We have come to the end of our questions from last year’s Convocation. I think we had a good array of questions and hopefully, I was able to give you clear and understandable replies. Some of you have written back with additional questions and I have tried to incorporate them into these weekly e-mails. Please continue to send me your questions and I will relay them to you all, as well as the answers, as time goes by.
I want to encourage everyone to have at your fingertips our most recent manuals and documents: Carmel’s Call, the Community Manual, Phase I Candidate Workbook and Formators Manual, and the Phase II Formators Manual. All of these documents have the information you need to answer many questions with definitive answers and if you are a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure you have them and know what is in them. For example, there is good information in even the introduction of these manuals and the more familiar you are with the material the better.
Even though the main reason for my weekly e-mails is complete, you will continue to hear from me regularly (although probably not weekly). I want to keep an open channel with the leaders in our Province and honestly, I find this has been a good way to accomplish that. I hope you agree.
When the Lay Carmelite Office (LCO) becomes self-sufficient will you communicate this to our communities?
Our Provincial and his Council have for many years contributed to the LCO operating budget in the form of a “subsidy.” The subsidy has decreased over recent years but it is still being provided in the FY 2019-2020 budget. Provincial dues are the major source of the LCO operating budget, with some additional seasonal donations, community and regional donations, and our only fundraiser, an annual “All Souls Day” appeal in addition to the subsidy. These make up our funding sources. Our members have been very faithful in seeing to their responsibility to pay dues and that is why we have been able to hold our dues amount to $55.00 per member.
Last year I re-instituted the practice of providing a financial statement to all communities for the previous fiscal year. I will be sending this financial statement (FY 2018-2019) again in February.
Are the annual dues voluntary or taken out of the community fund, for members that are indigent or inactive? Does a member lose his/her status if the annual dues are not paid?
Dues are not voluntary but the responsibility of each member. I have found that Lay Carmelites who struggle financially want to contribute any way that they can and are often relieved to be told that any portion that they can manage is appreciated by the Community Council and by the LCO. Many communities pay the dues for members who are truly not able to pay anything. If that is just not possible then the member should still be included in all Annual Reports with non-payment noted with -0- in the dues column.
No Lay Carmelite would ever be dispensed or dismissed for the lack of the ability to pay dues. Only by the grace of God are most of us able to pay dues.
How long is the waiting period for a candidate to discern he/she is ready for Reception or Profession (after interview)?
The discernment period begins from Lesson 1, Day 1, Phase I. It continues through Phase II and once again at the beginning of Temporary Profession. The discernment period involves the Candidate and the Community Council. By the time of the final interview prior to Reception, Temporary Profession and Final Profession there should be a general consensus of whether or not the Candidate is ready to move forward, needs a little more time, or should be dismissed.
If I could say one additional thing about this it would be please do not wait until the end of each phase to consider whether the Candidate has truly been called to Carmel. Likewise, if there are red flags observed they should be brought up immediately with the Candidate. It is really unjust to wait until the end of the process to bring up valid concerns the Council may have with the Candidate.
Thank you all for following this Q&A Series. The Lay Carmelite Office remains busy. We are currently evaluating the past three year term with your Regional Coordinators and Regional Formation Coordinators. Appointments and re-appointments will be made over the summer. You will be notified of those results prior to September 1, 2020.
The Interprovincial Lay Carmelite Commission (IPLCC) is completing the revisions to our Provincial Statutes. Once the final revisions have been made it will be sent to the Prior Provincial and his Council for approval and promulgation. We will then print them and make them available to update your current Carmel's Call. I cannot promise this will be finalized in 2020 but the IPLCC is working diligently to complete the task.