Thursday, July 14, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

This past weekend we attended the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the National Italian Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago. 

I am not Catholic. The pomp & circumstance of the religion intrigues me. The devotion, tradition, and rituals are fascinating. The number of saints blows my mind.

This weekend I learned about Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  From the church's website, here's the cliff notes version of how this ornately and highly regarded Lady of Mount Carmel came to be.

Mrs. Emanuella De Stefano came to the United States circa 1870 and bought property – farmland – at 25th and North Avenue. In 1894, Mrs. DeStefano’s husband became ill. Her fervent prayers to Our Lady of Mount Carmel spared his life, and in thanksgiving, Emanuella collected funds from her friends and commissioned Neapolitan artist Raffelle della Campa to create a replica of the famous statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that was long-venerated in a church in Laurenzana, Provincia Potenza.

The statue arrived at the De Stefano farm, and it was here that the first Feast Mass was held in Melrose Park with the new statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, 1894.

After visiting the statue in the church we feasted on Italian Ice, Fried Dough, and Funnel Cake. We "won" a very expensive dolphin balloon and watched B as she had her 3rd ride ever on a carousel. I also scored some prayer cards with the Statue's image on them AND a blessed scapular. For you non-catholics this is a necklace that if worn when you die may just get you in the VIP part of the pearly gates' line! How awesome is that?

Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Feast Day July 16th

O beautiful flower of Carmel,
most fruitful vine, splendor of
Heaven, holy and singular, who
brought forth the Son of God
still remaining a pure virgin, assist
us in our necessities.  O star of
the sea, help and protect us. 
Show us that thou art our Mother.

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