Message from the Provincial
Discalced Carmelites have a historical bond
with Goa. Less than 30 years after the death
of the great St Teresa of Jesus (Avila) -
the reformer of the Carmelite Order, and
even before her canonization the friars had
reached the capital of Portuguese India. The
founder of the Carmelite community in Old
Goa was Fr. Leander, a native of Burgos in
Spain. From this community in 1638, the
first martyrs of the Teresian Carmel -
Blessed Dionysius and Redemptus - went to
their martyrdom in Sumatra.
But the Carmelites had to leave Goa after 90 years mainly for political reasons in 1709. Yet it so happened that about 70 years after the Portuguese had obliged the Carmelites to leave Goa, a Portuguese Carmelite --- Dom Manuel de S. Caterina --- became Archbishop of Goa (1784-1812).
All that was more than two centuries ago. Much more recently, Msgr. Benziger the retired Carmelite bishop of Quilon, visited Goa in the 1930s, keen on renewing Carmelite presence in Goa during the third centenary of the martyrdom of the proto-martyrs of the Teresian reform (Bl. Dionysius and Redemptus). His dream was realized after negotiations between the Portuguese Patriarch and the Carmelites.
When searching for an appropriate site, the Archbishop-Patriarch of Goa, Dom Teotonio Emanuel Ribeiro Viera de Castro, encouraged the Carmelites with the words: the whole diocese is at your disposal. Our Heavenly Father is to be thanked for all the good His Holy Spirit has been doing during the past 75 through the instrumentality of our Carmelites. Our friars have been enjoying the favours of God and also the hospitality and generosity of the people of Margao.
The services offered by our friars, especially the spiritual ministry within the campus of our monastery and in the parishes of the Archdiocese have been lauded by the Church authorities, clergy and laity. I encourage the local community to animating the spiritual lives of the people, through their manifold services, by keeping the Carmelite charism always in view (cf. OCD const. nos. 93 and 98).
Over the years, our friars have been known for the confessional ministry, which always draws penitents from far and wide all throughout the year, but in a special way during the holy Season of Lent. Hence I was happy to learn that the present Archbishop-Patriarch of Goa, Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao has designated our church in Margao as the archdiocesan centre for the promotion of devotion to the Divine Mercy. We recall, how Frs. Anastasio Gomes OCD and Antonio Silva OCD of happy memory, initiated and propagated this devotion with regular services in our Margao and Mapusa monastery churches.
Now the Margao community is taking giant strides under the enterprising leadership of Fr. Archibald Gonsalves. A new web-site has been launched to share the joys and sorrows of the community, and plenty of useful information, not only of their own community, but also about the other two Carmelite communities in Goa, namely at Xellim and Mapusa. This will surely enhance the spirit of the Carmelite family in the region and its inter-relationship with the Church in Goa.
May the grace and favour of God our Father through the intercession of your patrons - Bls. Dionysius and Redemptus, come down on this Carmelite community and enable our friars to continue revitalizing their own spirituality and that of the people around them for the glory of Most Holy Trinity.
With deep appreciation and every good wish,
Fr. Charles Serrao OCD
Karnataka-Goa Province of Discalced Carmelites
O U R T E A M