International Lay Carmelites: Sunday 16th September

Every six years the Carmelite Order holds an International Lay Carmelite Congress, bringing together members of the Carmelite Third Order and other branches of Lay Carmel to meet one another and discuss issues of mutual concern.

Several hundred delegates from every continent arrived on Sunday 16th September at 'Il Carmelo', a conference centre run by one of the Italian provinces of the Carmelite Order at Sassone, a few miles outside central Rome.

Relaxing before the real work begins: delegates chatting outside 'Il Carmelo'.

A handful of delegates had already been at Sassone for a couple of days for a meeting of those with pastoral oversight of Lay Carmel (namely Provincial Delegates to the Third Order and Lay Moderators).

A statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel outside the conference centre.

For the majority who had been travelling, an evening Eucharist was celebrated in the larger of the two chapels at 'Il Carmelo'.

Lourdes Crabtree, a Lay Carmelite formerly living in the British Province and now resident in Canada, proclaimed the Word of God at the Mass.

Fr. Désiré Unen Alimange, O.Carm., the Order's General Councillor for Africa,
presided at the Mass; it was his 33rd anniversary of religious profession.

The distribution of Holy Communion at the evening Mass.

Over the evening meal the ten delegates from the British Province of Carmelites had the opportunity to meet friends old and new from across the world.

The first evening meal.

After supper the delegates had time to relax together at the bar.

There's nothing quite like an Italian coffee after a good meal!

Sylvia Lucas (right) of the British Province and International Lay Carmelite Commission chatting with delegates from the United States.

Delegates from the British Province relaxing on the eve of the Congress: (left-right) Angela Bergström-Allen, Sylvia Lucas, Suzanne Phillips.

John Berry (left), the British Province's Delegate for Lay Carmel, with Miguel Norbert Ubarri, leader of the Third Order community in Antwerp, Belgium, which is under the pastoral oversight of the British Province.

The Congress starts officially on Monday morning with Mass celebrated by the Prior General.

As the Congress proceeds, please keep the delegates and their deliberations in your prayers.