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A Spiritual Oasis Resides in Waterbury with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church

By S. Mathur

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church was founded originally in 1924 to serve Italian immigrants living in Waterbury's Town Plot, Brooklyn, and other West End neighborhoods. Its role today, says The Reverend Frederick M. Aniello, Pastor, "is to be a spiritual oasis in a Godless world and a parish family that cares in material ways for its neighbors." Originally located in a basement on the corner of Highland Avenue and America Street, the current building, in the Lombard Romanesque style, was begun in 1940.

The parish consists of around 900 families at present. The Church belongs to the Roman Catholic denomination, and Reverend Aniello says that "We are a very welcoming and caring parish family. We provide for sacramental opportunities from cradle to the grave. We are an ethnic Italian parish that gladly accepts all ethnicities. We strive to provide opportunities for every parishioner to share their time, talents and treasures with us."

Parishioners have many possibilities to become actively involved, says Reverend Aniello. They can join in various groups and societies, such as the Holy Name Society for the men of the parish; the St. Ann Society and Altar Society, open to the women; and the Forever Young Seniors, which is open to men and women 55 and over. The groups have regular meetings with spiritual, social and educational activities. The Social Action Ministry meets several times a year and sponsors an American Red Cross Blood Drive, a Flu Clinic and a fall Annual Social honoring special members.

There are Adult and Youth Choirs, and an annual Italian Feast in July. Volunteers are welcome to serve as catechists for the Religious Education program and the Mount Carmel Bingo held on every Thursday at the School. Other church activities include the Knights of Columbus Council and the Knitting Ministry, which produces hand-knitted and hand-crocheted blankets, shawls, lap robes, hats, gloves and scarves for various purposes. The knitted items are given to children baptized in the parish and donated to veterans and charities serving hospitals, among others. The Knitting Ministry relies on monetary donations to keep them supplied with yarn for their projects.

The parish has a daycare facility for children between the ages of 6 months to 3 years old, as well as a Catholic school for Pre-K3 through Grade 8. The Compassionate Carmelites Food Pantry provides help to those in need and also relies on donations to continue its work. The Annual Italian Feast is held over four days in July and has "plenty of delicious, homemade Italian foods, a Kid's Zone, musical entertainment, a Procession and a cash prize raffle," says Reverend Aniello.

For anyone wanting to make Our Lady of Mount Carmel their home parish, the first step is to contact the Parish Office and fill out a Census Form. The form is also available on the website.

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