At this time last year we were in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. El Carmelo Retreat House was closed. On behalf of all of us here, I expressed the hope that we would be able to begin to open up again soon, even if gradually, and asked you to join us in prayer for this intention.
Thanks be to God, we have been able to open up in large part even if not completely. We are not back to where we were in March of 2020, but we are in a much better place than we were in a year ago.
The gift shop is now open three days a week for several hours each day. The chapel is open for private prayer during the day on weekdays. Our weekday Mass is again open to the public. Finally, since the beginning of August, we have had a weekend retreat most weekends, one we ourselves have led or one that others have led and we have hosted. Recently we added something new: Sunday evenings the chapel is open for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (at 5:00 p.m.), followed by Evening Prayer and Adoration, then Benediction (at 6:15 p.m.).
We have been limiting the number of retreatants to a maximum of 25. Beginning in January we will raise this number to 40. This will not represent a “full house,” but we want to be careful to safeguard health and safety.
There have been some changes in personnel at El Carmelo. During the summer Sr. Noemi of the Oblatas de Santa Marta joined their community in Portland, Oregon, and Sr. Espiritu Santo their community in Grand Terrace, just a few miles from Redlands. Two Sisters came to take their places: Sr. Aurea, the new superior, from Tijuana, Mexico, and Sr. Carolina from Portland. Another change, in the community of Discalced Carmelites, will take place at the end of October. Our international leadership has appointed Fr. Ramiro Casale to be General Delegate for the Secular Order. He will move to Rome, and from there he will oversee and animate the life and spirit of Discalced Carmelite seculars throughout the world.
We thank you for your support–your prayers, encouragement, and donations. We ask your continued prayers for us priests and brothers, the Sisters, and our staff. You have a place in our own Masses and prayers. May God grant you blessings in abundance this Thanksgiving and Christmas and throughout the New Year 2022.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Gerald Werner, OCD