The hills of New Columbus will be alive with the sounds of prayer as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church opens its doors for a Eucharistic celebration next week.
According to the Rev. Francis P. Schoenauer, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nesquehoning, Mass for the parish will be held at the former church along Angelini Avenue in New Columbus at 7 p.m. on Monday evening in honor of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patronal saint of the church.
He said that according to the Diocesan guidelines for Catholic churches that are closed, it is possible to hold a Mass in the church on the patronal feast day of the church.
Schoenauer will be the celebrant for the Mass.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church has sat in New Columbus quietly, looking as if it had just been closed for the day, since it was suppressed by the Diocese of Allentown in 2008. At that time, the parish was folded into Sacred Heart and Immaculate Conception churches to become St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nesquehoning.
Since then, parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel had fought to reopen the church, but, according to an article published in the TIMES NEWS last January, the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy rejected the appeal, but parishioners felt that the decree stated that the church can remain open for religious use.
Since then, a Mass was held in the Grotto outside the church on the feast day of St. Therese Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus; Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Grotto has been deemed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historical Places; and the diocese has announced possible plans for the development of a shrine to St. Therese in the church.