July 7, 2024

Dear brothers and sisters,

Next Saturday, July 13, we will celebrate in a solemn way the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our parish’s Patronal Feast. This occasion holds significant meaning for our community and is one of the most cherished annual events we have.

Throughout history, Mary has been honored under various titles. “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” originates from the remarkable experience of the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel, located in present-day northwestern Israel. Elijah challenged the worshipers of false gods to a contest, calling upon their gods to light a fire for the holocaust offering. In a demonstration of unwavering faith, Elijah drenched his own wood and offering with water before invoking the Lord, who promptly answered with fire. Since then, the mountain has been revered as sacred, attracting hermits who dedicated their lives to austerity and prayer.

Centuries later, when the Carmelite Order was established, they adopted Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a representation of their spirituality, which encompasses both Marian devotion and deep contemplation. Since the 15th century, devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has focused on the Brown Scapular. According to tradition, Mary bestowed the Scapular upon Saint Simon Stock as a sign of her divine love and protection. Wearing the Scapular carries a host of promises, with the foremost being eternal salvation through the intercession of our heavenly Mother.

Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has always been a defining characteristic of our parish. When our parish and school were founded, our Founding Fathers chose to entrust the community to Our Lady under this title. For the past 184 years, the people of our parish have sought her protection and guidance, finding solace in this particular title. Today, this devotion continues to hold deep significance for all of us.

I am thrilled to announce that on this highly anticipated Feast Day, we will be graced with the presence of His Eminence, Christophe Cardinal Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. As the Personal Representative of Pope Francis to our nation, His Eminence will undoubtedly fill our community with extraordinary grace.

I wholeheartedly urge every one of you to mark your calendars for the grand celebrations next Saturday, which include a Street Procession starting from Mary’s Garden at 4PM; a Solemn Mass at 5PM and Outdoor Festivities afterwards, featuring an array of captivating music, dances, and selections of international food that will bring delight to everyone. Please plan to come n your native dress to show the cultural richness of our parish.

Together, let us pay homage to Our Lady in ways that resonate with her heart. May the celebration of our parish’s Patronal Feast be an occasion of grace and conversion for each of us.

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham