A Shrine to St. Therese of Lisieux will be established at the closed Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Nesquehoning, according to a press release issued this week by the Diocese of Allentown.
In the release, the diocese said the shrine is an outgrowth of the devotion to St. Therese in Nesquehoning centered at the church. St. Therese is popularly known as the "Little Flower." The plan to use the reopened church for a shrine to St. Therese received a favorable review by the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.
Officials said the shrine will be open each day for private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Mass will be celebrated there monthly (not on a Sunday or Holy Day) and a Mass will be celebrated each year on Oct. 1, the feast of St. Therese, in addition to the Mass on the patronal feast day of the church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, on Oct. 16.
While designated as a diocesan shrine, the shrine is a work of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Nesquehoning. The pastor of St. Francis Church, Father Francis Schoenauer, is the rector of the shrine.
Monsignor Agnello Angelini (1900-1987), the longtime pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, fostered the community's devotion to St. Therese. He started the annual Shower of Roses celebration at the parish in 1932. It featured Mass, a procession and a shower of roses. Roses were dropped from a helicopter onto the faithful below. The immensely popular celebration lasted until 2007 and was started again this year after a four-year absence. Going forward, it will be held each year on the first Sunday in October.