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 The Real Little Italy
187th Street & Arthur Avenue

 Belmont, The Bronx


Our Lady of Mt. Carmel


and the Bronx Parish

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is the patron saint of the Bronx’s Belmont neighborhood.  The original Mt. Carmel is in Israel named because it was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, but the parish dedications to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel refer to her appearance in the 12th century in England to St. Simon Stock who was a member of the Carmelite Order. 

Simon Stock's lasting fame came from an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, at a time when the Carmelite Order was being oppressed. In it the Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand.  Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has been revered by Italians for many centuries and was introduced to America by immigrants,  The official Saint’s feast day of all Mt. Carmel parishes is on July 16. 

In 1900 a committee was formed headed by Mr. Pietro Cinelli to ask Father Daniel F. X. Burke, the Italian-speaking Pastor of St. Philip Neri, to open a mission in Belmont. Father Burke aware of the need, petitioned Archbishop John J. Farley, who graciously granted the request. The mission was opened and the first Mass was celebrated by Father Joseph Caffuzzi on June 13, 1906 in a store front at 659 E. 187 St. From the store front, a basement Church was built on 187 St. and Belmont Ave. in 1907. The upper Church was built in 1917, dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  The pioneer efforts of Father Burke and Father Caffuzzi resulted in the largest Italian National Parish in the Archdiocese of New York. At the height of its history in the 40's and 50's, more than 40,000 Italians made Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on E. 187 St. their parish.

In 1924, Father Caffuzzi with the aid of the Pallotine Sisters opened the Parish School for 205 children. A New School was built in 1949 by Msgr. Joseph M. Pernicone and an extension was added in 1956 to increase the capacity to 1800.

As the parish prepares to celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2006, we reflect on the activities of the past and look to the challenges of the future. The parish continues to serve the Italian community of the Bronx and welcomes the new immigrants from Latin America and serves them with the same devotion and love with which the Italians were received and served by the kind Fr. Burke and saintly Fr. Caffuzzi, the co-founders of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Bronx.


Anthony of Padua
1195 - 1231
Feast Day: June 13

Anthony was born in 1195 near Lisbon, and given the name Ferdinand. He was sent to the cathedral school in Lisbon, but at the age of 15 joined the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. He moved to Coimbra, near Lisbon, and over the next eight years he devoted himself to study of theology and scripture.
 After a group of Franciscan martyrs whom Ferdinand had briefly met where returned to Coimbra as martyrs, Ferdinand was determined to become a missionary and a martyr. He left the Augustinians to join the Franciscan Order. He received permission to go to Morocco as a missionary, but was forced by illness to return home. He was stationed in a small hermitage in Italy, where he prayed, studied, and performed menial duties.

One day, the preacher at an ordination ceremony failed to appear. No one else was prepared to speak, and the duty was given to Ferdinand, now known as Anthony. Those gathered where astonished by Anthony's knowledge of scripture and theology and his skill as a speaker. He was soon appointed as a traveling preacher. In years to come he travelled throughout Italy and France. A major aspect of his preaching was to combat the heresies of the day. He also criticized weakness and corruption in the clergy and greed and tyranny in society. Anthony also became the first friar to teach theology to the other friars.

During Lent in 1231, Anthony was preaching in Padua. After Easter, Anthony set out with two companions for a friend's estate near the city. On the way, they made Anthony a cell in a walnut tree by binding the branches together. Later that spring he died, on the way back to Padua.

Anthony should be the patron of those who find their lives completely uprooted and sent in a new and unexpected direction. Like all saints, he is a perfect example of turning one's life completely over to Christ. God did with Anthony as he pleased - and what he pleased was a life of spiritual power and brilliance that still attracts admiration today. He whom popular devotion has nominated as finder of lost objects found himself by losing himself totally to the providence of God. -- Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

627 East 187th Street Bronx, N.Y. 10458 Tel: (718) 295-3770 Fax: (718) 367-2240

For more Parish information:  www.ourladyofmtcarmel.org


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Updated:  07/24/2004 12:26 PM
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