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.
The Superior General of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm (CSAI), Mother M. Mark Louis Anne, O. Carm., and of the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters, (CCC) Sister Petronilla Joseph, O. Carm., along with other religious and a large group of Lay Carmelites from different cities also took part, as well as friends and family of the province.
In his homily, Cardinal Dolan thanked the Carmelites for their pastoral service in this local church, reminding us how the Carmelites have been working in different parishes and ministries with great generosity all this time. He likewise expressed his gratitude to the Province of Ireland for the missionary drive that gave birth to this province, which in turn has shown great missionary vitality in recent years, with its work in Vietnam and Trinidad. A festive luncheon followed.
In honor of the Anniversary, a special exhibit has been created by our Assistant Archivist, Vincent Begley, and is on display in the Heritage Room at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Should you be in the Middletown area, we invite you to visit and view this tribute to the arrival of the first Carmelites in New York.