Carmel Bulletin, 16 June 2019
The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July. The parish celebrates the feast day on the Sunday closest to the feast day, this year on Sunday 14 July. As a lead up to the feast day we will provide some reflections on the feast day and what it means to be a Carmelite.
Mount Carmel is a mountain range in the north of Israel. The prophet Elijah plied his trade there in the 9th century. By the 11th century Palestine was a land of conflict as it still is today. A Crusade was organised in 1099 to win back Jerusalem from the Turks. Religious life at the time was dominated by rather institutionalised large monastic communities. By contrast hermits had lived on Mount Carmel for more than 800 years. Some lived on Mt Carmel at Elijah’s spring near Haifa overlooking the sea. They built a small chapel dedicated to Mary in the midst of their humble, individual cells. After their battles a number of the Crusaders found their way there at the beginning of the 13th century. They were lay hermits…
The original hermits and us
The Carmelite Order was destined to evolve from these original hermits. Why did they find themselves there? Some may have come because they were disappointed with their earthly riches, some to find peace after the tragedies of war, and maybe some were answering a call to contemplate a deeper relationship with God.
Which prompts us to ask why we are at Mt Carmel? Did you grow up having a special affiliation to Our Lady? Did your family? Did you move to the area and naturally gravitate to your local parish? Maybe your kids went to school here? Or were you just walking by and saw that the lights were on? For whichever reason we’re here on this spiritual mountain, we are now part of the Carmelite Family. So what does that mean to us?
Denis Andrew OCarm (Parish Priest)
and Paola Yevenes (Pastoral Associate)
Photo Credit: Misliya cave in Megadim Cliff, Mount Carmel, by Hanay [CC BY 3.0]