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Feast of St Anthony in the Bronx

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Celebrates the Feast of St Anthony in the Arthur Avenue & Belmont Neighborhood of the Bronx

feast of st anthony bronx our lady of mount carmel church bronx italian neighborhoods bronx italian restaurants belmont neighborhood bronx photo near arthur avenueSeptember 18, 2018 / Belmont Neighborhood Bronx / Things To in the Bronx / Bronx Restaurants / Bronx Buzz NYC.

 

I had the pleasure of attending the 112th annual Feast of St Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at 627 East 187th Street in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. The affair began on Wednesday and ran through the weekend.

I arrived on a Saturday at the triangle of streets joining Cresent Avenue, Cambreleng Avenue & 187th Street in the Little Italy section of the Belmont neighborhood in the Bronx. I shot some video capturing some of the rides, games, raffles, food and entertainment, which was present every night of the fair.

 


Feast of St. Anthony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Belmont Neighborhood

our lady of mount carmel church bronx photo of interior in belmont neighborhood of bronxThe Feast of St Anthony in the Bronx dates back 112 years in connection with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, which was one of the first Roman Catholic Churches in the Central Bronx. At the end of the 19th century [around 1900] many Italians immigrated here and many settled in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

 

I had an opportunity to briefly speak to the Reverend Father Jonathan Morris about the celebration and the parish. He told me that today there are still about 100 parishioners who speak Italian, and that the parish currently also has about 1,100 parishioners who are of Latin descent. He also gave me a brief history of the church, which I added to using information obtained on Our Lady of Mount Carmel website.

 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church & School - Italian Neighborhoods in the Bronx

According the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, around 1900 there was only one Roman Catholic Church that had an Italian speaking priest and that church was located up on 202nd Street and the Grand Concourse, which was quite a ways away from the large and growing population of Italian immigrants who lived in Belmont. So they put in a request to start a church in Belmont.

On June 13, 1906 the first mass was celebrated at 659 East 187th Street. A basement church was started at Belmont Street and 187th Street in 1907 and the large church was completed in 1917. In 1924 they built an elementary school, which was replaced in 1949 and expanded in 1956. The parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church reached a peak in the 1940's and 1950's serving about 40,000 people.

 

Feast of St. Anthony in the Bronx - the Giglio

our lady of mount carmel church bronx photo in belmont neighborhood bronxIn 2012 the feast built its own giglio, which is a tall structure containing figures of important figures like saints on the structure. Giglio means lily in Italian, and is also an island off the western coast of Italy about 150 miles north of Rome. But the tradition of the giglio reportedly comes from the Nola section of Italy, which is about ten miles east of Naples and about 80 miles south of Rome. There's also a Feast of St Anthony in Brooklyn every summer, which also hosts a large giglio. The dancing of the giglio, where men move it, took place on Saturday around 2 pm, which was before I had arrived.

St Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of finding things because a book that had been reportedly stolen from him reappeared when he prayed for its return. St Anthony was a Portuguese priest in the 1200's, and a contemporary of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan order, which St Anthony joined. St Anthony is associated with Lisbon, Portugal [where he was from] and also called St Anthony of Padua, a section of Italy not far from Venice on the west coast of Italy, where he spent a lot of his life.

The photo at right shows the outside of the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

 

Feast of St. Anthony in the Bronx - Near Arthur Avenue Restaurants in the Belmont Neighborhood

belmont neighborhood near arthur avenue bronx photo in belmont neighborhood near fordham bronxThe feast included lots of rides for kids, games for adults and kids, and lots of good old-fashioned Italian food. Eventually I made my way out of the fair which was on 187th Street and onto Arthur Avenue, where folks were enjoying Bronx Little Italy in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

In the photo at right you can get a sense of the fun event and the surrounding neighborhood stores in the background. See the video below for a view of some of the rides and games.

 

The Feast of St. Anthony ran Wednesday through Sunday June 13th - 17th. The times were Wed & Thurs from 6 - 10 pm / Fri until 11 pm, Sat from 2 pm - 11 pm / Sun from 2 pm - 10 pm. On Sunday evening beginning at 5 pm there was procession planned.

 

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