It was 80 years ago in 1932 that the late Monsignor A. J. Angelini, then pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Nesquehoning, held a celebration that attracted thousands of people annually to the community for many years.
The Shower of Roses, a tribute to Saint Therese, attracted busloads of people to the New Columbus section each October until consolidation of Catholic Churches occurred in 2008. The last such event occurred in 2007.
Sunday, the ornate event will be revived with the festivities still centered around Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and its famed Grotto.
The schedule of activities is as follows:
Ÿ 1 p.m. Mass with the crowning of a Rose Queen.
Ÿ 2 p.m. Mass.
Ÿ 3 p.m. Procession around Little Flower Development with recitation of the Rosary at 3 p.m.
Ÿ 4 p.m. Benediction.
Ÿ 5 p.m. Shower of Roses during which roses will be dropped on the community from a helicopter.
Roses, candles, and water from the Grotto will be available. There will be an assortment of ethnic foods on the parish grounds.
St. Therese is affectionately called "The Little Flower of Jesus." She was one of nine children born to Louis and Zelie Martin on Jan. 2, 1873, in Alencon, France. However, only five of these children lived to reach adulthood.
At the age of 14, on Christmas Eve in 1886, Therese had a conversion that transformed her life. From then on, her powerful energy and sensitive spirit were turned toward love, instead of keeping herself happy.
At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God. She took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. Living a hidden, simple life of prayer, she was gifted with great intimacy with God.
Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. After a long struggle with tuberculosis, she died on Sept. 30, 1897, at the age of 24. Her last words were the story of her life: "My God, I love You!"
She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on May 17, 1925.
The Grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in the New Columbus section of Nesquehoning has been deemed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historical Places.
New Columbus coal miner Placidio Guido LaRizzio built the grotto, at the behest of the late Rev. Agnello J. Angelini, to honor those who served the United States in World War II.
It took LaRizzio four years, but the project was finished in 1945. LaRizzio died four years later. The grotto for decades thereafter was the site of celebrations, including the annual Shower of Roses.