This morning we rose earlier than usual, to go on foot to the Basilica called ‘Bom Jesus’ in Old Goa. The body of St. Francis Xavier, the great evangelizer of the East, co-patron of the missions with St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is kept in this magnificent Jesuit church, consecrated in 1605. At 7 o’clock in the morning, we celebrated the Eucharist there, with many of the faithful present, presided in English by Fr. Luis Aróstegui Gamboa, former Superior General of the Order and Provincial of Navarre, originally from the Basque Country, like the holy Jesuit. We venerated a relic of Francis Xavier and others kept in the sacristy, including those of the Japanese martyrs, Paul Miki and companions, whose liturgical Memorial was celebrated yesterday.
The working session was introduced by the moderator, Fr. Gabriel Castro, with the reading of n. 143 of the Constitutions, which recalls the spirit of the right way to govern the Order, to be borne in mind above all, when, during these few days for example, we were involved in exercising a responsibility to the whole of our family. There was a short period dedicated to a battery of questions and clarifications directed to Fr. Łukasz Kansy and the General bursar, regarding their accounts yesterday.
The rest of the morning was dedicated to listening to a penetrating presentation of a few proposals for modification of the Norms (nn. 135-276), given by Fr. Francisco Javier Mena, the Definitor General for Latin America, who was ‘in person’ able to meet his patron Saint in joy.
His account was of a certain importance, given the points made and the direct effect decisions made will have on the structure of the Order and various specific aspects about the governing of the Circumscriptions.
In the afternoon, the groups, arranged geographically and linguistically, met together to discuss this issue. At six in the evening, all the participants in the Definitory met in an Assembly for a session of questions with regard to the issues brought up in the morning conference. Immediately after, there followed three brief communications: Fr. Javier Mena was the spokesman for a petition sent by a Carmelite family in Venezuela (friars, nuns and seculars), in order to promote a campaign of prayer and intercession for this country which is undergoing such suffering, but also to seek a show of tangible solidarity. Fr. Guillaume Dehorter, the Provincial for Paris, presented the situation with regard to mission in Iraq, where there is, at the moment, just one Iraqi friar. All the friars were invited to sustain and promote the project for the refounding of the community, making a religious available for it who is endowed with the necessary abilities. Finally, the Definitor, Fr. Johannes Gorantla gave a presentation on the educational situation in the International College and the Seminarium Missionum (Community of specialists) from the Teresianum, Rome, imploring the Provinces, most of all the European ones, to make the most of the opportunities offered by our institutions.
After, dinner, we were shown a beautiful video prepared by the Indian Provinces to celebrate 400 years of Carmelite presence in India. Through the telling of the history and development of our presence in the country, prepared by seven Provincials and other religious of different ages, we got to know a little better the faces and places of this area which has such significance for the Order: