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Panaji: 400 years of Discalced Carmelites presence in India celebrated

Pics: Stanly Bantwal

Media release

Panaji, Feb 11:  “We need to deepen our faith in Jesus and witness him through our humble, selfless and caring service to those who are underprivileged and those who are on the peripheries of our society.” said Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao while delivering a homily on the theme: “All is grace.” Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao presided over the Eucharistic celebration to mark 400 years of Discalced Carmelites presence in India.

Bishop Emeritus of Mangaluru Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Karwar, Dr Derek Fernandes, Superior General Dr Saverio Cannistra, General Definitor for India Dr Johannes Gorantla,   Assistant Superior General Dr Agusti Borrel, Superior General of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate Dr Paul Anchandy, Provincial of Karnatak-Goa province Fr Charles Serrao, Convener of the Steering Committee formed for the Celebrations of 400 years of Carmelites presence in India. Dr Archibald Gonsalves and 208 priests concelebrated the Eucharist stating that God has blessed the entire church in India through the presence of   Carmelites, asked the entire Carmelite family , asked them to continue their service to the Church.

Archbishop reflecting on Mother Mary said that she expressed her faith through her faith in God, through her joyful and selfless attitude.

Assistant to the Parish Priest of Se Cathedral, Fr. Seby Vaz who led the liturgical singing during the Eucharist, expressed his words of gratitude on behalf of Parish Priest and the parishioners. Br Jeswin Benoy of Karnataka-Goa province was the liturgical commentator while Fr. Sylvestre D’souza and Fr. Joaquim Rodrigues     animated the liturgy. Convenor of the steering committee Dr Archibald Gonsalves spoke on the occasion

His Eminence   George Cardinal Alencherry was the chief guest for the programme after the mass. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao and Bishop Derek Fernandes   and Bishop Emeritus were the Guests of honour. Cardinal Alencherry released the new book-- The first foundation of Carmel in India authored by John Marshal.   Coffee table book and a souvenir were released by Bishop Derek Fernandes and Rev. Fr Paul Anchanady. Speaking on the occasion Cardinal Alencherry, recalled the contribution of the Carmelite in Kerala and appreciated their service to the humanity. He expressed his gratitude to them. Bishop Derek gave brief history of the Carmelites in Sunkery (Karwar diocese). " They struggled to preached the Good News of Jesus Christ." he said. 

President of Inter-Province Conference of India, Fr Charles Serrao welcomed the gathering. Dr Archibald Gonsalves compered the entire programme. Kepenchim Kirnnam led by Elvis Goes performed Goan folk songs and dances. Definitor General Dr Johannes Gorantla proposed a vote of thanks.

This was followed by light and sound programme solo Dios Basta (God alone suffices) by Dr Allan Tavares sfx. depicting the history and mission of the Carmelites in India.

Stating that every 300 years, religious life has changed into better or worse. Carmelites in India not only survived but flourished in the last 400 years.” Said   Dr Prasad Theruvathu of Manjummel Province of the Carmelites while presenting a paper on Challenges of Carmel in India today. The first 300 years were the era of missionaries and the last 100 years the period of native Carmelites.” He said recalling the past.   According to him , religious life is at the crossroad globally..

Carmelites in India organised a seminar on the theme: “400 years of Carmelite footprints in India.” There were 7 papers presented dividing into three sessions. Presenting on the Carmelite contributions in the social apostolate of the Church in India, Dr (Sr) Tresa CSST said that Carmelite in India has contributed in the field of education, health care, charitable works, publications, researched areas in secular and social science subjects.

Dr Fatima Gracias, while presenting the historical background of the arrival of the Carmelites in Goa, focussed on the hardships faced from the Portuguese King by the Carmelites to begin their foundation in Goa. Fernando Velho, gave in nutshell the Architecture of the Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo , Old Goa and Church and Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Chimbel by the Chimbel Carmelites.

Historian and the Carmelite Associate and author of the book— “ The First Foundation of Carmel In India, John Marshal said the first foundation of the Carmelites-(i.e.) the Carmelite Convent of the Persian mission of the Discalced Carmelites in Goa could be considered as the Cradle of the Carmelite way of life in India. He briefed the process of first foundation in Goa and remembered Fr. Leander of the Annunciation as the founder of the Carmelite convent in Goa.   Dr Peter Chakiath OCD, speaking on the theme Carmelite spirituality in the Indian context, He compared Carmelite Spirituality to the Indian Spirituality.Dr. (Sr) Verony CTC, highlighting Carmelites Spiritual contribution, focused on the contribution of the Carmelite Missionaries to the Indian Church by founding monasteries in India, and evangelization and faith formation through writing, printing and publishing, the theological Contributions of Carmelites “Carmelite presence is felt in conducting spirituality and retreat centers throughout all parts of the country.” She said.

The sessions were moderated by Mother General of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Teresa, Sr Chris CSST, Superior General of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate Fr. Paul Anchady CMI and Assistant General of the Sisters of Apostolic Carmel, Sr Mabilia AC. Three books—From Darkness to light (translated) by Fr Francis Chittuparambil, St. Teresa of Avila-- Foundress and Mystic by Dr Peter Chakiath and Upanisads and Edith Stein by Fr. Thomas Marottipparayil, were released during the seminar. 

Superior General Dr Saverio Cannistra, presided over the inaugural ceremony. Vice President of Inter Provincial Conference of India, Rev. Dr. Agustine Mulloor, welcomed the gathering. Bishop Emeritus of Mangalore Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D’souza was the Chief guest for the ceremony. Fr. Lucas Borreli, Assistant General, Rev. Dr. Johannes Gorantla, Definitor for India, Fr. Charles Serrao, Provincial of Karnataka-Goa province and Mrs. Jane Sequeira, OCDS president of Karnataka-Goa province was present on the dais.

Bishop Emeritus Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, speaking on the occasion, appreciated the selfless service of the Carmelites in India, diocese of Mangaluru and Udupi. He recalled the historical aspects of the Carmelite in Mangaluru.

Fr Noel D’Cunha, compered the seminar.

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