Finally. It was back after a four year void.

The Shower of Roses, a celebration founded 80 years ago in a tiny parish in the small village of New Columbus, Nesquehoning, that evolved into a gigantic annual celebration, was revived on Sunday. And what a joyous celebration it was.

The Shower of Roses pays tribute to Saint Therese, affectionately known as the Little Flower of Jesus.

Her purity has been acclaimed since 1932 through the annual celebration, started and then continued by the late Msgr. Agnello Angelini, who was pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in New Columbus.

The celebration was stopped after 2008 when the Diocese of Allentown merged the three Catholic churches in Nesquehoning into one and called it the St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

The merger created controversy. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was one of the congregations closed by the merger, leading to hard feelings.

A committee was formed that decided to regenerate the Shower of Roses this year. The celebration was held at the place it began: Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

At one time, the Shower of Roses attracted bus loads of people to the community from as far away as New Jersey, New York, and other states. No bus loads were present for yesterday's celebration, but still there were hundreds of people who attended the celebration.

The accompanying Mass in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was attended by a standing room only crowd.

The Shower of Roses was a start for not only bringing back the decades-long tradition of the celebration, but for healing the community from some of the pain that occurred with the closing of the churches three years ago - a closing that separated long devoted parishioners from their worship houses.

The merger of the churches is the past. Nothing is going to change. It's time to look forward and the Shower of Roses revival was a welcome tonic.

We're sure Msgr. Angelini would agree. Could it have been he who somehow managed in his ever-determined efforts to hold off yesterday's predicted rain until the event was over?

Certainly what transpired in New Columbus yesterday would have made him very happy.

Rev. Francis Schoenauer, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, remarked at the conclusion of the Shower of Roses:

"After four years of hiatus of not doing anything, this was a good start. We hope to do it again next year and return it to an annual basis."

We're looking forward to it.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]