The proud history of the Hammonton festival

Jul 23, 2018 282

I stood at the door of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hammonton as the men of the Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel processed into Saint Joseph Church for Mass. As each man passed me I was greeted with “Buona Festa,” Happy Feast. I could not help but think that for 143 years on this very day, July 16th the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, that greeting in Italian has been heard in Hammonton: “Buona Festa.” Happy Feast.

The Hammonton Festival of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the longest running outdoor Italian festival in the country. It spans many generations. Some of the men in the Society are third and fourth generation descendants of the original members of the Society. I am delighted and honored each year to offer the Mass of the Society on the feast day. It gives me an opportunity to thank the Society for their hard labors on behalf of the community and our church, both of which benefit from the celebration.

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