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8 December 2023

Australia: Report on the friars’ Regional Chapter

The friars from Australia attended their Regional Chapter along with Fr Christianus Surinono OCD, General Definitor for East Asia, and Fr. Jim Noonan OCD, the Irish Provincial. Faced with few vocations for the friars from the Region (Australia, New Zealand and Oceania) and an aging group of current friars, the Chapter had to consider seriously the future of the Regional Vicariate.



While it is tempting to see these issues as part of a general trend amongst religious orders in Australia, the friars were, however, encouraged to consider how the Discalced Carmelite charism could find new expressions. What became clear was that the venture into new expressions of being Carmelite men in Australia (and indeed the world) must honour and preserve the essence of the rich Carmelite tradition without doggedly clinging to nor rejecting our religious and spiritual heritage. There was a call to work closely and collaboratively with our neighbouring Carmelite brothers and sisters from other cultural and national traditions. And indeed there was a great hope among the friars with regard to working towards a multi-cultural, synodal and faithful Carmelite way of life that would lead others to intimacy with Christ.