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Displaying items by tag: prior general

Tuesday, 16 May 2023 12:29

Carmel in Congo Celebrates 50 Years

Fifty Years of the Carmelite Way of Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Prior General of the Order, Míčeál O'Neill, sent the following letter to the Carmelites and the people they minister with on the inauguration of celebrating 50 years of Carmelite presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I join today with many people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Italy as the celebrations of the 50thanniversary of the presence of the Order of Carmelites in the DRC begin. Throughout these first fifty years the Carmelite friars, in collaboration with the local church, have offered the people the Carmelite way of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, with its special attention to prayer, devotion to Mary, attention to the word of God and the social improvement based on the Gospel. There are now communities in Bunia, Butembo, Nioka, in the east, Kinshasa in the west and Kisangani in the north. 

Through work in parishes, religious formation, and spiritual accompaniment, the Carmelites seek to offer to the local church what they have received as a charism and vocation. The Carmelite tradition speaks of people growing daily in their knowledge of the love of God. This knowledge is exemplified in the lives of the saints that the Carmelite tradition has produced. That challenge continues in these new times for Africa.

It is the challenge now to find the true dignity of the human person, free from outside political and economic interests, free to care for family, education, and the full dignity of every human person as a son or daughter of God. I pray that the presence of the Order of Carmelites in Africa, and in a particular way in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, may be a source of wisdom and consolation for all the people, and that the future for all may be one of greater peace and harmony in a country that God has blessed with such enormous and beautiful resources of faith, personality and nature.

May our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Saints of Carmel be for all beacons of light and hope in a common commitment to the love and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the mission of the Catholic Church.

Míċeál O’Neill, O. Carm.
Prior General
May 16, 2023

Le Carmel au Congo fête ses 50 ans
Cinquante ans de vie carmélitaine pour l'Évangile de Jésus-Christ

Le Prieur général de l'Ordre, le père Míčeál O'Neill, a envoyé la lettre suivante aux Grands Carmes et aux personnes avec lesquelles elles travaillent, au debut de la célébration du 50e anniversaire de présence du Carmel en République démocratique du Congo.

Je me joins aujourd'hui aux nombreuses personnes en République démocratique du Congo et en Italie à l'occasion du début des célébrations commémorant le 50e anniversaire de la présence de l'Ordre des Grands Carmes en RDC. Au cours de cettes cinquante premières années, les frères carmes, en collaboration avec l'église locale, ont offert au peuple la façon carmélitaine de vivre l'Évangile de Jésus-Christ, avec un  adhésion particulier à la vie de prière, à la dévotion mariale, l'attention à la Parole de Dieu et le développement social fondé sur l'Évangile. Il y a maintenant des communautés à Bunia, Butembo, Nioka, à l'est, Kinshasa à l'ouest et Kisangani au nord.

Par leur travail dans les paroisses, la formation religieuse et l'accompagnement spirituel, les Grands Carmes cherchent d'offrir à l'Église locale ce qu'elles ont reçu: leur charisme et leur vocation distinctive. La tradition la tradition carmélitaine est constituée de personnes qui chaque jour progressent dans leur connaissance de l'amour de Dieu. La vie des saints que la tradition carmélitaine a produite est un exemple de cette connaissance. Cet idéal continue en ces temps nouveaux pour l'Afrique.

Il s'agit aujourd'hui de retrouver la véritable dignité de la personne humaine, libérée des intérêts politiques et économiques extérieurs, libre de s'occuper de sa famille, libre d'avoir accès à l'éducation, et de respecter la pleine dignité de chaque personne humaine en tant que fils ou fille de Dieu. Je prie pour que la présence de l'Ordre des Carmes en Afrique, et d'une manière particulière en République Démocratique du Congo, soit une source de sagesse et de consolation pour tout le peuple, et que l'avenir de tous, soit celui d'une plus grande paix et harmonie dans un pays que Dieu a béni avec de si énormes et belles ressources de foi, d'humanité et de la nature.

Je prie afin que la présence de l'Ordre des Grands Carmes en Afrique, et en particulier dans la République Démocratique du Congo, soit pour tous les peuples une source de sagesse et de consolation, et que l'avenir de tous soit marqué par une plus profonde conciliation et harmonie dans ce pays que le Seigneur a comblé de ressources si grandes et si merveilleuses au niveau de la foi, de la sensibilité et de la splendide nature.

