Shower of Roses attracts thousands
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Alyssa Bartelt, left, the 2012 Rose Queen for the Shower of Roses in Nesquehoning, stands next to the 2013 queen, Michaela Susko, 15, during the annual event held Sunday.
A day-long celebration to Saint Therese, affectionately called "The Little Flower of Jesus," attracted several thousand people to the village of New Columbus in Nesquehoning, Sunday.
A highlight was the coronation of Michaela Susko, 15, a Marian Catholic High School freshman, as the Rose Queen.
She was crowned by last year's Rose Queen, Alyssa Bartelt, 16.
Susko, the daughter of Dave and Jean Susko, of Nesquehoning, rode in a convertible during the Rose Parade. Behind the convertible marched several hundred devotees to St. Therese.
Also in the parade were members of the Knights of Columbus, some members of the Marian Catholic High School Band, and Nesquehoning police.
St. Therese has been a highly influential model of sanctity for Roman Catholics and for others because of the simplicity and practicality of her approach to the spiritual life. Pope Pius X called her "the greatest saint of modern times."
Therese felt an early call to religious life. Overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, she became a nun and joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy, France. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent her last 18 months in Carmel, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.
The Shower of Roses was started as a tribute to St. Therese in 1932 by the late Monsignor A. J. Angellini of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in New Columbus. It continued annually until 2007, then was discontinued when a consolidation of Catholic churches occurred in 2008.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was closed during the consolidation, and became part of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
A sign at the front corner of the building yesterday identified it as the "Diocesan Shrine of St. Therese, St. Francis of Assisi Parish."
Devotees restarted the Shower of Roses festival last year, which includes a special Mass is held, sale of roses and refreshments, and a parade through the streets of New Columbus.
One other attraction is the rose drop, during which hundreds of roses are tossed from a helicopter to the waiting faithful below. However, because of fog which enshrouded the area, this part of the celebration had to be canceled.
John F. Landis of East Brunswick, N.J., attended yesterday's Shower of Roses, noting it was his first time at the Nesquehoning event.
"It's remarkable," said Landis, who came on a bus trip. "I went to Mass which was beautiful. The food was great. I think the town is remarkable."
The Mass was conducted by the Rev. Francis P. Schoenauer of St. Francis of Assissi.