By DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is bringing back its annual feast and carnival this month.
The annual event hosted by the Pine Street church — which merged with Immaculate Conception church on North Fullerton Avenue in 2016 to form one parish, St. Teresa of Calcutta — will be held from Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22.
The event was put on hiatus for two years due to the uncertainty over whether the church would stay open. The feast, which had been a Montclair tradition since around 1918, began as a fundraiser by Italian American parishioners to build the church.
Last year OLMC only held a Mass and procession, followed by some food provided by the church as previously reported in Montclair Local.
“They were going to close in September of 2016,” said event co-chair Raffaele Marzullo. “And we got a new pastor, Father Benny Prado; and Father Sam Monaco. So they said we could have a procession [last year] and we did.”
According to Marzullo, who is also a church leader, the Rev. Amilcar Benito Prado, known as Father Benny, kept the promise he made in January, and donated $200 towards the upcoming feast. The Feast of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel is organized by Marzullo and co-chair Frank Cardell, along with the church’s Community Outreach Program.
This year’s feast will have musical entertainment provided by cover band The Infernos and oldies group The Cameos on Saturday and Sunday nights. The Feast Mass will be held at 11:30 Sunday morning. The procession will take place at 3:30 p.m. the same day.
“We are making it a community event, not just a feast. It will be an international food festival with Italian food, Thai food and Spanish food, a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round. Things we never had before,” Marzullo said.
There will also be a beer and wine garden for those old enough to enjoy and a super 50/50 raffle which will be drawn on the last night.
The church is dedicating the feast and the church hall to its former pastor, Monsignor Emmanuel M. Capozzelli.
“He was our pastor for many years and he passed away around Christmas time [last year],” said Marzullo. “He was very active in the community.”
Capozzelli was the chaplain of the township’s police and fire departments and he was one of the founding members of the First Montclair House, a senior home. He also founded the church’s Community Outreach Program.
“The Community Outreach Program works hand-in-hand with Toni’s Kitchen, the Montclair PBA, Salvation Army, Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless and the First Montclair House,” Marzullo said.
“It’s not only a feast, but to show how we as a community come together,” he said.
Marzullo added that Mayor Robert Jackson and the town council have been very supportive in helping get things done for the feast and carnival. Pine Street will be closed for the four days from the railroad tracks to Glenridge Avenue.
According to Marzullo, funds raised from the feast will go directly to OLMC for much-needed repairs. The church needs to raise $24,000 to fix the roof. Marzullo has also invited the township’s police and fire departments to set up tables and is planning to ask the ambulance unit to as well. The church’s Knights of Columbus will also show their presence stationed at the feast to talk with people.
“With open arms we pray together and together we will help the community. Our outreach is to go out and embrace our community,” Marzullo said. “Come to Mount Carmel and see what we are all about; celebrate the feast.”
Italian feast, carnival and international food festival
Presented by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, of the St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, 94 Pine St.
Location: Pine Street, from the railroad tracks to Glenridge Avenue. Parking available at Lackawanna Plaza on Glenridge.
Thursday and Friday July 19 and 20; 6 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, July 21; 4 to 11 p.m.
Sunday, July 22; 3 to 10 p.m.
All weekend: Carnival rides and raffles
Saturday, 7 p.m.: Live entertainment by The Infernos
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.: Feast mass
Sunday, 3:30 p.m.: Procession with statue of St. Mary
Sunday, 7 p.m.: Live entertainment by The Cameos