The year 1619 marked the beginning of the first Carmelite establishment in India. This year, the Carmelites are completing four centuries of its presence in the sub continent. The celebration of the 400 years of Carmelite presence in India is being organised under the umbrella of Inter-Provincial Conference of India of the Carmelites. A steering committee has been formed for this purpose headed by Fr Archibald Gonsalves, OCD and Fr Mark Furtado, OCD, representing Karnataka-Goa province of the Carmelites. This celebration will be held from February 8 to February 10 in Goa. It will coincide with the Extra-Ordinary Definitory from February 4 to February 11 at St Joseph Vaz Spiritual Centre, Old Goa.
In view of this celebration, a facelift has been given to the ruins of the Convento do Carmo at Old Goa. Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites and other priests, Fr Saverio Cannistra, OCD, will preside over the Eucharistic celebrations at the ruins of the Carmelite Monastery (Convento do Carmo) Old Goa on Friday, February 8, at 7.30 a.m. He will bless the renovated Carmelite monastery church and the monastery at Margao in the evening.
A Carmelite Scholastic Meet will also be held at Pallotti Home, Chicalim on Saturday, February 9, 2019. Here, over 150 scholastics from the Indian provinces will participate.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão will preside over the solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, February 10 at 4 p.m. at Se Cathedral Church, Old Goa. Bishop of Karwar Diocese, Archbishop Derek Fernandes and Bishop Emeritus of Mangalore Diocese, Aloysius Paul D’Souza will concelebrate with Fr Saverio Cannistra. This will be followed by light and sound presentation of the Carmelite history in India—‘Solo Dios Basta’ (God alone suffices) by Fr Allan Tavares sfx. Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, George Cardinal Alencherry will be the chief guest. Archbishop Derek Fernandes and Bishop Emeritus Aloysius Paul D’Souza will be the guests of honour.
A seminar on the history and contribution of the Carmelites in India will be held in the morning from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. The inaugural ceremony will be presided over by Fr Saverio Cannistra. The seminar will be held in three sessions. The first session will be moderated by mother general of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Teresa, Chris CSST. This will include papers on the historical background of the arrival of Carmelites in Goa by Fatima Gracias, on the architecture of First OCD Monastery in Goa by Fernando Velho, and the spread of Carmelites in Old Goa by John Marshal.
In the second session, papers on Carmelite spirituality in the Indian Context and Carmelites contributions in the spiritual apostolate of the Church in India will be presented by Fr Peter Chakiath, OCD and Fr Verony, CTC. This session will be moderated by the superior general of the CMI Fathers, Fr Paul Achandy. There will also be a presentation on the Carmelite contributions in the social apostolate of the Church in India. Fr Prasad Theruvathu, OCD will speak on the challenges of Carmelites in India today in the third session which will be moderated by the assistant general of the congregation of the Apostolic Carmel, Mabilia, AC.