Monday, December 12, 2011
EUROPE : CARMELITE THIRD ORDER GAINS MANY NEW MEMBERS
IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: Karisha, (wearing new scapular) with groupIn recent months, the Carmelite Third Order in the British Province has been blessed with a large number of new candidates. A news story on the Carmelite website says: "In fact, the number of receptions and first or final professions within the Third Order this autumn has been something of a record-breaking bonanza!"
In September the Glasgow Lay Carmelite community witnessed the first profession of two candidates and the final profession of seven more.
In October a candidate was received into the Third Order in Cardiff, another in Manchester, and seven in Margate. Also in Margate two tertiaries made first profession of promises, and one made final profession.
On 24 November a student, Karisha George, was received into the Third Order as a member of York Carmelite Spirituality Group, while over the Pennines in Lancashire, husband and wife Brian and Eszter Dunleavy, were received into the Third Order at the Carmelite Spirituality Group that meets in Mawdesley.
Brian came across the Carmelites some years ago at a Day for the Carmelite Family event in Aylesford. He got chatting with Veronica and when it transpired he was about to move to Lancashire she encouraged him to come to the Mawdesley group. Brian says that he finds a real sense of belonging with the Carmelites, as well as a welcome call to silence (he has a sometimes noisy working life as a Religious Education teacher!). Brian met Eszter - who is from Hungary - in church, and they married last year. To be received into the Third Order was the culmination of a long-cherished hope for Eszter. She lived too far from a Carmelite community in Hungary to be in regular contact with the Order, but she had wanted to join Lay Carmel for 10 years before she was finally able to.
The Carmelite Spirituality Group in Mawdesley is a very friendly and close-knit ommunity of about a dozen members who meet in Veronica's living room for formation, Lectio Divina prayer and social time. Until the reception of Brian and Eszter, Veronica was the only member of the Third Order in the group, though there is a distance member in Morecombe attached to the community, as well as a professed member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order (OCDS) who is a regular participant. Brian and Eszter's reception provided a chance for a real sense of celebration, and the opportunity to talk about what a formal commitment in Carmel means for lay people.
On Saturday, 3 December a candidate made first profession in the Carmelite Third Order at the monthly meeting of the Birmingham Lay Carmelite community. Caroline Holland made her profession into the hands of Margaret Williams, the leader of the Birmingham community, during a celebration of Mass at St Chad's Cathedral. Witnessing the profession in the name of the Church were Cathedral priest Fr Christopher Marshall, and Fr Michael Puljic, assistant priest at Caroline's parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redditch, who was once a student at the Carmelite-served Chaplaincy at the University of York.
What is particularly striking about the new candidates within the Third Order is the young age of some of them, two of them being in their twenties. Of course this isn't to say that the Third Order doesn't value its older members! Several communities have celebrated members' Diamond Jubilees (60 years) of profession this year.
If you would like to know more about the Lay Carmelite vocation, see: http://www.carmelite.org/laycarmel