Members of the Mount Carmel Society process with the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Credits: Julia Torsiello
The American and Italian flags and Our Lady of Mount Carmel lead the procession. Credits: Julia Torsiello
The Metropolitan Festival Band plays the Italian National Anthem. Credits: Julia Torsiello
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Processional Moves Through Berkeley Heights
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 • 6:00am
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A tradition started 103 years ago was upheld on Monday as the Mount Carmel Society processed through the streets of Berkeley Heights to honor their saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Around 8 AM, members of the Mount Carmel Society gathered on Berkeley Avenue across from the Church of the Little Flower. Those marching donned sashes and Brown Scapulars in Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s honor.
Bill Manganelli, a member of the Mount Carmel Society, told The Alternative Press about the history of the procession. “It started years ago [in Berkeley Heights] by an Italian woman who made a vow to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel when her daughter was sick,” Manganelli explained.
Today, over a century later, the tradition still holds strong.
“You’re born into it,” said Vito Mondelli, another member of the Mount Carmel Society. “We even follow the same procession route that we did many years ago,” Mondelli added.
And in its 103rd year, the procession on the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel did just that. Beginning around 8:30 a.m., members of the Mount Carmel Society and their families marched through Berkeley Heights to honor their beloved saint.
The Metropolitan Festival Band began the procession by playing the national anthems of the United States and Italy. A statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel followed the band with members of the Mount Carmel Society right behind her.
During the procession, fireworks were shot off at Mount Carmel field. Members of the Mount Carmel Society stopped for refreshments at various houses along the route as well.
At 11 a.m., a mass in Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s honor was held at the Church of the Little Flower. Directly following, a picnic with live music from the Metropolitan Festival Band was held at Peppertown Park for all members of the community to attend.
On why the Mount Carmel Society keeps organizing this procession each year, Jimmy Delia, a member, said “it’s important to keep the young members continuing the tradition.”
And while tonight’s fireworks display at the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel will conclude the tradition this year, members of the Mount Carmel Society already look forward to what’s to come in 2013.
The annual fireworks show will take place tonight at 11 PM on Mount Carmel Field. Springfield Avenue will be closed from Plainfield Avenue into Long Hill Township starting at 6 PM and no motor vehicles will be permitted to park on the field. Admission to the fireworks display is $10 and proceeds from the feast will fund the renovation of the Church of the Little Flower.