Return of the Shower of Roses brings happiness to devotees
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Traveling from great distances to attend the revival of the Shower of Roses celebration in New Columbus on Sunday were, front l-r, Anna Callahan of Wenonah, N.J.; Marie Myers of Roxborough, Pa.; Bernadette Faragasso of Haddanfield, N.J., and back, Jim Myers of Roxborough.
There was much happiness in the New Columbus section of Nesquehoning on Sunday, where the Shower of Roses celebration was held.
The event had been an annual one for over seven decades, beginning in 1932 and continuing until 2008. Then, a consolidation of the three Catholic churches in Nesquehoning occurred, creating division and controversy - and an end to the Shower of Roses.
Those who attended the event on Sunday were thrilled at its revival.
Francis P. Schoenauer, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nesquehoning, the church which was formed from the mergers, is hoping the celebration which honors Saint Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus will continue.
"After four years of hiatus of not doing anything, it was a good start," he said of Sunday's festivities.
He added, "We hope to do it again next year and return it to an annual basis."
Mary Anderson of Tamaqua said she was thrilled at the revival of the Shower.
"I love it," she stressed. "We used to come over here every year."
"This was part of our life," she continued. "I'm so glad they're starting it again."
Bernadette Faragasso of Haddenfield, N.J. and Anna Callahan of Wenonah, N.J. got up early in the morning to attend the local celebration. At the church, they met their good friends, Jim and Marie Myers of Roxborough, Pa. It was Jim who informed them that the Shower of Roses was being held again.
Faragasso said four years ago, they drove to Nesquehoning not realizing that the Shower of Roses was cancelled. When they got here, they saw people sitting on the curb and crying. "We sat on the curb and cried, too," she said.
"When Jim called us to tell us that they're having it again, we were so excited we got up at 6 o'clock to be here."
For Marie, it's a very important event. She said it was through Saint Therese that her family received a miracle.
She said her son had been diagnosed with leukemia. After praying, it was discovered there was no leukemia.
She said that when she had prayed, she promised that if the son was cured she would look for a Saint Therese celebration and attend. She found the Shower of Roses in Nesquehoning and began attending each year until it was halted after 2008.
Maurice Infante of Lake Hauto, a member of St. Francis of Assisi, said he's happy for the rejuvenation of the celebration.
"I give credit to the people for pursuing to have the churches opened," he said.
He added, "I think it's a positive thing for the people to have (the Shower of Roses) back. Congratulations to the people who put it together. I think they did a great job."
Infante had been a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
"I never took sides," he said regarding the controversy surrounding the closing of his church. "But anybody who fights for what they think is right, I give them credit."
"Those people just pursued Our Lady of Mount Carmel and they got through to the people who were in charge; and they got the Shower of Roses back."
Infante added, "It's a symbol for the area."
"It's not a victory," Infante said. "What they did is an accomplishment."
Among the happy faces was Ryli McGorry of Nesquehoning, a membr of the queen's court.
The Shower of Roses was held on her eighth birthday.
In adition, it was her great-great grandfather, Placidio Guido LaRizzio, who built the Historic Grotto, the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in 1945 at the request of Msgr. Angello Angelini. The Grotto was built to honor the service men and women of World War II.
It was Msgr. Angelini who founded the Shower of Roses in 1932. The Grotto is big part of the event.