Contemplatives in Cyberspace

Carmelites Reaching Out to People by Internet

ROME, JUNE 13, 2007 ( Even contemplatives are using the Internet to spread the message of Christ.

Carmelite General Prior Father Joseph Chalmers says that contemplative religious are ready for God to “use us in a hidden way in order to further his plan of salvation for humanity.”

And in a changing world, that means “using new technology to reach out to people,” Father Chalmers said. “Every province has its own Web site. We also have an international bulletin that is available on the Internet.

“There are regular news items to the Carmelite family via e-mail messages. We have a virtual museum of Carmelite art in preparation.”

With plans for galleries ranging from antique books, to music to Carmelite architecture, the virtual museum provides a look into the contemplatives’ spirituality and history. The gallery of stained glass windows already features the monastery in Boxmeer, Netherlands.

The Carmelites are also using the Internet to prepare for their general chapter this fall. In September, the contemplatives will meet to consider “In Obsequio Jesu Christi: Praying and Prophetic Community in a Changing World.” The site includes preparatory documents and a prayer in 11 languages.

Visitors to the site are also encouraged to pray with the Carmelites — the Liturgy of the Hours is posted in a variety of languages.

The 55-year-old prior explained: “There are the normal ways of preaching, teaching, writing etc., as well as use of new technology. However, in Carmel there is an emphasis on contemplation. We gradually open our lives more and more to God.”

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