As St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish celebrates and recognizes its 125th anniversary in this year of 2021, we are reminded of the importance of not only looking back, but also looking toward the future.
There is much to be proud and grateful. The significance of this Catholic parish in the lives, education and special grace-filled moments of so many families and individuals — especially in the founding and formative years with the Italian immigrant populace of East Utica and beyond, through difficult times as well as seasons of success and peace and advances in prosperity and growth.
When one gathers in memory the blessed weddings, baptisms, First Holy Communions, consoling funeral services, feasts and summer festivals, novenas and so many Christmas and Easter splendid worship experiences, it becomes a radiant and splendid memory.
Grateful for the priests and nuns, devoted lay people, those whose gifts of music and teaching, and leadership and plain old sweat and effort have made this parish the jewel of East Utica.
Of course, this 125th-anniversary year also invites us to look to the future, even during the current challenge of a pandemic.
Every Catholic parish must consider possible plans to join together, consolidate and cooperate with other parishes in some activities and programs as well as the more efficient use of buildings and facilities. To be creative in facing the needs and maintaining the traditions and services of our Catholic people is so important into the next years and even decades ahead.
One dimension of the Catholic parish in the future, more and more, will be the ability and willingness to reach out to draw new members, light the light of faith, as well as to serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Over these 125 years this parish has had many blessings and graces through the help and powerful intercession of the Mother of our Lord, honored as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Maybe that is why God has found favor with this parish through thick and thin. So many have entered the doors of this beautiful work of art and grace-filled church looking for God.
Of course, the words of St. Augustine are so true, “You only can look for God, because God has already found you.”