On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, the Catholic University of America inaugurated an Endowed Carmelite Chair and Center for Carmelite Studies, a gift from the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, in the presence of various members of the faculty from the School of Theology and Religious Studies, as well as the deans from the various schools on campus. The inauguration began with a lecture by Fernando Millán, O. Carm., on Bl. Titus Brandsma as a teacher. Titus Brandsma was a major proponent of Carmelite mysticism or spirituality and worked hard to make resources available for study. This was followed by a Mass at the chapel in Caldwell Hall celebrating the Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus. The Very Rev. William J. Harry, O. Carm., Prior Provincial for the Province, was the main celebrant and homilist. Concelebrants were the Very Rev. Mark Morozovich, the dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies; Fr. Steven Payne, OCD, the newly professor for the Carmelite Chair and Director of the Center; Fr. Fernando Millán, O. Carm., ex-Prior General of the Carmelite Order; and Fr. Quinn Conners, O. Carm., Formation Director at Whitefriars Hall in Washington, DC.
The Carmelite Chair and Center for Carmelite Studies was established as a means to conduct research and offer courses on Carmelite prayer and spirituality. According to Fr. Mark Morozowich, the Chair and Center ensures “a permanent bond between the Carmelites and Catholic University.” He adds that “the mystical emphasis of the Carmelite tradition, focusing on prayer and contemplation, add depth to our theological endeavor. This contemplative tradition invites people to deepen their encounter with God. The new center is going to be a dynamic place to invite all students to this mystical theological tradition and to engage them at the highest academic level.”
Moreover, Fr. William J. Harry, Prior Provincial, believes “the new center will give us a presence on a large university campus, allowing our spirituality to be researched and to become better known. Students who do their doctoral studies through the center will teach at other universities and continue to spread our spirituality around the world.” Fr. Steven Payne, OCD, the newly installed Carmelite Chair, hopes that “this initiative will become known as an outstanding and truly global ‘center’ for relevant contemporary study and research in the Carmelite tradition, which is such a vital resource for meeting the challenges of our time.”
The Center for Carmelite Studies is the 30th research center at CUA and the first for the School of Theology and Religious Studies. It is also the first such center at CUA being sponsored by a religious order. “We anticipate that this permanent connection to the Carmelite Order is the beginning of a new chapter in our University’s mission to preserve the theological charisms of consecrated religious in America,” said CUA President John Garvey.
The homily given at the inaugural Mass and the Chair Installation speech can be found HERE.
Sources: CUA website : catholic.edu