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.
What is the role of the Regional Coordinator in the case of Leave of Absence? Is the problem/request directly addressed to the Lay Carmelite Office?
Request for Leave of Absence (LOA) is sent directly to the Lay Carmelite Office from either the community council, in the case of inactivity over 24 months or disciplinary action, or by the Lay Carmelite who might be requesting a LOA for discernment purposes. The Regional Coordinator (RC) has no specific role in this process; however, it would be advisable for the local community council to seek the advice of the RC in the case of a disciplinary request because she/he is available and willing to assist the council in their decision making process. The RC will be knowledgeable of the Interprovincial Statutes and the Community Manual and will use these documents as a resource if the community council needs clarification.
Can a new Catholic (of a few months) be a Lay Carmelite? In the past I understood that you need to at least get involved in the ministries of the parish one belongs for at least a year or so. Please clarify.
The Lay Carmelite Office (LCO) does recommend that a brand new Catholic begin by practicing their Catholic faith, partaking in a parish ministry or two, and to become more familiar with what it means to be Catholic through study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parish bible study, or some other study group within the parish or diocese.
A new Catholic generally has a lot of zeal to begin practicing their faith and that is wonderful. However, it is wise to let them explore the many facets of the Church as a whole before limiting their focus to one aspect of Catholicism (the Carmelite Order). It may well be that she/he is made for Carmel and if so it will still be the case after a year or two of exploration and practice in their newfound faith.