Our Lady of Mount Carmel granted honorific title of Minor Basilica

By LINDA M. LINONIS | linonis@vindy.com


2Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown made the announcement to parishioners at the noon Mass on Sunday when the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was celebrated. The actual Feast Day is July 16, but the observance may be moved to a Sunday. A Feast Day parish dinner took place. Three years ago, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Anthony of Padua merged as part of the diocese’s reconfiguration plan.

Bishop Murry received the letter from the Vatican on June 17; the honor was granted May 13. In reads, in part, “Such honorific title is intended to strengthen the relation of this important church with the Chair of Peter and to make it an ideal center of special liturgical and pastoral ministry in the Diocese.”

A release from the diocese reads: “While the Cathedral Church of St. Columba holds first place and the greatest dignity in the diocese, the Holy Father may elect to honor another church with the title of Minor Basilica, signifying their particular link with the Roman Church and the Supreme Pontiff.”

In the Diocese of Youngstown, St. John the Baptist in Canton also is a Minor Basilica. There are two other Minor Basilicas in the state.

“We are extremely privileged,” said Monsignor Cariglio, who has been pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel for 28 years. “I believe this brings honor to the diocese and recognition for the city of Youngstown,” he said.

About a year ago, the monsignor said he decided “to make a petition through the bishop” after learning that St. John the Baptist was named a Minor Basilica. That involved some 200 pages of documentation and photos about the church.

Monsignor Cariglio said various elements were included in the documentation. Architectural details of the church including the apse, a semicircular vaulted recess in the sanctuary, which reflects the ancient tradition of a basilica; columns and an altar of Christ were important. The church features the original altar, crucifix and tabernacle from when it was founded in 1908. The altar of repose, where the Blessed Sacrament is placed, remains in its original location. The altar of sacrifice, which allows the celebrant to face the congregation, is crafted of marble.

The church, he continued, also must be “highly decorated” in an appropriate manner. Our Lady of Mount Carmel fulfills that requirement in its detailed mural, stained-glass windows and statues including St. Anthony of Padua. The church building was completed in 1913.

The priest of 44 years also noted that the church must hold some historic significance. Our Lady of Mount Carmel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Additionally, the church has 25 relics of saints, which are all sealed and marked. “There is documentation with each one,” Monsignor Cariglio said. Members have a special devotion to St. Anthony of Padua, which is now even stronger because of the merger.

But just as important, the priest noted, “is the church being active and its pastoral ministry of word, sacrament and community.”

Since 1993, the church has conducted perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Members in the parish of 1,081 households volunteer to pray in different shifts around the clock, seven days a week. When another service, such as a funeral is taking place, the adoration is moved to the Little Flower Chapel.

“A fidelity to the liturgy is vital,” Monsignor Cariglio said. “We take great effort in the spiritual and liturgical life of the church.” The church also has various organizations that contribute to the spiritual well-being of members and address practical matters of church ministry.

On parish grounds, the church provides a building to the St. Vincent de Paul Society for its food pantry and storage area.

The parish features multiple statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with an outdoor one overlooking part of the city.

A statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a focal point on the altar of repose.

Monsignor Cariglio said the name, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, originated with the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock in the 13th century. The Blessed Mother gave him a brown scapular for members of the Carmelite order of priests to wear to show their devotion to her. On a religious habit, the scapular was a large rectangular piece of cloth worn over a tunic. Small versions of the scapular were created to share the devotion with laypeople.

A celebration, including a Mass of elevation, will be planned at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Monsignor Cariglio said there are certain requirements that must be in place. The church will commission an umbraculum, an umbrella-like cloth form in gold and red and a processional bell. The papal keys and basilica court of arms also must be displayed; an archway is being built near the church entrance for this reason. There also will be a plaque and banner. Once all this is ready, the church will have the special Mass and celebration, Monsignor Cariglio said.

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