Que Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel comme les saints du Carmel soient pour tous comme des rayons de lumières et d'espérance pour un engagement solidaire en faveur de l'amour et de la vérité de l'Évangile de Jésus-Christ ainsi que par rapport à la mission de l'Église catholique.

Avec gratitude, je souhaite à tous d'heureuses célébrations.

Míċeál O'Neill, O. Carm.
Prieur général
16 mai 2023

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Message from the Prior General of the Carmelite Order

The First Anniversary of the Canonization of St. Titus Brandsma

The 15th of May marks the first anniversary of the canonization of our brother Titus Brandsma, canonised along with nine other holy men and holy women, by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in 2022. The memory of that celebration and the days that surrounded it still live in the minds and hearts of thousands of people all around the world. It was particularly moving for all of us who had the blessing of being in Rome when the event was taking place. 

Now one year later, we are aware of the good feeling that the memory, experience, and teaching of Titus has generated. The work of translating his works into English continues, paving the way for many other translations in many other languages in the future. It is not that we want to be carried away only by this most recent to our long list of saints. It is rather that in these troubled times we take from Titus an assurance and a challenge. The assurance is that the way of life embraced by Carmelites in many different ways is “good and holy” (Rule Ch. 20). The challenge is to follow it in the selfless and knowledgeable way that Titus did.  

At this time, when war and violence are so much part of the headlines of every day, Titus reminds us of the awfulness of war, the awfulness of any kind of violence committed against the human person and the stark reality of a society that has lost the sense of any need of knowing God and his mercy.  

Here again is the challenge to Carmelites, following the example of Mary our Mother, and of Elijah our disturber, and inspired by the life and example of Titus Brandsma, we will witness to the great desire of God for peace and unity in the world, a peace that comes from God, and that only God can give to those who are willing to receive it. 

May we see the end of all wars in our time and together build a world environment in which men and women of every age and nation and background will see that their dignity is respected and that with God’s grace they will grow to maturity, giving generously of their gifts for the building up of that world in which everyone can live a full and dignified life.

Míceál O’Neill, O. Carm.
Prior General
May 14, 2023

Published in Announcements (CITOC)
Thursday, 17 November 2022 09:51

Letter of the Prior General for World Youth Day 2023

In less than 300 days thousands of young people from the four corners of the world will be gathered in Lisbon for World Youth Day 2023.
The invitation is open to join in singing and celebrating with one voice from August 1-6, 2023.

«Mary arose and went with haste» (Lk 1:39) is the bible quote chosen by Pope Francis as the motto of the World Youth Day that will be held for the first time in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal.

On the occasion of WYD 2023, Míċeál O'Neill, Prior General of the Order, sends a message to encourage young people and Carmelites who work with them to participate in the celebrations.

In the words of Fr. Miceal, WYD "has proven to be the kind of event where young people find inspiration, companionship and nourishment for their lives".

pdf Read the Letter here (108 KB)

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In the year that saw the parish community celebrate the fifth centenary of the presence of the Carmelites in Mesagne, as well as the birth and inauguration of the "Beata Maria Teresa Scrilli" House of the Sisters of the Institute of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Minor Pontifical Basilica of Carmel in Mesagne welcomed, on the occasion of the beginning of the Novena in preparation for the patronal feast, the Prior General of the Order of Carmelites, Irish Father Míċeál O'Neill. In the course of his stay he met with the bishop of the diocese of Brindisi-Ostuni, His Excellency Msgr. Domenico Caliandro, and the mayor of Mesagne Toni Matarrelli.  Father O'Neill presided over the Eucharistic Celebrations of the first two days, Wednesday, July 6 and Thursday, July 7.

In particular, on the evening of July 6, in the presence of the members of the technical-scientific committee promoting the periodic study sessions of a historical, social and cultural nature of the past months and in communion with all the priests of the Messapian city, who were invited to the event, the parish was engaged in the General's welcoming party, enlivened - from 9:30 p.m. onward - by the presence of soprano M° Chiara Marangio and pianist M° Damiano Tamburrino.

On the morning of July 7, at Palazzo Celestini, seat of the Mesagne City Council, the Prior General visited the parish of Our Lady Most Holy of Carmel on the occasion of the beginning of the Novena in preparation for the patronal feast and met with the mayor of the Messapian city, Toni Matarrelli, and the president of the city council, Omar Ture.

