HAMMONTON — The 138th weeklong Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Festival ends tonight with one last evening of food and fun from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the festival grounds on Third Street, including fireworks at 10 p.m.
But first, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the faithful will pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary with a procession through town — to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Members of the local Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society will hold a statue of Mary, among large numbers of people walking slowly from St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 220 Third St. to Fairview Avenue, to Railroad Avenue, to Bellevue Avenue back to the church on Third. Masses will be held all day at St. Joseph’s.
Also walking will be other religious societies and faithful carrying the statues of about 20 saints, said Mount Carmel Society President Lou J. Pantalone, 57, of Hammonton.
“Every statue in the church comes out,” Pantalone said. “All the statues and (musical) bands are in front of the Blessed Mother.”
Downtown businesses and shops will provide outdoor seating on Bellevue Avenue for spectators.
The Carmelite order believes the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, and presented to him a brown scapular (cloth for a monk's robes) that became the order's robes.
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