Saturday, July 16, 2011

Commemoration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

July 16 is the principal feast day of the Order of Carmel, sometimes called "the feast of the Scapular". A groups of hermits living on Mt. Carmel, through the efforts of a Crusader, Berthold, were organized into an Order around the year 1150. Gradually, the monks migrated to Europe because of oppression by the Saracens. The Mother of God is said to have appeared to Pope Honorius III during the night preceding July 16, 1225, and urged him to approve the foundation of the Order. Since the Carmelites were still experiencing continual harassment, St. Simon Stock, 6th General of the Order, besought the Mother of God for some special sign of her protection. It is said that on July 16, 1251, Mary designated the scapular as a special mark of her maternal love. Many Orders use a scapular as part of their religious habit, but it's a distinctive and special feature of the Carmelites. Non-members, associated with the Order, often wear a smaller version of the scapular as a sign of their solidarity with the Carmelite spirit of devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Loving God, who honored the Order of Carmel
with the special title of the most blessed Virgin Mary,
your mother, graciously grant, that we who today
honor her commemoration with solemn devotion, 
defended by her care, may be found worthy
to attain everlasting happiness. Amen.

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