From the 10th to the 2th of October, 2014, at the St. Albert’s International Centre in Rome, a symposium was held, to celebrate the 8th Centenary of the death of St. Albert of Jerusalem. On the invitation of the General Council, some eighty people including friars, nuns, religious sisters and lay carmelites, from Rome and from farther afield, in Europe and in Brazil, took part in the event. The celebration opened on the 10th with Evening Prayer at which the Provost General of the Discalced Carmelites, Fr. Saverio Cannistrà, presided. The words of welcome were given by the Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm. and the President of the Institutum Carmelitanum, Fr. Michael Plattig, O.Carm.
The morning of the 11th of October was taken up with the lectures given first by Fr. Vincenzo Mosca, O.Carm. (Neap) on the biography of St. Albert and on his role in relation to the Carmelite Order, and then by Fr. Kees Waaijman, O.Carm. (Neer) on “Silence and Work in the Carmelite Rule”, After these two conferences the participants went into groups to reflect on the following themes: The Rule and Research; The Rule and Pastoral Ministry; The Rule and Contemplation, and The Rule and the Carmelite Family.
In the afternoon, Bro. Patrick Mullins, O.Carm., (Hib) and Fr. Bruno Secondin, O.Carm. (Ita) responded to the two morning conferences and Sr. Anastasia of the Carmelite community of Ravenna (RAV) presented a summary of all that was said.
A particularly significant moment was the address given by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and successor of St. Albert, his Beatitude, Fouad Twal, who spoke about the situation of Christians in the Holy Land at the present time.
The Patriarch also led the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday morning, the 12th of October in the Carmelite church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. The concelebrants included, the bishop of Stockholm in Sweden, Anders Arborelius, a Discalced Carmelite, and the two Priors General, Fernando and Saverio along with Carmelites from both branches of the Order.
A round-table made up of all the speakers, and chaired by the President of the Institutum Carmelitanum, as the final act of the syposium, brought out the various aspects of the role of St. Albert as law-giver, not only at the beginning but for all Carmelites who wish to live in the way that he set out as the foundation for Carmelite life in the “formula Vitae” written for the hermits on Mount Carmel.
At the end, the Prior General, Fr. Fernando thanked all the organisers for their work, and the members of the community of St. Albert’s International Centre for their hospitality which contributed handsomely to the success of the celebration, that took place in a spirit both of fraternity and of family.