, where he carried out the pastoral visit of 29 April to 14 May. In Austria there are 22 professed fathers and one novice, with an average age of 51, residing in 2 communities (Vienna and Linz), while in Innsbruck there is one religious. The convent of Graz has been temporarily transferred to the Province of Croatia. The Visitator visited the 11 monasteries of the Discalced Carmelite nuns, and was able to meet with the four secular Carmelite communities. This province is characterized by the internationality of the religious – there are 7 different nationalities. This gives a particular richness to the province, a large part of the religious are following courses in theology. Fr. Łukasz urged them to intensify the pastoral care of vocations, and asked that initial formation be carried out in collaboration with other Circumscriptions.
The US-born Fr. Daniel Chowning visited the Province of California-Arizona from 25 April to 29 May. This Province has 40 solemnly professed (6 of them are in Uganda), 8 temporary professed (3 in Uganda) and 3 novices (in Uganda). He toured the 7 communities of the Province, also visiting a number of monasteries of Discalced Carmelites in the region. In the Province one perceives a strong Carmelite identity, that manifests itself in community life and prayer, as well as in a rich and varied apostolic activity: parishes, a house of retreats, a house of prayer, schools, spiritual accompaniment, attention to the nuns and the Secular Carmel …
From April 1 to May 9, Fr. Javier Mena from the Dominican Republic carried out the pastoral visit to the Province of Mexico. This circumscription currently comprises 72 solemnly professed in 16 communities, with an average age of 57. There are 23 candidates in the different stages of the formation. In Mexico there are 38 monasteries of Discalced Carmelite nuns and 64 Carmelite Secular communities that have a total of about 1,500 members, as well as about 700 ‘Carmine’ Confraternities. Carmelite presence is very lively in Mexico. The visitator was able to see the serene and fraternal climate that reigns among the religious. The presence of three great generational groups is a richness that fosters the transmission of the charism and allows us to look to the future with hope. A strength of the Province is the pastoral care of spirituality, together with assistance to a large number of groups and lay movements. On the other hand, the remarkable artistic, cultural and religious heritage of the Province appears well cared for.
The Nigerian Father Daniel Ehigie visited Kenya from April 2nd to May 3rd. There are 35 professed fathers, 3 novices and 15 postulants in this country. This young mission pertains to the Washington province. They have 6 houses. The political situation is complex but the fathers keep thriving. Father Daniel visited also Madagascar.
P. Johannes Gorantla, who hails from India, visited the different Indian Carmelites who live in Germany, Italy and United States. There are over nearly hundred of them who work in different apostolate and different mileux. An effort is being made so that they can live in communities, which is a basic element of our Teresian charisma.
P. Mariano Agruda from the Philippines visited Korea and Vietnam and Cambodia, stressing always the need to strengthen formation and collaboration.