ORANGE, NJ — Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Orange kicked off its jubilant 125th anniversary celebration July 18 with a grand event honoring the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, involving floats, food and a visit from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark.
The festivities kicked off with a procession during which hundreds of parishioners — some riding floats and carrying banners — marched through the streets of Orange with a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, stopping at several businesses that have become favorites of the congregation over the years. Tobin then presided over a solemn Mass before blessing the church’s iconic golden steeple, which is currently being renovated for the anniversary. The event concluded with an outdoor festival, featuring balloons, music, and food from the Italian, Hispanic and Haitian cultures, which comprise a majority of the congregation.
“We wanted to celebrate the parish’s decades of service to the community and the parishioners’ decades of dedication to the church,” said Anthony Ippolito, the anniversary committee’s chairperson. “We also wanted to bridge the gap between the older congregation members and the new because the parish is experiencing a rebirth. We’re getting many new members because there’s been a lot of development in the city over the past decade. So we wanted to bring everyone together as one big family and show the community how vibrant this parish is.”
The feast celebration was the first of several events honoring Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish’s 125th jubilee. The parish will next participate in Orange’s annual Italian American Street Festival on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, followed by the launch of its Thanksgiving Food Drive on Oct. 3. In November, the congregation plans on coming together for a special event honoring the history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish. Finally, in early December, the anniversary celebration will culminate in a Christmas concert and tree-lighting ceremony featuring the parish choir.
“By celebrating this anniversary, I hope people will notice we’re here and consider visiting us,” said Father Bernard-Mary, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish. “It’s a beautiful church and a great community. There’s a spirit of family and contemplative prayer that’s really strong here. I think people see there’s something special about the parish.”
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish was established in 1896 to serve the huge population of Italian immigrants that dominated the city of Orange just before the turn of the 20th century. Today, the parish welcomes an average of 500 congregants each Sunday — including a large Hispanic community — and is home to brothers of the France-based Community of Saint John. It prides itself on maintaining a unified family spirit amid its growing ethnic diversity by offering numerous prayer groups and volunteer ministries across multiple languages. It also has a vibrant youth program that includes more than 200 children in religious education annually and more than 50 teens in its weekend youth group.
To learn more about Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and its 125th jubilee celebration, visit https://olmcorange.com/.
Photos Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Newark