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Harlem Welcomes Back The Miraculous Madonna of 115th Street

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/14/15

This news was announced not long ago on Facebook

The Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, located 448 East 116th Street Manhattan has announced plans for the return of the historic image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The statue, housed in the church, has been undergoing an eight month physical and artistic restoration. It will be presented to the public on Saturday October 17, 2015 at 1PM during a special Mass and celebration. Our Lady, under the title of Mount Carmel, has been the center of Southern Italian devotion since around 1880, when the Italian immigrant community sought the comfort of their benevolent Mother. In 1881, a traditional Italian Festa was organized by the Mount Carmel Society. By 1883, the statue inspired by the one venerated in Polla, Italy was ordered. By 1884 the number of Italians warranted a church geared to their needs. Perhaps the first miracle was the building of the church during 1884, with Italian men and women working throughout the night to complete a home for their beloved Madonna. The Festa grew in popularity, attracting 1,000’s of Italians. Word of the Madonna ability to answer prayers and favors spread rapidly. Finally an investigation was held by the Vatican. Pope Leo XIII, decreed that the Madonna be adorned with golden crowns, and that the church be designated a Sanctuary to Our Lady, and a national Shrine for all the Italians in America. Pius X published the decrees under his name following the death of Leo. To show his particular support, he sent two emeralds from the Vatican for the crowns. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one of the five Papally crowned (incoronated) Madonnas outside of Europe. Till this day, 1,000’s attend the annual Feast on July 16th.

Earlier this month, the shrine attracted the attention of NPR:

After 131 years, Madonna of 115th Street needed a makeover — a makeover worthy of a Catholic icon parishioners say is responsible for miracles. And last week, the refurbished life-sized statue and her new gown were unveiled last week in East Harlem. From high above the altar, the Blessed Mother at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church has watched over her flock for more than a century. This Virgin Mary statue came over from Polla, Italy, in 1884. And according to her followers, she has healed the sick and given hope to the hopeless. Pam Pisacano loves her. “Because she’s so real, when you look at her, she’s real. Her hair, her face, she looks at you as you’re talking. And when you’re talking, you talk to her from your heart … And she really does grant things.” She’s credited with so many miracles that Pope Pius X gave her a rare Catholic honor: He coronated her in 1904. At that time East Harlem was solidly Italian, but the Irish controlled the jobs — and the parishes. The Irish bishops didn’t like the festive way Italians worshipped, parading their icon in streets. The Irish forced the Italians to hold mass in the basement of Mount Carmel. The Blessed Mother was not allowed upstairs until 1923.

Check out more hereand here.

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