Monday, 30 March 2015 15:48

2nd Regional Congress for Carmelite Laity

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Five Australian Lay Carmelites and one Lay Carmelite from New Zealand travelled to Tagaytay City in the Philippines for the 2nd Lay Carmelite Regional Congress held between 18 and 22 March 2015.

LCCONG2015DelegatesWebCarmel Weston (Coorparoo), Gwenda Gopperth (New Zealand), Paula Newcombe (Jamberoo), Christine Wade (Moderator/Jamberoo), Angela Zakarias ( National Secretary / Adelaide) and Ann Baumber (Wollongong) represented the Province.

It was a great joy to be accompanied by Gwenda Gopperth from the fledgling Lay Carmelite group in North Palmerston, New Zealand. The Lay CArmelite National Council Australia covered the $US200 cost of the congress for these participants.

Congress participants also came from Indonesia, Vietnam and of course, the Philippines. The gathering numbered around 120, all joyful, all enthusiastic and all shapes and sizes. Language posed no difficulty. Most spoke English and if not, smiles, mime and sign language sufficed.

Father Benny Phang, General Councillor for the region, and Father Raul Maravi, General Councillor for Lay Carmelites and Carmelite Youth, were also present for most of the proceedings. Their presence signified the important position of Lay Carmelites within the Order. As well as leading liturgies and taking part in discussion groups, they also joined in the fun and games in the less formal evening sessions.

Three keynote talks were given by

•    Father Christian Buenafe (Philippines) speaking on A Carmelite Servant / Leader: Spirituality and Christian Leadership;
•    Ms. Christine Wade (Australia)  who spoke on Living the Way of Carmel in the New Evangelisation, and
•    Ms. Yoanita Laksmi Budilestari (Indonesia) whose talk was titled Methods of New Evangelisation.

Copies of these talks are available.

A highlight of the gathering was a visit to the Donum Dei restaurant in Manila where a delicious meal was provided at no cost to delegates. Needless to say, a generous donation was given in return. When this was presented to the Sister in charge she mentioned that Donum Dei operates restaurants in five continents but not YET in Australia. Could there be  some promise in that YET.

Another highlight was an informal gathering of priors and formators, convened by the Philippino National Formator. This proved to be an invaluable sharing time and provided a possible model for electing some members of the National Council. This will be presented at the next meeting of the LCNCA.

In short, the Congress was a time of prayerfulness, fun, sharing, learning and networking. It was a wonderful experience of the breadth of the Order, deepening our sense of belonging with Carmelites far beyond our own shores. Australians also gained a first hand glimpse of the challenge inherent in being a western nation in the eastern quarter of the world.

The third congress is scheduled for January 2017.

Christine Wade
Moderator LCNCA

Click on the images below for a larger view.

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