Shower of Roses returns
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Alyssa Bartelt, 15, a member of St. Francis of Assissi Church in Nesquehoning, is the 2012 Rose Queen for the Shower of Roses held Sunday in New Columbus. Bartelt rides in convertible during a procession at the conclusion of the event.
It was more than just the celebration of Saint Therese in the New Columbus section of Nesquehoning yesterday that brought joy to the Catholic faithful.
It was that the festivities marked the rebirth of a decades-old tradition, the Shower of Roses.
Hundreds of people attended the first such event in four years since the consolidation occurred of three Catholic churches in Nesquehoning at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
The highlight was the coronation of Alyssa Bartelt, 15, a sophomore at Panther Valley High School, as the 2012 Rose Queen.
She was crowned during a Mass conducted by the Rev. Francis P. Schoenauer, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church.
The Mass, held inside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, was attended by an overflow crowd.
Bartelt was accompanied by Kailee Smith, 2012 Rose Princess, and Megan Zabroski, 2007 Rose Queen.
A 12-member court followed her. In the court were: Ryli McGory, Kamryne Smith, Kourtney Pilla, Emily Macalush, Hailey Hoffman and Julia Planutis.
Court members also included Sarah Zabroski, Gabriella Greek, Autumn Steibler, Beatrice Petschauer, Courtney Kovatch and Caitlyn Kovatch.
After the Mass, a small parade was held through the streets of New Columbus; specifically around the Little Flower development.
Although there was no formal marching band in the lineup, Panther Valley High School band director Mark Christ assembled a group of nine students some from Panther Valley and some from Marian Catholic High Schools to create a makeshift band.
Also marching were dozen of individuals a much smaller gathering than the Shower of Roses festivities in the past, but still a good showing.
The Knights of Columbus also took part in the church service and the march.
Just as the past Shower of Roses events, attendees could purchase roses and commemorative candles.
At the conclusion of the event, bunches of roses were dropped from a helicopter in front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, where children and adults alike rushed to where they fell in hopes of getting a souvenir.
Bartelt is the daughter of Fred and Carla Bartelt of Nesquehoning.
She is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Nesquehoning, where she is an altar server, helps with Catholic Youth Instruction, and assists in the kitchen.
At Panther Valley High School, she is a silk member of the marching band, plays clarinet for the concert band, and competes with the track team.
The Shower of Roses was started in 1932 by the late Msgr. Agnello J. Angelini as a tribute to St. Therese, affectionately referred to as "The Little Flower of Jesus."
St. Therese, one of nine children born to Louis and Zelie Martin on Jan. 2, 1873 in Alencon, France, had a conversion on Christmas Eve in 1886 that transformed her life.
At 15, she entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux to give her whole life to God and took the religious name Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face.
"Through God's good grace and the help of many people, we are able to honor St. Therese," said Rev. Schoenauer during the Mass.
He added that the celebration is about what the roses represent.
"God has given us so many things to rejoice in; the sunshine, the flower that blooms," he said.
He added, "The flower represents a blessing. A blessing that St. Therese sent."
The priest urged the gathering, "Learn from her how to live."
Although the disciples had a difficult time in the time of Jesus, "in our day and age, living as a disciple is also very difficult."
Of St. Therese, Rev. Schoenauer remarked, "She knew and talked the science of love. She learned to love all that God made."
He compared her to St. Francis, explaining, "St. Therese had that same simplicity of life. She chose to live in a Carmelite monastery, a very simple life."
After the procession was held, the Rose Queen changed into an outfit and dressed as a Carmelite nun. She kneeled in front of a statue of St. Therese in the church.
Rev. Schoenauer was gracious about the resurrection of the Shower of Roses celebration and gave special recognition to the organizers.
Afterward, he commented, "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."
Weather forecasters were calling for rain showers yesterday, but no precipitation fell until after about 15 minutes after the roses were dropped from the helicopter.