On Saturday, November 18, 2017 the Carmelites celebrated All Carmelite Souls at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (St Alberts) in Middletown, NY. The All Carmelite Souls mass is an annual gathering of the Carmelites from the St Elias Province and friends and family of deceased Carmelites to remember them and pray for those who served the Province in the past.
Fr Michael Kissane, O.Carm., Prior Provincial was the main celebrant. In his homily he reminded all that the deceased are prayerfully remembered this day not only because it is a holy and wholesome thing to do but because it is an expression of appreciation for their life with us. Fr Michael recalled that he attended his first funeral at St Alberts in 1972. More than half of those buried in the cemetery were buried since then.
The liturgy included the reading off of the names of the deceased who have served in the province. As the names were read, many memories, images and feelings were recalled of those who have gone before us. He reminded all that this is good because as Christians we believe that the dead continue to live in our minds, hearts and souls.
Normally, after the mass all process to the cemetery to bless the graves of the deceased. However, because of the inclement weather, all gathered in the covered walkway and prayed the Litany of Saints and final prayers.
All then gathered in Pilgrim Hall for a luncheon of roasted pork, mashed potatoes, string beans and many tasty appetizers. A special thanks to the novices for serving the mass, Fr Thomas Zalewski for serving as the Master of Ceremonies, the music ministry organized by Maxine Martin and to Wilma Ward for taking care of the program and organizational details of the gathering.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. May all of us also live as people destined for glory, as people destined for eternity.