As we celebrate the annual St. Sebastian Feast this weekend, there is no better time to bring joyous news to the Catholic faithful in Montclair. On behalf of Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Archdiocese of Newark is pleased to announce that Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been established as an oratory that will continue to serve the community of faithful with a newly appointed designated rector and a full schedule of weekday and weekend Mass celebrations.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory is designated as a worship place for daily prayer and a full schedule to celebrate Masses and the sacraments. Beginning Labor Day weekend, Masses are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 8:30 a.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m., and Sundays at 11 a.m. Cardinal Tobin and the Archdiocesan staff warmly welcome the oratory’s new full-time rector, Rev. Giandomenico Flora, who will regularly celebrate Mass at the oratory. A special Mass to celebrate his installation will be scheduled and announced in the near future.
The “oratory” classification for Our Lady of Mount Carmel provides this faith community with the ability to help discern the future of this church in consultation with the rector and the Archdiocese. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory remains a church under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Newark, operating fully and independently, yet within the parish community of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
We are pleased to report that more than $300,000 in repairs have been made to the church building and an additional combined $55,000 in grant funding is being provided by the Archdiocese to fund renewal and furnishing costs. A dedicated pastoral council and finance council also will be established to help oversee the oratory’s administration and vitality. The councils will work with the rector and community to ensure that the oratory continues to thrive and that ongoing criteria to sustain success and viability, such as robust attendance and sacramental and financial benchmarks, are met. These benchmarks will be monitored and reviewed within a designated period of time to ensure the endurance and continuation of the oratory’s self-reliance.
We know that many parishioners have been yearning to come together for weekday and weekend Masses as well as to have a designated celebrant to call their own. Now, it is imperative that we have the active participation and robust support from the community to ensure that the oratory will thrive and grow.
I join Father Giandomenico, Father Benny of St. Teresa of Calcutta, and all within the Archdiocese in prayerful hope that Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory and our community of the faithful will prosper for many years to come.
Very Rev. John J. Chadwick, S.T.D.
Vicar General, Archdiocese of Newark
For more information, visit Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory’s website at www.olmcmontclair.org.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Announcement Regarding Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory in Montclair
What is happening with Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church?
The Archdiocese of Newark is pleased to announce that Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been established by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, as an oratory and will continue to serve the faithful with a newly appointed priest, who will be the dedicated rector, along with a renewed full schedule of weekday and weekend Mass celebrations.
What is an oratory? Is an oratory the same as a parish?
Not every Catholic church is a parish. It can and often does happen that churches or chapels are located within the boundaries of a parish (see Code of Canon Law 515.1
). According to canon law, an oratory is a church, or a physical place of Catholic worship, not established as a parish because of particular circumstances. Small parishes that may be struggling with viability can retain use of the church building through the classification of “oratory.”
The primary reason for establishing the classification of “oratory” is to respect the strong bonds people develop with their faith communities and church buildings. The oratory classification allows the faith community to help discern next steps and the future use of the church in consultation with the rector and the Archdiocese. Determining factors in such discernment include increased Mass attendance, active volunteer participation, active pastoral council membership, increased participation in sacramental life (baptism, first Communion, confirmation, matrimony, and Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), and fiscal viability.
Is Our Lady of Mount Carmel still part of St. Teresa of Calcutta?
Yes, the new Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory is entrusted to a priest/rector and is a place for prayer and the celebration of Mass and sacraments, operating fully and within the boundaries of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish.
Is the Our Lady of Mount Carmel building still a church?
Yes, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory remains a church under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Newark.
When will Masses be held?
Masses at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory will be celebrated on weekdays at 8:30 a.m. (except on Tuesdays), Saturdays at 4:30 p.m., and Sundays at 11 a.m., beginning Labor Day weekend.
What is a rector?
According to Canon 556
, a rector is a priest who the archdiocesan bishop entrusts with the care of a cathedral, oratory or other house of worship that is not a parish. Rev. Giandomenico Flora is the new oratory rector, and a special Mass to celebrate his installation will be scheduled for Fall 2022. An announcement will be shared when a date is confirmed.
Can other sacraments be celebrated at an oratory?
Yes, baptisms, first Communion, confirmation/RCIA, weddings, and funerals can be celebrated at an oratory.
Who may attend/participate in services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory?
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory has been established to minister to those who had previously been parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, but all Catholics are welcome to be part of this faith community.
What is a pastoral council?
A pastoral council is a group of volunteers who meet regularly in prayer and discussion to guide the mission of the oratory or parish in conjunction with the rector or pastor. The pastoral council develops and recommends pastoral plans; evaluates programs, organizations, and activities in light of the oratory’s or parish’s mission; advises the rector or pastor; and participates in the universal mission of the Church.
Have needed repairs to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory been made?
More than $300,000 in necessary repairs and renovations to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory have been completed. In addition, the Archdiocese of Newark is providing two grants: $25,000 to meet renewal or startup needs until offertory and fundraising activities are underway and $30,000 to fund furnishing and equipment needs for the pastoral office.
There have been concerns about the future of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Will it stay open?
For any oratory or parish to maintain its operations, there must be active participation from the faith community, including robust Mass attendance, community engagement and volunteers, and collection of tithes and offerings that sustain the viability of church operations.
A dedicated pastoral council and a finance council will be established to help oversee the administration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory. The councils will work with the rector and faith community to ensure that criteria are met for the oratory to continue and thrive, including key attendance and sacramental and financial benchmarks outlined for a three-year period, at which time there will be a review of the oratory’s standing.
As the spiritual and operational life of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Oratory continues to develop, the faith community will be apprised.