Sunday, June 28, 2009

Papal Blessing in Melrose Park

The Tribune does a reasonable job (please ignore the blasphemy) covering the Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Melrose Park, Illinois, and a Papal Blessing bestowed upon Crowns made for Our Lady.

High Masses, Coronations, Processions and the continuation of a 800 year devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

From the Chicago Tribune


When parishioners of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Shrine in Melrose Park decided to create gold crowns for statues of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, they donated to the cause by reaching deep into their hearts and memories.

Joe Rosa gave his grandfather's wedding band. Corinne Principe wept as she slipped her own wedding ring off her finger. Antonio Godinez removed the big Jesus medallion he wore close to his heart and plopped it into a collection basket.

In all, 15 pounds of gold was given, including a dozen gold watches, several rings, bangle bracelets, earrings, chains and medals. Carrying out a religious tradition from Southern Italy, the donated gold was then melted down and molded into two new 14-karat gold crowns appraised at $75,000.

The call for jewelry went out last July during the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and brought donations not only from the parish but from Italian Catholics across the nation. Struck by the devotion, the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rev. Claudio Holzer, e-mailed the Vatican to request a papal blessing for the crowns.

Few expected a response. But within a week, a Vatican aide approved and asked that the crowns be brought to Rome. Last month, Holzer and 35 parishioners traveled to Italy for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI where he blessed the crowns."This is very emotional for all of us," said Principe, who has been married for 41 years. "I didn't think twice about giving my wedding ring. I wanted a piece of me to be with her always, so she could pray for me and my family."

On Sunday, the Melrose Park church will hold a historic mass as it crowns the 5-foot statue of "La Madonna del Carmine" and the baby Jesus that she holds in her left palm. After a procession that takes the Madonna statue through the streets, three Chicago archdiocesan bishops will celebrate a pontifical high mass, which will be broadcast live on EWTN, the global Catholic network.

Only three other images of the Virgin Mary have been crowned with Pontifical Authority: Our of Lady of Mt. Carmel in New York City's East Harlem; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in New Orleans; and the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

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