Mt. Carmel hosts Mass for first responders

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The sporadic rain on Sept. 11 couldn’t diminish the feeling everyone had as they gathered in front of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish and Shrine to watch the awe-inspiring silent arrival of fire and police vehicles.

First responders from 10 neighboring communities participated in a procession from Wolf Road down Lake Street in Berkeley to 25th Avenue in Melrose Park.  The anticipation mounted as the flashing lights quietly moved north on 25th to Division Street and then south to 23rd Avenue.

As the procession approached the church, Fr. Leandro Fossà, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, greeted each vehicle with a blessing and gave the drivers medals of Our Lady.

Some drivers returned to their towns of origin and several remained. The police and fire personnel who stayed were joined by representatives from the Air Force and Army, veterans, nurses and doctors, and other first responders. As the bagpipes played, they entered the church for a Mass of appreciation led by Fr. Leandro.

During the offertory, Melrose Park Police Chief Phil Schwartz rang the fire bell, then “Taps” was played as Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico presented a wreath to Our Lady of Sorrows in memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

At the conclusion of the service, “America the Beautiful” played as participants exited the church to enjoy panini, pizza and sweets under tents on the patio.

It was a truly memorable evening for all those who serve and protect and for all of us who took the time to show our appreciation.

— Lucia Esposito


About Lucia Esposito

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