Father O'Neill was accompanied by the parish priest, Father Enrico Ronzini, and Father Cosimo Pagliara, prior provincial of the Neapolitan Province, to which the Mesagna basilica belongs.

Matarrelli, who called the General's visit "a great honor for Mesagne and for the parish in which I grew up," expressed words of appreciation and thanks for the industrious presence of the Carmelites in Mesagne since 1521. He paid tribute to the Prior General with a copy of the historian Diego Ferdinando's "Messapography" (edited by Domenico Urgesi and Francesco Scalera) and one of the volumes "Still Appia" (a photographic book capturing images of the Regina Viarum between Rome and Brindisi). He added the philatelic cancellation of the postcard depicting the city of Mesagne on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Commissariato di Pubblica Sicurezza (Public Safety Commissariat).

In turn, the Carmelites made a gift to the city administration of the latest publications published by the Neapolitan Province, especially remembering the figure of St. Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite priest, theologian and journalist executed in the Dachau concentration camp for opposing National Socialist propaganda.

The Prior General, after the evening Eucharistic celebration (followed by a concert by internationally renowned harpist Claudia Lamanna), visited Mesagne in the late evening accompanied by a guide provided by the city administration.

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Tuesday, 12 July 2022 12:08

A Video Message to the Carmelite Family

A Video Message to the Carmelite Family for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Sisters and Brothers in Carmel,

I would like to wish all Carmelites a very joyful and fruitful celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2022.  Our spirits are lighter because of the feeling that we will be able to celebrate our Lady's feast this year fully without the threat of Covid 19.

There is also the joy that we share because of the canonisation of Saint Titus Brandsma that we celebrated two short months ago, when Carmelites from around the world gathered in Rome in great numbers, while many more followed all that was happening through social media.

The good feeling generated by that event will remain with us for a long time, as we take up St. Titus’ legacy and offer it to the world as a wonderful expression of what it means to be a true follower of Christ in the Carmelite tradition.

Despite all the good things that are happening, all is not well in our world. The threat and the culture of war and violence never seems to leave us, because of a belief that people have that recourse to arms is a legitimate way to achieve one’s goals.

We come from a different culture, one that St. Titus Brandsma stood for and suffered for in his life. It is the culture of peace and forgiveness. It is that culture that says that we are all sisters and brothers to one another without exception, which makes it unthinkable that we should take up arms against one another.

Somehow through this culture we have to find the way to use the power of love and truth to overcome all our difficulties.

One of the expressions of our culture that we have seen this year is the hospitality given by various Carmelite communities, male and female to refugees from the conflict in Ukraine , a reason for all to give thanks.

I pray with all Carmelites this year that as we ponder on what the Holy Mountain means for us, we might know what it means to put on the armour of God (Rule 21) and answer the demand to turn our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks. (Is 2).

Peace, joy and happiness to you all. 

Míċeál O’Neill, O. Carm

Prior General

Watch on YouTube here

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Monday, 11 July 2022 14:12

A Letter to the Carmelite Family


Brothers and sisters in the Carmelite Family,

as the solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel approaches, we find ourselves in festive mood. We want to celebrate and give thanks to God for everything that Our Lady of Mount Carmel represents for us. In a particular way, we want to give thanks to God and to Our Lady because the fear we had of Covid 19 this time last year has lessened and life for many is returning to some kind of normality. At the same time we continue to pray for Our Lady’s protection for us and for the world.

This year for us has been blessed by the canonization of Saint Titus Brandsma. Who will ever forget those days of joy and happiness in Rome, and that moment in St. Peter’s Square when along with nine other disciples of Christ our brother Titus was declared a saint? 

Sadly, this year has also been marked by the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, to add to the many other ills that cause so much suffering to innocent people around the world. We think of the many displaced persons, without shelter, living in refugee camps, many of them women and children. Meanwhile the men continue to be drawn into unwanted armed combat.

The celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the example and inspiration of Saint Titus Brandsma, invite us this year to ponder, the gift of Carmel, seen through the experience of our new saint. We can see what Carmel offers us as the deepest motivation for the work of peace. We can contemplate and make our own God’s desire for peace and for the fullest dignity of the human person.

As Mary stood at the foot of the cross, along with John the beloved disciple and the other women, Jesus in that moment created a new kind of human family, built not on the bonds of blood, but on the reality of people caring for one another. Now it is the son who takes the mother into his home.  Things are changed around.  The dream and the project is that sons and daughters come into the world and as they grow up, they grow into the ability to care for all that is there before them in order to hand it on to the sons and daughters who will come after them.

