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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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