The «Our Lady of Carmel» Association (Carmelites of the Holy Land and Egypt) has recently experienced a moment of grace that we would like to share. The theme of our annual session was «Brothers and sisters of Carmel in the Middle East … to build the fraternity according to St. Teresa and to live it in our region». In addition to the four Carmels of the Holy Land and Fayoum (Egypt), our sisters from Tanger (Maroc) were also represented. We have noted with admiration the situation of our Carmelites in Syria and Lebanon through the fraternal letter. Bishop Pierbattista Pizzabala, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has gathered to all the realities of the local church.
The Carmelite friars were represented by: Bishop Jean-Benjamín Sleiman, Bishop of Latins in Baghdad (Iraq), Fr. Enrique Castro, Delegate General of Israel, Fr. Patrizio Sciadini, Delegate of Egypt, Fr. Raymond Abdo, Provincial Fr. Miguel Márquez, Provincial of the Iberian Province, and head of the Carmel of Tanger, Fr. Guillaume Dehorter, Provincial of Paris, and head of the Baghdad convent in Iraq, and Fr. Abdo, parish priest of the parish of San Joseph of Haifa, and counselor of the Carmelites of the Holy Land.
The meeting took place in Amman (Jordan), land of the prophet Elijah, whose access was easy for all nationalities. The center «Our Lady of Peace» has offered a warm welcome in simplicity and the beautiful chapel adorned with frescos has been the setting for liturgy and prayer.
We thank the Lord for the journey we have made so far: we are together the Order of Carmel in this region and we are aware of the presence of the whole Order. Dialogues and group exchanges during these days have led us to some convictions:
- We can no longer speak only of the “Holy Land” but of the “Carmel of the Middle East” which includes Holy Land, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and also Morocco.
- The collaboration between brothers and sisters seems to us an essential part of our charism, fruitful and vital in a context like ours.
- We have understood with greater clarity that in order to live better the charisma as Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross wanted, we must care for it, renew ourselves in its understanding and live it.
- It is necessary to let ourselves be truly transformed by the charism, enculturating it with realism, with humility and perseverance, and valuing the local languages.
- Aware of our situation in the Middle East, we feel the urgency to revive the flame of our mission.
At the end of our session, we have formulated some concrete proposals:
- An annual formation meeting for the friars and nuns together.
- Link our initiatives in the field of information (bulletins and / or web pages).
- Commit to vocations with a prayer and reflection for a common vocation pastoral.
We thank all our communities and all those who have contributed to the good progress of this meeting.
Tishbe, September 23, 2017