A HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL PARISH
In 2005, we
celebrated our 100th anniversary as a parish. This event
was joyfully and festively celebrated on October 16, 2005. The
Third Order Regular Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception
Province are pleased that they were part of the parish life for 96
of these years.
The colony of
Italian immigrants in Altoona had first been provided for by Fr.
Raphael Penta in 1905, when Bishop Eugene Garvey sent him here to
care for the spiritual needs of the people. The title of the new
parish was Our Lady of Lourdes. Because of ill health, Fr. Penta
spent only about six months in Altoona. He was succeeded by Fr.
William Cavallo. It was at Fr. Cavallo’s initiative that the name
of the parish was changed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a title of
Mary more familiar to the popular piety of the people of this
worshipping community. Fr. Cavallo died suddenly on March 27,
1909. The third pastor, Fr. Nicolas Capaldo resigned his duties
after five month. On December 31, 1909, the Franciscan Friars began
their ministry at Mount Carmel when Fr. Jerome Zazzara, T.O.R., was
appointed pastor. It was Fr. Jerome that petitioned Bishop John
McCort that our parish open a Chapel in Pleasant Valley to
accommodate parishioners who lived too far from Mount Carmel Church
to attend Mass regularly. On October 4, 1925, the first
was celebrated at Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel. This
worship site is still utilized today. For the next ninety six
years, the friars of the Immaculate Conception Province,
headquartered in Hollidaysburg, have served the members of this
following is a list of the pastors of the parish and the year they
began their pastorate:
1909 Fr. Jerome
1939 Fr. Angelo
1944 Fr. John
Augustine Cestario, T.O.R.
Aloysius Hankinson, T.O.R.
1974 Fr. Alan
Bonaventure Midili, T.O.R.
Terrence Smith, T.O.R.
1994 Fr. Gerard
1996 Fr. Giles
2000 Fr. Frank
We could probably
say that most of the friars of the Immaculate Conception Province
have served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel as pastors, parochial
vicars, or as helpers for preaching, teaching, confession, or
The work of the
Franciscan Friars in this parish has been to serve its various
pastoral needs while communicating to all the message of Saint
Francis of Assisi. The message of this great saint is one of peace,
loving respect, and common brotherhood. It is characterized by a
love for the poor, care of the earth, and always points the way to