MCCS Celebrates Our Lady of Mt Carmel Feast
Mount Carmel Central School-Mary Hill, Mangaluru celebrated the Feast of ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ – the Patroness of the Carmelite Order and the School.
Mangaluru: Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel also known as the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary’s special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on July 16.
Mount Carmel Central School-Mary Hill here celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Patroness of the School on July 16, 2016. The Feast commemorates the appearance of Mother Mary on Mount Carmel in Palestine, where she appeared to St. Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelite Order in the year 1251. This day is also celebrated as Foundation day of the Apostolic Carmel Congregation, which was founded by Venerable Mother Veronica, Foundress of the Apostolic Carmel in 1868 at Bayonne, France. Rooted in the contemplative spirit of Carmel, and nourished by its life of prayer and missionary zeal, the Apostolic Carmel expresses the vitality of the Church through its fruitfulness in the active Apostolate of education and other works of mercy.
The Morning Mass at the Chapel was attended by all catholic students and teachers of the senior section. The Mass liturgy was conducted by the students of Class VIII and Rev. Fr. Andrew D’Souza, Parish Priest of Bondel Church was the celebrant, followed by a cultural programme put up by Class X and XII at the Mother Veronica Auditorium. The Chief Guest for the occasion was Sr. Rose Agnes, Assistant Provincial Superior of AC Congregation. The programme started by seeking Almighty’s blessings through a prayer service, followed by the significance of the day.
A Konkani folk dance performed by the girls of Class X entertained all. As they say that Music is the way to reach out to people, the nightingales of Class XII sang a sweet and enthralling song which was applauded by all. Prophet Elijah’s encounter with God was enacted by the students of Class X. Then, a thrilling dance was performed by the girls of Class XII which left the crowd foot tapping and enchanted. The cultural extravaganza ended, when the students of Class X sang the song ‘Mary did you know’, which was befitting for the day’s theme.
In her address to the gathering of students, Chief Guest, Sr. Rose Agnes A.C. said that “Carmel refers to garden and each and every student needs to be a beautiful flower in that garden”. Lisha Ann Pereira of Class X welcomed the gathering and Shravya of Class XII proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was compered by Pia Menezes of Class XII and Roshna Narayan of Class X.
Prior to the cultural programme of the seniors, the junior section had the cultural programme presented by Class III C and D at 9am at Mother Veronica Auditorium. After invoking God’s blessings rendered through a Prayer Dance, the students highlighted the importance of Carmel Feast through a meaningful skit and dance, which was followed by a song honouring Mother Mary. The Chief Guest for the junior section cultural program was Sr. Rose Marie A.C. who addressed the students as flowers in the Mount Carmel Garden. She brought out the significant role of Mother Mary at the wedding of Cana. “Mother Mary sensed the need of the hour and brought joy and happiness at the wedding feast, so also we should be the carriers of Joy and Happiness in the lives of others” she added.
The cultural programme was followed by the Holy Mass for Catholic children and staff for the junior section by Rev. Fr. Sterwin S.C.J. In his homily he called the little girls and boys as beautiful and handsome. They could be beautiful and handsome by providing a helping hand to others. Fr Sterwin advised the children saying, ” You need to obey your parents, be faithful and sincere. Mother Mary is an perfect example, you need to follow in her footsteps. You need to show your love and concern to your neighbours and also to the community. Follow the three principles- Be Obedient, Be sincere and Be full of Service to others. You also need to pray for other children who don’t have all the facilities like you do. If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit — this prayer will never fail you”.
The celebration concluded on a happy note by wishing everyone a happy feast and by distributing sweets to the children. The formal function for the children was followed by a get-together filled with fun-n-frolic for the staff and teachers, who shared the family spirit with prayer, games, music and dance, together with laughter and fun that filled the air. Sr Carissima AC- Administrator, and Sr Maria Jyothi AC- Joint Secretary of MCCS also graced the occasion and shared their thoughts with the faculty and staff. and A delicious lunch cemented this bond and strengthened the Mount Carmel family spirit. I end this column with the ‘Prayer to the Blessed Mother of Mount Carmel-
“O most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Sweet Mother I place this cause in your hands. Amen.”
About Our Lady of Mount Carmel :
The feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel falls on July 16. The connection of Mary, the mother of Christ, and the renowned mountain of biblical times is a long story and filled with insights into the motherhood of Mary as she prays and cares for her Son’s faithful in the world. Mt.Carmel’s importance extends far back into history. The mountain is located in a richly forested area at the southern end of a long fertile valley known from ancient times for its wine and oil production. At the top of the mount, there is a view of the Mediterranean’s shore, making it a strategic site for defense of the rich land below it. There are indications that stone-age man once lived in caves on the side of Mt. Carmel. The mount is known as the place of a contest between Elijah and 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (both false gods.)
The area is known for its cover of flower blossoms, flowering shrubs, and fragrant herbs. The beauty of the bride in Solomon’s song is compared to the beauty of this mountain. On the mountain’s slopes there are plentiful pastures Caves on the mountains often provided shelter for monks through the ages, in which Elijah and Elisha took refuge. An abiding sense of the reference to Mt. Carmel suggests God’s care and copious giving of life and care. Its Hebrew name “karmel” means “garden land” and “a fruitful place.”
The feast day we now celebrate on July 16 recalls the foundation of the Carmelite religious order in the 12th century. The founder, Berthold, may have been a pilgrim to the area (perhaps to cave of Elijah), or a crusader. Tradition says that he came from southern France but when venturing in the Holy Land came to encounter fierce soldiers. After a vision of Christ, he went to Mt. Carmel and built a small chapel there, soon joined by hermits who all lived there in community in imitation of Elijah. After his death, it seems that St. Brocard became leader of the hermits eventually leading to the establishment of the Order of Carmelites in the 12th century.
In Carmelite tradition, Mt. Carmel had been a place devoted to monastic-style prayer since the time of Elijah. They built a monastery and it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as she was “Star of the Sea” – a medieval title describing the mother of Christ as the cloud of life that dwells over the sea promising rain and fertility. (Remember that the Mediterranean is seen from Mt. Carmel and is a garden of life.) Throughout the monastery’s long history, there were periods of sadness, especially when it fell under Islamic control, becoming a mosque known as El-Maharrakah (the place of burning, referring to Elijah’s challenge to the pagan prophets.) In the 18th century, Napoleon established the location as a hospital, but this was destroyed in 1821. Funds were collected by the Carmelites, an order worldwide by this time, and they restored the monastery.
Continuing the story, we come to the scapular of Mt. Carmel. According to Carmelite tradition, this scapular – a small piece of rough wool cloth – was given in a vision by Virgin Mary to the monastic Simon Stock, living in England in the 13th century. On July 16, 1251, he prayed to Mary that his order could be saved from its oppression. She appeared with the scapular in hand, and told him: “Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.”
Promises associated with the scapular are: Mary’s protection of the Carmelite order and all those who wear the scapular (including laymen ofits Third Order); special help at one’s hour of death for all who wear the habit (or scapular) in Mary’s name; and the so-called “Sabbatine Privilege” which Pope John XXII declared in 1322 meant early release from Purgatory for those who died in Mary’s care.
The history of the Carmelite order is itself long and full of blessings. Monasteries were built throughout Europe and other parts of the world throughout the ages. Both nuns and monks often received special visions from Mary and Jesus. Until this day, it seems that Mary shines like a star over the sea leading the faithful to her Son and to the fruit-bearing life God provides now and eternally.