As our “Italian Enclaves” social media (Instagram & Facebook :@ItalianEnclaves) followers may already know, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian national parish in Worcester, Massachusets has been demolished. The local diocese felt that the church’s many years of neglect made it too unsafe to maintain and the enormous cost of repair was an insurmountable achievement for the dwindling parishioner base.
The church was demolished on an already solemn day, September 11th. We found the choosing of this date to be interesting because the news of this sad day for OLMC would most likely not receive the same social media attention or general publicity should it have been done on any other day. Nevertheless, the point of this post is to remain informative without casting aspersions in yet another already sensitive and controversial Catholic church closing.
A national parish is a church that is created to accommodate the native language of the parishioner base. As opposed to the common way many Catholic churches were created by their local dioceses whereby the parishioner base is dictated by geographical boundaries, the national parish has no boundaries for parishioners as long as they speak the language of the parishioner base for which the church was built. In the case of OLMC in Worcester, this was an Italian national parish built by and for the Italian community surrounding the church.
The church’s closing is yet another in a string of closings in what seems like a never-ending consolidation of Catholic churches throughout the country.
Many Italian national parishes have came and went over the last one hundred and forty years. It is the intention of the Italian Enclaves Historical Society to preserve their memory online in perpetuity with photographs and video of not only the physical buildings but by showcasing the parishioners and accompanying feasts and celebrations that made these sanctuaries so precious and sacred for almost a century and a half in the United States.
By: Raymond Guarini