Musings on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - by Father Richard Cipolla | 7/17/2019 | Staff
TraightTraight (Posted by) Level 3
Last year I made the double pilgrimage for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: first to the parish dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Newark, New Jersey, once a strong Italian parish with roots that extended to the Old Country and the devotion to Nostra Signora di Monte Carmelo, and then over the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan to the Midnight Mass for her feast at her parish on East 115th Street in Manhattan. This year I was not able to make this pilgrimage, and I regretted it. For making this pilgrimage resonated with where I grew up, in an Italian ghetto in Providence, Rhode Island, a section called (ironically) Federal Hill, a Wasp name for a place where everyone spoke some dialect from southern Italy, where there were four Catholic churches in a row in less than a mile, three of which no longer exist. I remember walking on Atwells Avenue on a hot summer night when it was impossible to sleep in a small bedroom on the third floor of our tenement house. I remember passing each church, each church with its doors wide open, and peering in and seeing the flickering of the hundreds of votive lights. I was at that time an Italian-American boy of ten years old, with the distinction of being Protestant in a local world that was so very Catholic that surrounded me. How my family became Protestant is still a mystery, whether in Italy after the Risorgimento or when my grandfathers came to this country. We were deeply Italian, despite our virulent anti-Catholic Protestantism. Our ministers were all ex-Catholic priests, who would give half hour sermons, half of which would be rants against the Catholic Church. We never ate meat on Friday. The fish truck would come to...
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