Hot News‎ > ‎

Carmelite JPIC Newsletter

posted Mar 2, 2014, 3:09 PM by Sean Donovan
JPIC 28 – MARCH 2014 … Health in the Lord and Blessing of the Holy Spirit [Rule of St Albert]

Prior Provincial Denis Andrew on one of his many trips to Timor Leste was able to catch up with Carmelite Friar, Fr Aniceto, giving us a glimpse into the development of democratic processes in this new nation through the lens of justice and peace.

National Commission of Election
Aniceto Maia Da Costa is a Timor Leste Carmelite who belongs to our Province. In early 2013 he was asked by the Episcopal Conference of East Timor to be the church’s representative on the 15 member National Commission of Election (CNE). This is a body set up by the Government to strengthen democratic rule by instilling justice and peace issues into government processes.

Since taking up the position Aniceto has to educate himself about election procedure, the constitution and the laws of the country. Each Wednesday the Government holds a plenary session in which Aniceto takes part as a member of the CNE. He represents the church in these sessions and is the church’s spokesperson for the media. The types of tasks that Aniceto is working on include:

 Preparing a manual for electoral education in East Timor.

 A number of Commissioners are sent to observe the election process in other emerging democratic nations such as Nepal.
The idea is that by observing the election process they will learn ways to improve the election process in East Timor.
The philosophy behind all their endeavours is Accountability, Transparency and Non-violence. Their brief extends from the seat of Government to the remotest of the 442 villages in Timor Leste and includes church and parish structures. Basically they are hoping to minimise corruption and manipulation at all levels of Government, from the National Parliament down to local leaders. As Timor is a very Catholic country the Commission needs to work with church leaders and local parishes to make sure there are proper processes.

National Commission for Peace
Aniceto is also the church’s representative on the National Commission for Peace in Timor Leste. This body was set up by the Government in 2010 to work at making a difference in four areas of life in Timor Leste:
1. Work at convincing groups/parties/organisations/churches to put the national interest ahead of their own particular political agenda.
2. Work to eliminate nepotism and collusion in society and government.
3. Improve the quality of the judicial system.
4. Create a new and healthy history for Timor Leste compared with past history.
It is an honour for the Carmelites in Timor Leste that Aniceto is entrusted by the church and government with such an important role. We wish him every success.

Denis Andrew O. Carm.

Take a look at the website developed by Br Sean Keefe to keep us informed about progress in Timor Leste with educational sponsorships:
“The expectation to a formal education is not necessarily true for the children of Timor-Leste. Due to the poverty of many of the families, children are more valuable when they stay home and help with family chores. Many families cannot afford to send their children to school. This means that the poverty of the family is passed from one generation to the next. Without education, most of these children will not be able to move above the expectations of ignorance.”

Australia Diddles East Timor
At the end of last year, accusations of skulduggery have emerged in regard to a former Australian Government and East Timor. It goes something like this.

In 1982 the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea recommended that the boundary between countries relatively close to each other such as Australia and East Timor should be a line half way between the two countries’ coastlines. Two months before East Timor gained independence in 2002 Australia announced it did not accept this jurisdiction as it realised the lucrative oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea would belong to East Timor. By 2005 pressure was mounting for the Australian Government to enter into negotiations about this by the international community. Australia then bugged the Timorese cabinet room and with the help of information gleaned managed to bully the Timorese Government into postponing the establishment of permanent boundaries for 50 years. This would enable the Australian Government to reap the $40 billion or so in revenue it hopes to obtain from the gas field.

It makes the whole relationship with East Timor a bit paradoxical: on the one hand we poured military and humanitarian aid into the country after the vote for independence, only to act as thugs and bullies on another level. A person involved in the shenanigans became so incensed with what the Australian Government had done at the time that he spilled the beans. Naturally the East Timorese Government armed with this new information wants the treaty it was forced into nullified and a more equitable one negotiated.

Denis Andrew, Carmelite Prior Provincial

[Footnote: TAKE ACTION
Your JPIC Commission, with the blessing of the Provincial Council, has sent a letter to several of our Australian Parliamentarians expressing our concerns at the Australian Government actions and interference in this East Timor oil and gas dispute with Timor Leste. If you would like to take your own action by sending a letter contact Gabrielle for a draft letter. ]


The Carmelite family across the world seeks to preach Christ’s Good News and build up God’s Kingdom on earth by living in solidarity with the planet and its people. A vocation to Carmel is not for our personal piety but is God’s gift to the church and the World. A life geared towards contemplation awakens us to the world’s concerns, and to issues of ethics and morality. We in Carmel seek to be God’s servants, God’s friends, and for this we need to nurture an awareness of and commitment to the issues of justice, peace and the integrity of Creation (JPIC)…. [Climbing the Mountain, Ch 17 Carmel and the Kingdom]

I will hear what the Lord has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people and his friends
and those who turn to him in their hearts.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.

Psalm 85

Beginning 6th March and during Lent, the JPIC Commission will be forwarding each week with the regular Gospel Homily Notes a one page reflection on The Grace of the Earth; a short concise prayer and fact sheet prepared by the Columban Mission Institute. If you would like to receive these and are not already on the list, please email or

2nd March ..Clean Up Australia Day … is a simple way you can take action to clean up, fix up and conserve our Australian environment. In 2013 an estimated 550,300 volunteers removed 16,150 tonnes of rubbish at 7,341 sites right across the country - but we can do better! So lend a hand on Sunday 2 March
8th March …International Women’s Day 2014 –The Australian National Committee theme is Ending Poverty for Women and Girls through Economic Empowerment
70% of the global poor are women. Although women perform 2/3 of the world's work, they earn less than 10% of the world's wages. Women are far more likely than men to live in poverty because of discrimination and lack of access to education, employment and financial services.
UN Women is helping women all around the world access education, training and paid employment. Securing women's rights to land means a stable food source and the power to break out of the poverty cycle. Empowered women and girls who have equal access to education and work means more prosperous economies and a better future for all.
21st March … International Day for Elimination of Racial
22nd March …World Water Day
29th March … EARTH HOUR – switch 8.30 pm off your lights for ONE
HOUR to show your GLOBAL COMMITMENT to protect the planet.

 For asylum seekers and refugees: that they may in their search for security and well-being be afforded true dignity and respect in their places of arrival. Let us pray: R/ In you we trust, O God.
 For the people in Venezuela, the Ukraine, the Central African Republic and Thailand: may peace come to the people so that they may live in justice, fraternity and harmony. Let us pray: R/ In you we trust, O God.
 For people living in poverty and need: may they experience something of God’s concern for them through the generosity of our hearts. Let us pray: R/ In you we trust, O God.
 We pray for liberation for women who live with violence and exploitation in all countries of our world. Let us pray: R/ In you we trust, O God.
 For the people of Timor Leste as they work and struggle toward true independence, developing and educating their people so that they can be recognised as a dynamic and viable Asia-Pacific nation. Let us pray: R/ In you we trust, O God.
As Christians, we believe that we bear the image and likeness of God inside of us and that this is our deepest reality. We are made in God’s image. However we tend to picture this in a naïve, romantic, and pious way. We imagine that somewhere insides us there is a beautiful icon of God stamped into our souls. That may we be, but God, as scripture assures us, is more than an icon. God is fire – wild, infinite, ineffable, non-containable. Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Interesting Water Facts:
*Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours
*An Australian taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.