This Question-and-Answer Series was begun in the attempt to clarify questions and/or concerns that came up during the 2019 Lay Carmelite Convocation in Chicago, IL.
I'm back from very productive meetings on behalf of all of our Lay Carmelite communities. The Interprovincial Commission addressed the successes and challenges of our recent July Convocation. The Commission also briefly discussed future plans and locations for a next gathering. And we continued our work on updating the Provincial Statutes (Carmel’s Call, pages 61-123). I hope that project will be completed soon.
While I was in Darien I also met with our Office Manager, Sheri Carioto, and the Provincial Director of Communications, Media and I.T., Ken Pino. We discussed plans for a new database program, which the LCO will be implementing in the new year.
It's good to participate in the necessary work of last week but it’s always good to get home. Now on to our Q&As for the week.
How do you address a situation whereby an inquirer who almost decides to join the community but withdraws to join the secular group instead? (Apparently the reason given was that she/he preferred the OCDS community because they always have a priest come to their meetings to give talks, etc.)
One of the reasons our Province has a 6-year period, from initial inquirer to finally professed Lay Carmelite, is that sometimes it takes this long to discern a true vocation to Carmel. This is a normal process and the whole reason for discernment. In Phase I and II formation we show the candidates just what it means to live a life of Carmel; its requirements, joys, and responsibilities all included. We continue this for the rest of our lives with ongoing formation.
I would in no way be concerned or even disappointed that an inquirer decides to go elsewhere for a spiritual path. After all, we hope that every person is on his or her true path to God. That is not always the Carmelite path.
We all work very hard and reap the benefits of pursuing a Carmelite life as authentically as we can. We have developed our formation programs to deepen our knowledge and practice of Carmel. We cherish our friars and look to them for support and brotherly love in our spirituality; however, it is not healthy to depend on them exclusively for our own lay formation. The Lay Carmelite offices of the province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary and St. Elias have developed its formation program within the talent of its lay members and over time it has proven effective and life-giving for us all.
If a person has served as a secretary, formation director then becomes director and has been a member of the council in one office or another for twelve years is he/she still eligible to be a director or councilor?
Per our Provincial Statutes (Carmel’s Call, Chapter 7, No. 2 and 3, page 81) twelve consecutive years is the maximum one may serve on council before a break must be taken.