The sun shone radiantly on Aylesford Priory on Saturday, 2 August as members and friends of the Carmelite Family gathered to celebrate in prayer in thanksgiving for the gift of Carmel in Britain. The Day began at 11.30am with a Gathering Service in the piazza of the Shrine to Our Lady, during which readings from fundamental texts of the Carmelite tradition were read. They included extracts from the Rule of St Albert; the Institutum primorum monachorum - a mediaeval Carmelite text which traces the spiritual roots of Carmel to the inspiration of the prophet Elijah; and the Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule by Blessed John Soreth, who was prior general when 550 years ago Pope Nicholas V gave permission to the Order to admit nuns, sisters and laity as members of the Order in a letter called Cum Nulla. Linking with the Carmelite heritage of the past, members of the Carmelite Family gave inspiring reflections on what Carmel meant for them today in their daily lives. During the afternoon three presentations were given in the Relic Chapel on aspects of Carmelite spirituality. Sylvia Lucas, a lay Carmelite from London, presented some challenging insights into the theme of Carmel and Compassion. James McCaffrey, OCD, from the Discalced Priory at Boars Hill, Oxford led the hearers into a reflection on the prophe Elijah and the Carmelite call to be prophets of prayer. Miceal O'Neill, O.Carm., a Carmelite friar from the Irish province, inspired the participants through his reflection on Carmel and authentic relationships. The Day concluded with the celebration of Eucharist in the open air shrine, during which Antony Lester, O.Carm., prior provincial of the Carmelite Order in Britain, presided and preached. During his homily he challenged the congregation to make a positive choice for the future about what kind of Family we wanted to be. By being united in and faithful to its common heritage, the Carmelite Family in its many expressions can be a powerful force for good as it seeks to respond to the deepest hungers and yearnings of the human heart. During the event all expressions of the Carmelite Family in Britain were represented: nuns and apostolic sisters, members of the Carmelite Third Order (Secular) and Discalced Secular Order, friars from both branches of the Order, the Leaven Carmelite Secular Institute, the Donum Dei Missionary Family and members of the Brown Scapular Confraternity, members of Carmelite parishes as well as many other lay people inspired by Carmelite spirituality. Coinciding with an international course at Aylesford Priory for friars responsible for formation in the Carmelite Order, the Day provided a sense of the global impact of Carmel today. The assembly applauded Carlo Cicconetti, O.Carm., the Vice General of the Carmelite Order who was present. Source: Aylesford Friary To see pictures and reports of Cum Nulla celebrations around the country, visit:www.carmelite.org
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