Both the Corona virus and the welcome given to refugees from the conflict in Ukraine have given us in many instances new examples of how people care for one another, especially in times of deep suffering.  As we observed the precautions around the Corona virus we knew that we were protecting ourselves and others also. As we accepted the restrictions on social contact, we did so in order to help stop the spread of the virus, something that now, thank God, seems to be within our grasp. Then the flow of refugees from the conflict in Ukraine arrived on our doorstep. Throughout Europe there has been a quality of welcome that has surprised even ourselves. Governments and private citizens have opened their offices and family homes to welcome people who in an instant found themselves having to leave their homes and their livelihoods in order to seek refuge from violent attack coming from the skies. 

Mount Carmel represents for us the place both of mystical and fraternal encounter, where the members came to a deeper knowledge of God and of one another through all that they did by their life of solitude and by their coming together, pondering day and night on the law of the Lord.  This is our way too. Under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in allegiance to Jesus Christ, through our solitude and our coming together we build a culture of peace among ourselves and thus bring forth and give birth to a Word of Peace for the world.

Each week in the Liturgy of the Hours we repeat the canticle of Isaiah, that speaks of the mountain of peace.

It shall come to pass in the latter days

that the mountain of the house of the Lord

shall be established as the highest of the mountains,

and shall be lifted up above the hills;

The highest mountain is the one that is worthiest of honour. If it had a voice, its voice would be the one that we would listen to most. Amid the many voices that tell us what should happen in the world, we pay prayerful attention to the voice that speaks of truth, transparency and love, a voice and a vision that stand above every other vision, particularly the visions that are based on the preservation of the vested interests of the few, while millions of people go hungry, are homeless, have been displaced.

and all the nations shall flow to it,

and many peoples shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

to the house of the God of Jacob,

that he may teach us his ways

and that we may walk in his paths.”

The mountain is there for all, but it needs people to lead the way. Here we get the sense of how we help and invite one another to seek the ways of the Lord, the highest way, the way that respects the full dignity of the human person, and that hears the cry of each child of God.

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,

and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Mount Zion and Jerusalem the city built on a height, to which the people go up, singing their songs, today has become a place of conflict. They remain for those who believe, the representation of God’s commitment and closeness to his people, through a chosen people and a chosen place. It is in Jerusalem that God will establish peace for his people. “On Jerusalem peace”. (Ps 122)

He shall judge between the nations,

and shall decide disputes for many peoples;

Where are the leaders today who speak of right judgement, who look to the higher wisdom of God, in order to find the wisdom that will resolve conflict and mark out the path that leads to peace and wellbeing for all? Judgement, must be based on truth, and wisdom. Our wisdom comes from the Word of Wisdom. We find it in Mary, and in the saints of Carmel. It is the wisdom by which we are able to judge all that we see happening around us, and in that judgement see the workings of salvation, and add our yes and our collaboration to the work of God. 

and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war anymore.

Isn’t that what we would all love to see. In my years in Peru, I used to see the children parade in the town square on Independence Day, with imitation rifles and imitation machine guns in their hands. At that early age they were being taught to think that a weapon of destruction was more important that an instrument of honest labour, a pen, a shovel, knitting needles, a crucifix, as a way of defending the nation. The picture we have of Titus Brandsma is that of a peace maker, in the midst of his books, or pen or pipe in hand, in deep conversation with colleagues, fellow Carmelites, students. For him a newspaper was a way of defending the truth and the freedom of every human person.

Titus Brandsma looked for the deepest motivation for all that we do and hope for. He saw Carmelites as people who are bearers of the Word, just as Mary was a bearer of the Word. That Word is peace. Those who have received that Word, and cherish it, are people who can bear that Word for the world and give birth to it in the world. In his retreat notes Titus suggested that “From Mary we must learn how to remove from our hearts all that does not belong to God. From her we can learn how to open our hearts to God in a way that will make them full of his grace. Then Jesus will enter, and be born again in us and grow in us. He will become visible in the things that we do, and he will live within us.  The less we are full of God, the poorer our lives will be. With Mary, full of grace, we will live the life of God and find in our union with the Lord our own glory and salvation”. 

