Thursday 13 January 2011

From Aylesford to East Timor

Pre-novitiate English Class
A friar of the Aylesford community, Fr. Kevin Melody, O.Carm., has arrived in Timor Leste (East Timor) where for the next three months he will be living with the local Carmelite Family and helping with the friar formation programme. He first spent time there in 2009, and maintains a valuable link between the British Province and the Carmelite Family in Asia. Kevin has sent his first report about the physical conditions he is living in...
"Things are going well here thank God - even the heat and humidity are bearable now. Most days it is in the high 20s or low 30s with very high humidity. Here in the Postulants' house in the city it is quite stuffy but in the Novitiate house, things are better as it is on a hill. Particularly helpful is the recreation room partly funded by the British Province in memory of Donald Grant - it has simply four pillars and a roof so gets great airflow. I have only been there a couple of times so far but will likely spend the month of February there with the Novices and theology students.

At present I am with the four Postulants as their formators are in Australia and Indonesia for January. It is now almost 11 am so the electricity is likely to go off any time so I will finish off. It goes off most afternoons. Luckily though we have it at night so I can have a fan in my room which makes a big difference."

Fatuhada - Blessed Titus Brandsma Community
Mission Centre, Pre-Novitiate and Transit House
Blessed and opened in July 2005, Blessed Titus Brandsma House serves as the main administration centre for the Carmelites. It is the only Carmelite house with a  landline phone, fax and internet access as well as a postal service. It is a 'transit house' for Carmelites and other visitors travelling between the parish of Zumalai and Dili.
Blessed Titus Brandsma Community is also the formation house for the Pre-Novices - young men beginning their formation as Carmelites. The two-year pre-Novitiate  is an introduction to Carmelite life and formation and a time of deeper discernment.  During their second year these students take part in an Inter-Congregational programme for young men and women who are beginning their formation in religious life. The daily programme for the Pre-Novitiate includes attendance at Eucharist, community and personal prayer, manual and pastoral work and sporting activities, studies in English, Portuguese, introduction to scripture and theology, and a programme for human development.
The Carmelite sisters “Hermanas Carmelitas” live nearby so the Carmelite priests celebrate daily Mass for them and also at the Mission Centre.

Pre novices at work

As well as providing accommodation for the Carmelite friars and pre-novices, there are also rooms for male high school students from Zumalai. There are few senior high schools in East Timor. By providing accommodation in Dili for these students, the Carmelites are making it possible for at least some students from Zumalai to complete their secondary or technical education. Most families cannot afford to pay for board and education expenses for their children. The Carmelites are helping these students by providing for their needs while they study. These students with the Pre-Novices also contribute to the daily up-keep of the house and the community.
For more information about the work of the Carmelites in Timor Leste please follow the link to the website of the Australian Province of Our Lady Help of Christians

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