Dear Brother or Sister,
Following the General Chapter of 2013 and its final message addressed to the whole Carmelite Family, the new Council of the Order established a commission for evangelization and mission.
The commission was guided in its reflection by two documents: the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) of Pope Francis and the Final Message of the General Chapter. This led us into a reflection on the joy of the Good News and of being Carmelites today.
We were struck by so many sections of EG that seemed to resonate with our Carmelite spiritual tradition and the concrete implications the Pope's document might have for each one of us in the task of evangelization and the Order's mission.
It is our desire that we engage in a conversation with every part of the Carmelite Family and invite you Carmelite bishop, friar, nun, sister, hermit and lay member to join in this reflective dialogue. At the General Chapter, the Order in its final statement made serious commitments into the future regarding the nature of community, prayer, ministry and mission. How could we possibly undertake so immense task in order to achieve a sincere and truthful conversation leading to conversion?
We have set out a five-year process of reflection together, which we would like you to reflect on in your community or Province. The theme of our program is: "Being Carmelite: our life and mission" and our motto is: "A joy ever new, a joy to be shared". Each year we will have a particular theme (2015 - Joy in the Carmelite life; 2016 - Joy in contemplative community; 2017 Joy in preaching the Gospel; 2018 - Joy in going out to the peripheries) so as to reflect upon and explore the richness of EG and the serious commitments that the Order has made in its Chapter of 2013. We have chosen the biblical image of the visitation in this endeavour.
With the support of the General Council of the Order, we invite you to join with us in this challenging and joyful experience. We would like to help you and your community by offering some simple guidelines:
- Reflecting on the quotations and implications set out on the enclosed card based on Evangelii Gaudium and the final message of the Chapter, we offer you a tool to begin your dialogue and community conversation;
- Offering some outlines for workshops for the following years to be used for personal reflection, community meetings or provincial gatherings relating to the themes prepared for each year by the commission;
- Facilitating a deeper reading of these two texts and the implications that flow from them for the Carmelite Family today.
At the end of each year the commission would be very grateful to receive a synthesis of your conversations and the enacted decisions, through a section on the web site of the Order entitled "Commission for Evangelization and Mission".
May Mary, star of evangelization guide us in our mission in Carmel,
John Keating, O. Carm.,
Councillor General and praeses of the commission,
together with the commission members: Sanny Bruijns, Francisco de Sales Alencar, Desiderio García Martínez, Conrad Mutizamhepo, Míceál O'Neill (Sec.) Donna Orsuto, Henricus Pidyarto Gunawan, Klaus Schenkelberger.