The Irish population in America went from 6,000 in 1816 to over two million by 1854 with a large percentage of them living in and around New York City. By the last decade of the 19th century, the number of new Irish immigrants and second-generation Irish-Americans was close to four million. Serving the needs of this largely Catholic population was both a blessing and a problem to Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan. It was a blessing because the seeds of Catholicism had blossomed and there was every reason to believe it would continue to flower. It was a problem because there were not enough priests, especially native-born, to serve the Catholic population.
While Archbishop Corrigan’s predecessor, John Cardinal McCloskey, had done a yeoman’s job in building new parishes and increasing the number of priests in the Archdiocese of New York, more needed to be done to recruit priests from overseas.
A year-long celebration has begun at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the arrival of the Irish Carmelites in New York; an event which led to the establishment of the present North American Province of St. Elias (SEL). The celebration began on the 29th of March with Solemn Vespers, at which the Prior General, Most Rev.Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm. presided. On the 30th of March, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated with the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Cardinal Dolan presiding, accompanied by the Prior General, the Councillor General for the Americas, Very Rev. Raul Maravi, O.Carm., the Provincial of the Province of Saint Elias, Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm., the Provincial of the Irish Province, Very Rev. Martin Kilmurray, O.Carm., the Provincial of the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, Very Rev. William Harry, O.Carm., the former provincials of this province still living, and many other religious and priests.
March 29, 2014 marks a milestone in the rich history of the Carmelite Friars of the Province of Saint Elias. This date will begin a year-long celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Carmelites in New York.
Four intrepid Irish Carmelite friars from the Irish Province arrived in New York on March 29, 1889 to minister to both the largely Irish population in the newly formed parish of Our Lady of the Scapular of Mount Carmel as well as New York’s poor at the nearby Bellevue Hospital. Fathers Edward Patrick Southwell, Michael Daly, John Elias Bartley and Paul McDonnell established the mission that would become the North American Province of St. Elias.
On January 21st the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm celebrated the memory of their foundress, Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, who was born and died on that day. This year, they celebrated her 123rd birthday and 30th anniversary of death. Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa founded the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm in 1929 to offer a different type of care and ministry to the elderly. Her vision and mission bore fruit and her spiritual daughters, along with their lay staff, continue this same mission of compassionate care to the Aged and Infirm today.
Fr. Philip Marani, O. Carm., who recently moved to St. Albert’s Priory in Middletown, NY has always been an avid train collector and model railroad enthusiast. He would build custom buildings for his train layouts, including his own Mt. Carmel Depot. For 17 years, Fr. Phil worked 6 days a week as a Chaplain at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. On his day off, he would go down to his woodshop to relax and came up with the idea of creating a nativity village to go with his large collection of Fontanini Nativity figurines. He transformed small wooden blocks into amazing stone walls and buildings, created detailed shops which include handmade tools, carpets, and even created a bakery complete with a glowing oven and bread.
Carmelite Friars - North American Province of Saint Elias - P.O. Box 3079, Middletown, New York 10940-0890, Tel:(845) 344-2223, Fax: (845) 344-2210