Thursday 20 January 2011

More comings and goings

I listen; he is the one who speaks.
I am enlightened; he is the light.
I am the ear; he is the Word.
(St Augustine)

Aylesford is quite quiet in January and it gives us some space to prepare the friary for the coming year. A refurbishment of the Conference Centre main room and bar is well underway and will be complete soon. There is a studious atmosphere in the community house as the brethren prepare materials for retreats that will be given both here at Aylesford and further a field. Many local clergy take this time for a post Christmas break and so some of us have been celebrating the Sunday Eucharist in many local parishes. Friars from the community have been in the parishes of Dartford, Bearsted and Harrietsham, and Sittingbourne as well as helping our Carmelite brothers in Walworth and Faversham. It is good for us to be in the parishes and roots us in our liturgical faith and ministry.

The community was very happy to welcome Bro. Gunther Benker, O.Carm., the novice director of the Upper German province of Carmelites. Gunther came to share his wisdom on the Carmlite Charism as contained in the Ratio (formation documents) of the Order. Bro. Torsten and Bro. Tiago seemed to have enjoyed the time spent with him. As Aylesford has such an important place in the story of the Order it is always good to welcome our brothers from other provinces of the Order.

As previously reported, Fr Kevin has arrived in East Timor where he will be spending the next three months working with the young men who are in formation in that region. Kevin is a very keen photographer and I am looking forward to seeing a pictorial record of his trip. For the rest of us our travels are much more local. Fr Joseph and the novices are in Buckton for an inter-congregational meeting of novices on the theme of the vows. This week they are exploring the vow of chastity. Fr Brendan has escaped the friary for a few days of rest and relaxation, as has Fr Tony Pelan. Next week Fr Damian finds himself returning to Craig Lodge in Dalmally, where he will lead the community there in a time of retreat as they prepare themselves to minister to the many who travel to their community for a time of rest and spiritual renewal. Fr Joseph will return to his native Glasgow for a speaking engagement at the beginning of February.

Next month the Carmelite friars of the British province will meet here at Aylesford to begin their Provincial Chapter. A Chapter is an important moment in the life of a province. Every three years we meet to discuss the life and ministry of the friars in the province and to discern where God might be calling us to focus our energies and resources in the future. For us the Chapter has two parts. The first is the Electoral Assembly. The friars meet for a few days and discern who from among them might serve as Prior Provincial and Provincial Councillors. This group of friars will form a team to guide the province for the next three years. After Easter the friars, Carmelite delegates and co-workers meet for four days to discuss the needs of the province and those we minister to. A Chapter is a Spirit led time of challenge, renewal and dialogue for the province. Those who are planning our Chapter have prepared the following prayer for us.

God of faithful love,
as we prepare for our Chapter
may your Holy Spirit be with us, so that,
together with Mary, our Mother,
and Mother of the Church,
we may make Carmelite way
the very wellspring of our lives.
May the abiding presence of your Spirit
of wisdom and understanding
enable us to listen to you,
to listen to one another,
and in serving your people,
to heed especially the cry of the poor.
We ask this grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let us pray for each other.

No comments:

Post a Comment