With the start of a new year, the Carmelite Order around the world is putting particular energy into preparing for the General Chapter that will take place in Rome between 9th and 28th September.
General Chapters are international meetings of Carmelite friars held every six years, bringing together leaders and representatives of the Order's various provinces and regions.
A major task of the General Chapter will be to elect a new Prior General (Senior Brother) of the Order, the current Prior General Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral having completed the maximum two terms of office.
The General Chapter will discuss and vote on proposals on various matters that may be for the good of the Order in the future. Arguably the biggest task facing the participants will be the perusal, possible refinement, and approval of new Constitutions articulating the spirituality of the Order and governing the life of the friars; the last Constitutions were approved by the General Chapter in 1995.
The theme of the 2019 General Chapter will be: '"You are my witnesses" (Isaiah 43:10); from one generation to the next; called to be faithful to our Carmelite charism'.
Planning for the General Chapter is undertaken by a Preparatory Commission appointed by the General Council of the Order in Rome.
The Preparatory Commission of the 2019 General Chapter at their initial meeting in Rome in April 2018.
Left-right: Claudemir Rozin (General Commissariat of Paraná); Christian Körner (Vice Prior General);
Giampiero Molinari (Secretary General); Luca Sciarelli (Italian Province); Fernando Millán Romeral (Prior General);
Edison Tinambunan (Indonesian Province); Boniface Kimondolo (General Delegation of Kenya); Richard Byrne (Irish Province).
In November 2018 the Preparatory Commission wrote to the leaders of the friars worldwide, drawing attention to a document called the Instrumentum laboris that will help Carmelite individuals and communities to reflect on the Chapter theme. The collated feedback prompted by the Instrumentum laboris will be presented to the Chapter for its consideration. The Instrumentum laboris and other documents relating to the General Chapter can be found at www.ocarm.org/capitulumgenerale2019
Please keep the Carmelite Order in your prayers as we prepare for the 2019 General Chapter which, as the Preparatory Commission states in its letter, "is the principal sign of the unity of our Order in all its diversity. It is the fraternal gathering in which we listen to the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, so as to know the will of God for this generation so that we best serve the Church."