Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Message of the Prior General to the National Convention of the Third Order in the Philippines

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I write to greet all of you gathered for the TOC National Convention in the Philippines this April. I pray that your meeting will be a time of blessing for you all as you discuss the issues relating to formation, stewardship, leadership and your statutes.

Having just returned from a visit to Carmel in the Philippines, together with Fr. Albertus Herwanta, it was wonderful to get to know your part of our Carmelite world. Not alone did we have the opportunity to meet the members of the Province, but we were able to join in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the presence of Carmel in the Philippines. It was inspiring to see the result of years of hard work, dedication and examples of the growth that have taken place during these past fifty years. We must be grateful to many people during these past decades and all those associated with us in the Order, members of the Third Order, Nuns, Associates, Carmelite Youth and laity for the special place that has become the Carmelite Order in the Philippines.

Apart from the business of your TOC National Convention from 21st – 25th April, this gathering will a moment to give thanks to God for the many blessings received down through the years. I too, on behalf of the Order, wish to send you my best wishes for all your deliberations and I pray that you will continue to work together “to build the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 126)

Our General Chapter reminded us of our prophetic and contemplative role in this changing world of ours. The following of the Lord requires that we have courage and not be afraid. What we are called is to be ready listeners in the silence of our hearts, prompt to respond with zeal to the presence of the Almighty.

May these days be fruitful, may you find in each other’s company the courage to build anew, to face the future with hope, happiness and love. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may Our Lady of Mount Carmel be ever near with her gentle protection.

Yours in Carmel,

Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, OCarm
Prior General

10th National Convention of Lay Carmelites of the Philippines

From the 21st to the 25th of April, Lay Carmelites from all over the Philippines converged to the "Bukal ng Buhay" (Springs of Life) Retreat House, in Bustos, Bulacan, Philippines for the 10th TOC National Convention. The event was attended by 86 TOCs composed of priors, prioresses, formation directors, and regional coordinators of the different local communities and of the different regions. The theme of the convention was "Buhay Karmelita: Bokasyon, Pagpapatotoo, Pag-aalay Buhay" (Carmelite Life: Vocation, Witnessing, and Oblation).

The convention was opened with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Pete Manilag, OCarm., provincial delegate. On the succeeding days, different speakers were invited to give a recollection and talks to the convention delegates and observers. Fr. Ver Rhoniel Cristobal, TOCarm gave a recollection based on Chapter 21 and 22 of the Rule of St. Albert; Fr. Domingo Salonga (NDV) gave a talk on Formation and Stewardship; and Fr. Bernard Roosendahl, OCarm gave a talk on Carmelite Community Leadership. It was also during this convention that the Local Statutes of the Philippine TOC was aligned to the 2003 TOC Rule and a new set of officers were elected at the TOC National Council. These new set of officers are Rosalie Castro (National Coordinator); Cynthia Penalosa (1st Councilor); Ruel Santos (2nd Councilor); Flor A' Jose (3rd Councilor); and Mila Exconde (4th Councilor).

The delegates made a pilgrimage to the old churches in the province of Bulacan en route to the site of the closing rites of the convention. A Eucharistic concelebration at the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pulong Buhangin was presided by Bishop Jose F. Oliveros (Diocese of Malolos) together with Fr. Artemio Jusayan, OCarm (Commissary General), Fr. Pete Manilag, OCarm (Provincial Delegate), Fr. Aris Escobal, OCarm., Fr. Elmer Ignacio (Parish Priest), and Fr. John Paul Avila, TOCarm.

The Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millan Romeral, sent a letter to the Convention delegates. Copies of this letter were given to the participants of the convention. Pictures taken at the convention can be accessed at the Friendster website.