Solemn “Rededication” in Olinda, Brazil, of the first Carmelite church in the American continent.
On the 5th of August of this year, the solemn rededication of the first Carmelite church in the American continent, took place in Olinda, Brasil. This church was founded by four portuguese Carmelites in 1580. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Antonio Fernando Saburido presided at the celebration of the Eucharist. He was accompanied by five Carmelite bishops, (Vitalis Wilderink, Paolo Cardoso, Antonio Muniz, João José Costa and Wilmar Santin), by the Prior General, Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm., by the Councilor General for the Americas, Raul Maraví, O.Carm., the Prior Provincial of Pernambuco, Roberval Mendes Pereira, O.Carm., and a large number of Carmelites from all parts of Brazil. The Commissary General of Portugal, Agostinho Castro also took part in the celebration. He presented a relic of St. Nuno de Santa Maria, founder of the Carmelite house in Lisbon, from which the Carmelite founders in Brasil set out.
The celebration was preceded by a Triduum and by a congress on the history and significance of the Carmelite presence in Olinda. At that congress the Prior General introduced the official letter which will be addressed to the whole Carmelite Family on this occasion, with the title, “Carmel in America: past, present and future”. Furthermore, there was an official meeting with the civil authorities to whom the Carmelites expressed their gratitude for the handing over and restoration of this beautiful church, which had been in the hands of the Brazilian State since 1877 and which from now on will be the location of the residence of the Prior Provincial.
On Monday, the 6th of August, Vatican Radio broadcast an extensive interview with the Prior General and with Fr. Francisco de Sales Alencar (in Spanish and in Portuguese respectively) concerning the importance and significance of this occasion (This can be heard in Spanish at:
http://www.radiovaticana.org/spa/Articolo.asp?c=605143 and in Portuguese at
Finally, it is important to mention that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI sent a brief message of congratulations via the Secretary of State in which he referred to the historical and pastoral importance of this event.