Carmelites undertake various forms of apostolate and service requested by the Church. While Carmelites are members of an international Order, they normally work within a local Church and play their part in the pastoral plan of the Diocese. Sometimes, the Order undertakes responsibility for parish work on behalf of a Diocese.
A parish is often defined legally as being a community of the Christian faithful formally constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor under the authority of the diocesan bishop.
Carmelites have accepted parishes starting from the Thirteenth Century (as in Ferrara, Bologna and Rome). While following the pastoral plan of the Diocese, Carmelites will also contribute our charism to the parishes we have responsibility for. Inevitably, a Carmelite parish will have a different flavour from other parishes. This is because we offer Carmelite spirituality to those members of the parish who are interested in it and because those who work in the parish are Carmelites and our approach will be different to that of others.
Ideally in a parish that is in the care of the Carmelite Order for a long time, we may expect to find a love for the Eucharist and for Scripture, a love for Mary, the Mother of God, and a way of welcoming people and walking with people that is simple uncomplicated and respectful of each one’s spiritual journey. The approach to ministry will be marked by collaboration.