Thursday, July 16th, 2020

“For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

One of the joys of summer for me has always been celebrating our Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Here in Tenafly we don’t share the urban traditions or the cultural intensity of other parishes famed for their summer blowout parties with processions in the streets accompanied by live music, but I always loved that in the fifteen years I’ve been here what was an overlooked summer day turned into an evening of small and delicious fun under the tent thanks to parish leaders like Rose Ann Miglietta, Fr. Dan, Debbie Viar, Irene Fraga, Vincent Antonucci and many, many more. The beer and burgers helped too.

In our own small way we are still celebrating. Silva, everyone’s favorite staff member and the priory’s housekeeper went office to office this morning with small chocolates and we’ll be celebrating together this evening with Mass.  Like many things this year we’ll skip the fun for much needed safety and celebrate in our own private way. Whichever way you quietly celebrate our parish I want to remind you that you, your family and your loved ones are our parish. Today make sure to find a quiet moment to thank God and Our Lady for everything that belongs to you.

Here’s the weird thing about parish life at OLMC.  While I love our Carmelite friars and their service, while I love our Apostolic traditions and our Archdiocese, and our Church staff, let’s be honest, you are Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish.

Every baptism, every nervous groom waiting in our sacristy, every Academy play, every single time a parishioner fights rain or heat or nerves to deliver food, all those volunteers at the Office of Concern, the jetlagged doctors in Peru, the Confirmation classes, the women of Siena House, our deacons and catechists, every small kindness and quiet prayer, all of it, is because of you. All these and many more moments belong to you. Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish belongs to you.  So let’s not deny it— you are Our Lady of Mount Carmel!  Never has this been clearer to me in those early terrible spring days when I would walk into our empty Church and realize this beloved home of mine is just a pretty building without each of you.

So there’s no big tent, no salty hot dogs and no hot grill, but there is our altar, there is the mantle of Our Lady. Bring everything, bring anything to her, I know I will.  And, of all days to find it in my inbox, I received this note this morning from someone about our service and many others at the Hackensack Walk In Dinner:

I am so blown away that your organization is going to the lengths that you are to continue to feed the shelter residents and those in need, especially during this pandemic. I resided in the shelter a few years ago and have not been back since, but I wanted to thank you for what you are doing for everybody. Thank you for the meals you provided me every single day when I had nothing and for your hard work and dedication that you are continuing to do. Thank God for you.

That’s well said, “Thank God for YOU.”  Happy birthday, OLMC!

I’ll be seeing you,


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