HE ANNOUNCEMENT that a new Carmel is to be built in Fairfield, Pennsylvania was shared here on Views from the Choir Loft two weeks ago. This is, indeed, very welcome news for us who live (at least part-time) in the Keystone State. Contemplative life is a blessing to the Church, and proximity to a monastery of contemplatives is a treasure for the clergy and faithful alike.
Several other Carmels already exist in Pennsylvania. The most historic of these is the Carmelite Monastery of St. Joseph and St. Anne in Philadelphia, founded in 1902. In addition to its rich legacy of prayer for the local Church of Philadelphia, this Carmel is also noteworthy for its pivotal role in cultivating devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux in the United States (see more on this history). Just last year, the Philadelphia Carmel was rejuvenated with sisters translated from Elysburg, PA and Valparaiso, NE.
One of the great traditions of the Philadelphia Carmel is an annual, public novena leading up to the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This year will be the 115th iteration of this annual devotion.
The novena begins Sunday, July 8th and concludes on the feast, itself, July 16th. The rosary and litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be prayed at 6:30 PM daily, during which time confessions will also be available. Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form will be offered each evening at 7 PM. Mass for the feast day will be a Solemn High Mass. The novena is open to the public, and clergy and seminarians are welcome to attend in choir.
If you are not able to participate in this particular novena, another fitting way to prepare for the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel would be to pray the beautiful sequence, Flos Carmeli from July 8th through July 16th. The text, in Latin and English, is available here.