HUNLOCK CREEK – As he celebrated a special Mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish on July 22, 2023, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, offered prayers of both gratitude and hope.
“Gratitude for all that has been and hope for all that will be through the grace and the goodness of God,” Bishop Bambera said.

During his homily, the bishop stressed how members of the parish have been instrumental in treasuring life, feeding hungry families and bringing people to the Lord since the parish’s founding last century.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, celebrates Mass for the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hunlock Creek on July 22, 2023. (Photo/Ed Koons)

“You have been the hands and the voice and the heart of Christ,” he said. “You’ve done the work of God and you continue to do it in simple, yet profound ways, and I say to you on behalf of the church and all who have received from your goodness and your generous spirits, thank you!”

Following Mass, parishioners gathered for food and fellowship in the parish’s picnic pavilion.

“Today was just a beautiful day. We knew the celebration was coming. We’ve spent many years in this parish. Our daughter was baptized here and married here and we’re so blessed that we now have a granddaughter. She is seven weeks old,” parishioner Kathleen Scavone said. “Today, her and her mom and dad actually brought up the gifts as being the youngest new parishioner – along with the oldest parish member – so that was really a nice blessing for our family.”

Paul Scavone said members of his family have been a part of the parish for at least 75 years.

“My mom and dad came to this parish as a young married couple. My brothers and sisters were baptized here … now it continues with our granddaughter being here. It’s nice to be a part of the tradition here.”

Kathleen Finarelli says it is a joy to attend Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and hopes many others will join them.

“It is a wonderful parish. The parishioners are so friendly. We wish to be able to do this again and keep it going for another 100 years,” she said.

As the parish family works to spread the Good News of Jesus, Katheryn Bobb was thankful that Bishop Bambera took time from his busy schedule to celebrate their important milestone.

“To have the Bishop come to our little church out in Hunlock Creek is absolutely amazing,” Bobb explained.

Rev. Brian Van Fossen, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, said Bishop Bambera’s visit and homily shows parishioners they are part of a larger Catholic community.

“We have this beautiful community and we welcome so many people for our festival and other opportunities to celebrate God’s love in the midst of God’s creation. As we do so with Bishop Bambera here, it just unites us to the larger diocesan community that we love to be a part of,” Father Van Fossen said.

The parish pastor said the centennial celebration would not be confined to just one day; it will be celebrated over the course of the entire year.

“We have two themes going on. Our first theme is a spiritual theme which is echoing Mary’s Magnificat for the last 100 years and the other one is ‘100 years and still going,’” Father Van Fossen added. “We are looking forward to echoing Mary’s Magnificat – her ‘yes,’ her fiat to God – but also to share that fiat with others!”