Some seventy Secular Carmelites of the Secular Discalced Carmelite Order (OCDS) in Malaysia celebrated their 7th OCDS Malaysia National Congress at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre, Kuala Lumpur, from 25th to 28th April 2019, attentively engaging with the theme” Building a Better Learning-Living-Loving Community”. Discalced Carmelite (OCD) Friars of the General Delegation of Singapore-Taiwan-Thailand and La Salle Br. John d’ Cruz facilitated the 3-day program which followed a community-building thrust at its core and as its emphasis.
The General Delegate to the OCDS, Fr. Alzinir Debastiani, OCD, on his tour of OCDS East Asia, was our special guest at the opening night, sharing his insights of the learning-living-loving dynamics in community-building and his worldwide experience working with Secular Carmelites of different cultures and nationalities.
We had a pleasant surprise when His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow came by and graciously spoke to us all, encouraging and supporting us with his jovial greetings and kind words, and extended his blessing to us to have an enjoyable and fruitful Congress.
In unpacking the Congress Program, Matthew Liow,OCDS, representing the National Council, presented an overview of the 3-day Program, revealing a shift from Formation for Mission, to a better Community-building response to our Baptismal-Carmelite vocation, as per the theme set forth.
Recalling thus the Baptismal -Carmelite vocation lived and nurtured during the immediate three years of the previous 6th National Congress’ theme “Called to Love and to Serve”, the four communities shared their respective communal experiences of service with love, using power-point presentations and well-prepared narratives.
As the Congress program continued to unfold, Br John d’ Cruz recapped the Learning-Living-Loving practicalities in community-building, a point of departure from which the Congress Program was developed.
An evening of person-to-person “reconciliation/affirmation” in a candle-light setting, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and spending personal quiet time at the Chapel, were included in the program.
The OCD Friars in the persons of Fr. Kenneth Gopal, Fr. Nicholas Hoh, Fr. John Chua, were respectively tasked with speaking on “ OCDS Promise in Community-building”; “Carmelite Spirituality for the OCDS”; “Witnessing to our Carmelite Spirituality in a Learning-Living-Loving Community”. The overarching teaching of the three sessions was to share on the “Promise” taken by Secular Carmelites which was lived by them in the world, witnessing to not in a vacuum, but in our contemporary Teresian Spirituality.
In order to actualise those sessions, all participants then gathered in their respective communities for a communal workshop, discussing set guide questions. Their concerted communal efforts produced results which were presented to express both the community’s now realities and the community’s practical ways to build (and striving to be) a better learning-living-loving community.
In summarizing the Congress Program, Fr. John Chua,OCD mind-mapped the main points, and Matthew Liow, OCDS, briefly shared a preliminary take-home agenda taken from the workshop presentations.
The Congress Program ended with the triennial election of the National Council of OCDS Malaysia for the ensuing term 2019-2022:
President: Simon Yiek, OCDS (Miri Community)
1st Councilor: Jacqueline Ann Sammy, OCDS (Kuching Community)
2nd Councilor: Theresa Chuah, OCDS (Kuala Lumpur Community)
Councilor for Growth and Matthew Liow, OCDS (Kota Kinabalu Community)
Secretary: Dorothy Kinajil, OCDS (Kota Kinabalu Community)
Treasurer: Janet Ling, OCDS (Kuching Community)
The General Delegate of the Singapore-Taiwan General Delegation, Fr. John Chua, OCD , continued to be the Spiritual Assistant to the OCDS in Malaysia.
The OCD Friars and the Secular Carmelites concluded the 7th OCDS Malaysia National Congress with sing-praying Regina Caeli.
Solemnity of Saint Joseph the Worker, 1st May 2019,
National Council of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelite (OCDS) in Malaysia.