The Carmelites have been busy in the Philippines and Timor-Leste! Thanks to your generous donations, the Carmelites have been helping impoverished parishes, building schools and housing. Fr. Kevin Alban brings us a report of all the good work being done.
The Carmelites are present in the Philippines and Timor-Leste, the only two predominately Roman Catholic countries in Asia. I was able to visit the Carmelite communities in both these countries and see some of the good work being done there.
In December of 2009, the Philippines were hit by devastating floods. Among those affected were 10,844 members of one of our Carmelite parishes, St. Isidore. A donation of 10,000 euros was made by the Carmelite Curia through the generosity of Society of the Little Flower donors, as well as Third Order groups, toward the reconstruction efforts in the community.
On Friday 8th October the construction of 141 housing units was officially inaugurated and blessed in the Carmelite parish of St Isidore. I was on hand to bless the reconstruction efforts.
The Carmelites are also active in Timor-Leste. The country of Timor-Leste has about 1.6 million inhabitants, of whom about 96% are Catholic. The long struggle for independence from Indonesia has left Timor-Leste in a state of recovery.
In the capital Dili, the Carmelite Postulant community of Fatuhada is home to four postulants and two solemnly professed. About half an hour down the road from Dili is the small village of Hera where the Australian province has built a noviciate house and a student house. The noviciate community has two solemnly professed and nine novices who follow a two-year programme. The student community is housed in a separate building next door to the noviciate and there are twelve solemnly professed there, six studying for priesthood and six to be brothers. They all follow a programme of theolgical studies. Both houses were funded in part by donations from the Little Flower via the Curia.
The two communities come together for meals and all Sunday liturgies, and both houses are substantially complete. There remains to finish the sports area and to develop some agricultural production in order to provide for the needs of the communities and to generate some income.
The poverty of Timor becomes very evident once one moves from the city of Dili and its environs out into the countryside.
The Carmelites were given a parish some years ago by the local bishop and for a short period it was also used as a formation house. At the moment there are three priests living there who have care of this huge parish with several Mass out stations.
The Australian Province, with some help from the Society of the Little Flower, has been able to construct a primary school with 6 classes to cater for children from 6 to 12 years old. Some scholarships are also available to assist a few students to go to secondary school. The Carmelites also own some land in nearby Raimea which is cultivated by the local population to produce rice for their needs and a little surplus which can be sold.
Much good work is being done here in Asia thanks to the donations given by members of the Society of the Little Flower and the Third Order Carmelite groups. With their help, the Carmelites continue to serve these parishes and provide for the education and formation of priests to minister to them. ~ Fr. Kevin
Video shot in Zumalai of the school construction work.