Our founders on Mount Carmel devised a way of life that was a formula of peace, as their response to the armed forces that prevented them from entering the Holy City, Jerusalem.  Mary was at the heart of that plan of peace. They would not resort to armed conflict, but rather, they would put on the armour of God.

Just as St. Titus prayed that one day Germany and the Netherlands would walk together in the way of peace, my prayer for all of us as we approach the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is that we will truly learn the ways of peace from earliest childhood to the end of our days, and along with the prophet, I say, O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Let Carmelites everywhere fulfill their vocation to be bearers of the Word, and let that Word truly be the Word that is Peace.


Míċeál O’Neill, O.Carm

Prior General

Download the Letter  pdf here (178 KB)

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Friday, 10 December 2021 14:26

Fr. Míċeál O'Neill Elected to USG Committees

The Carmelite Prior General, Míċeál O'Neill, O. Carm., was elected to the executive committee of the Union of Superiors General (USG). He will represent the Mendicant orders. Fr. Míċéal was also selected as one of the members of the so-called Commission of 16.

The Executive Committee is responsible for the ordinary decisions of the Union and for implementation of resolutions of the Assembly. The Commission of 16 is made up of eight male religious and eight female religious. They have the charge of engaging in formal dialogue with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Associations of Apostolic Life from time to time.

The members also elected Fr. Arturo Sosa S.J., for a second term as president of the USG. The newly elected serve for the period 2021-2024.

The USG was created "to promote the life and mission of the individual institutes at the service of the Church, for a more effective collaboration among them, and for a more fruitful contact with the Holy See and hierarchy. Its members are the superior generals of men’s Religious Institutes or Societies of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right. Practically it is a voluntary forum for the exchange information and accompaniment.

The organization’s 96th Assembly was held on November 24-26, 2021, at the Fraterna Domus, a facility of the Associazione Volontari del Servizio Sociale Cristiano.

 USG Conference 1 450

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Fr. Míceál O'Neill, O.Carm., Prior General of the Order, invites all the Carmelite Family members to have a joyful and prayerful celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the 16 July 2021.

Watch here

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Wednesday, 23 December 2020 04:49

A message for Christmas

A Happy Christmas to one and all. It is that time of year when we have the joy of wishing one another the blessings of Christmas. I extend my good wishes and the good wishes of our General Council to all the Carmelite friars around the world,  to the contemplative nuns, the sisters and brothers in apostolic congregations and the many lay Carmelite men and women who rejoice in being members of the Carmelite Family.

Circumstances change, but the message of Christmas remains the same:  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” Jesus came as the Saviour and brother for all.  This Christmas, 2020 will find us changed. We are poorer, sicker, more frightened that we can ever remember. But we are also stronger, strengthened by what we have seen of the goodness of people who sacrifice themselves every day in order to help others, in the very difficult circumstances brought about by the Coronavirus. And that is not all. While it is true that there are many examples of violent deaths, deaths in the Mediterranean, victims of crime, war and famine, before our eyes, every day, there are also many signs of life because of the many people who save lives, respect life and do all they can to protect the dignity of other people and of our common home. This Christmas wouldn’t it be lovely to give one another the gift of a Christmas that is simple, a Gospel Christmas, a purer Christmas, one in which we are attentive to the needs of others, especially the needs of the poor, the infirm, migrants, and people with no home either for themselves or for their families. Let us commend one another and the whole of humanity to the loving care of Mary and Joseph as we welcome the gift of their Son, God made human, and join in one voice in singing, Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women that our God loves. May the grace and peace of the Incarnate Word fill your lives and your homes throughout this holy Season.   Amen. Thank you.

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Tuesday, 08 December 2020 04:07

St. Joseph, Patron of Carmel

A Letter from the Prior General, O.Carm. and Superior General, O.C.D. to the Carmelite Family on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.

This year, 2020, we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph in the full throws of a pandemic, that forced us to remain in our own homes. Because of that, we felt the need even more to turn to that just and faithful man who knew the meaning of hardship, exile, and worries about tomorrow, but did not lose heart, but continued to believe and hope God, from whom he had received a very unique mission: he was to take care of Mary and the child Jesus, the family of Nazareth, the embryo of the new family that God was giving to the world. Pope Francis, preaching in Santa Marta, reminded us of some of the qualities of St. Joseph: the man of clear and practical vision, capable of doing his work with precision and professional skill, and one who at the same time penetrated the mystery of God, beyond all that was familiar to him or was under his control, and in the presence of which he kneels and adores.

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