15 priests, sisters and a brother from Africa, Asia, and South America, gathered in Kimmage on Wednesday 13th April for the first day of a new Pastoral Orientation and Acculturation course for incoming pastoral ministry workers. Participants work in a variety of pastoral roles – such as parish priests, running retreats and in one case three Carmelites from Kerala, in India, have taken on the running of a busy friary in Kildare. There is an interesting cross section of rural and urban too with students living in Roscommon, Galway, Cork, Tipperary, Sligo and Dublin. The Carmelites had this to say:
Greetings from Kildare Carmelites!
It is our great pleasure and joy to share with you our experience in Ireland. Driving gives us strange memories: roads are here in good conditions in comparison with Indian roads like, NH (national highways), RR (ring roads), PR (pocket roads), BW (broad ways), OW (one way), BR (brick roads), etc. and for the first time in life we drove in speed beyond 90 kph, many signs are clear and they lead to right directions and they are given here in such a way, it is taken for granted, that one who drives knows all the roads and destinations not anyone who likes and knows driving will reach the destination.
Using the satellite map is not very common in India and many of the drivers in difficult situations and in doubt depend on traffic police, other drivers, pedestrians, and local people to clarify the doubts on the way and reach the destination safely. It was a stupid thought of using the same method in Dublin as we set out for Kimmage and it was a great loss of time, energy and fuel. It was a revelation for us to know that the members of the same family even may not know all their daily traveling roads and locality without GPS and navigator.
Kimmage DSC consoled us to stay cool in delays and warned us to pay extra attention on certain days to get through traffic even on motorways. We felt a bit proud when Audrey appreciated us on the third day for our arrival in Kimmage in advance.
The first block of induction course was interesting where we got a lot of information. There are many methods and approaches to this course by the different facilitators which were eye-opening and relevant to our situation in Kildare. This course also gives us much information for our personal discernment and judgment on culture, approach, etc. The members of the Centre show a good deal of encouragement and involvement for a better participatory group for a good outcome. It is also profitable for us to be part of this group as multinational members for different reading and approach.
Indian Carmelites of White Abbey KILDARE.
Audry Deane, the course co-ordinator, has lined up a range of trainers to cover a wide variety of topics from inter-cultural issues (communication, climate and cuisine!), basic compliance with legislation (for charities, fundraising, employment, safeguarding of children) and of course the realities and challenges of pastoral work in Ireland.
This highly diverse group has gelled well together with an infectious level of fun and energy. They are busy planning an outing in Dublin too!