Lay Carmelites International Congress

HONG KONG (SE): Around 120 lay Carmelites of the Asian and Australian region (Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Australia) participated in their 4th International congress in Bali, Indonesia, from February 13 to 16. The main themes were: Leave here, go east… (1 Kings 17:3), and millennial challenges facing Carmelite life

It was an opportunity for the Carmelite family to deepen its spiritual life, as well as to learn and to share each others culture and prayer experiences from one another. 

Father Heribertus Purwanto, the Carmelite superior in Hong Kong, and members of the Lay Carmelites in the city were representatives at the congress, bringing an icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with them.

All delegates were invited on field trips and to see cultural performances. Reports were made concerning the situation of lay Carmelites and the problems they face. Representatives from Australia, Vietnam and Hong Kong were honoured with handicraft gifts made by northern Indonesian women, in recognition of the natural disaster, Covid-19 coronavirus and social unrest they had been experiencing.

Three speakers addressed the gathering: Karlina Supelli, a professor and director of a post-graduate programme in philosophy, who addressed the negative effects of the Internet age—the easy spread of hoaxes and fake news and suicides due to loneliness and how to follow the example of Mother Mary in dealing with these and journeying with young people; Father Ignasius Budinono, the Carmelite prior provincial, who spoke about being reflective and meditative in our interior life and bearing good fruit finding joy in making the right choices; and Father Benny Phang Khong Wing, the Carmelite vice prior general, who spoke about the challenges faced by family and society in the new millennium and the gentle response and witnessing asked of Lay Carmelites in their vision, action and spiritual life.

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The Lay Carmelite delegates found that they shared the same challenges and obstacles. They resolved to build communication between communities and support one another; to strengthen family bonds and journey with children and young people in their process of becoming the people God calls them to be; and respect neighbour and Creation.

The Carmelites in Hong Kong will be organising two spiritual workshops about ”Contemplative prayer with an icon in the Carmelite tradition in July this year. One workshop is scheduled for July 16 at St.Anne’s Church, Stanley, and the other on July 19 at the Shek O retreat house. For further enquiries, please email:

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