By Stephen A Pereira OCD
Mangalore: The Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel popularly known as the ' Feast of the Scapular ' was celebrated on July 15, 2012 at Infant Jesus Shrine, Mangalore along with the large faithful.
There were three masses in the morning and the festal mass was at 5.30 pm presided over by Rev. Fr. Vincent Monteiro, Director of Mangalore Diocesan Pastoral Institute, Bajjody. Upholding the importance of the scapular devotion to the feast and in keeping with tradition, scapulars were distributed to the faithful after all the masses.
In preparation for the feast, there were novena masses which began on July 6, with a reflection each day on different themes found in the Sermon on the Mount, culminating on the feast day with the theme “Mary – a call and model to holiness”. Rev. Fr. Naveen Pinto preached the homily.
History of the Feast
Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel goes right back to the origins of the Carmelite Order itself, when a group of men from the West, living as hermits after the examples of Christ on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in Palestine in the twelfth century, established themselves as “The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel” and built a chapel there in her honour. Thus, the Carmelites look to Mary as their patroness and model in living their allegiance to Jesus Christ.
The political situation at the turn of the thirteenth century forced to leave Carmel for Europe. However, it was a time when religious orders were trying to establish their identity and mendicant spirituality was the order of the day. This made the Carmelite Order, with their true tradition, unwelcome. Within the Order itself, the friars were divided whether to continue as hermits or adopt the lifestyle of the mendicants.
As all these difficulties threatened the very existence of the Order, tradition speaks of a vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the then Prior General St. Simon Stock, presenting the scapular as a sign of her constant love and protection. Soon, this devotion spread among the laity who wore it as an expression of their devotion to Mary.
The feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is celebrated on July 16, and devotion to her is expressed through the spirituality of the scapular which symbolizes her virtues of prayer, humility and total surrender to the will of God.