In celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, St. Helen Catholic Church in Vero Beach held an investiture ceremony of the Brown Scapular on Sunday, July 14. A large crowd of faithful Catholics became invested with the scapular and enrolled in the Confraternity of Brown Scapulars.
Reverend Antony Pulikal, O.C.D and pastor of Holy Name of Jesus in West Palm Beach, and Father Kevin Nelson, V.F and pastor of St. Helen Parish, invested the faithful with the assistance of Deacon Nicholas Zrallack.
The ceremony began with an opening blessing by Father Nelson, “I have always been impressed by the Carmelite spirituality. It is the foundation of my own spirituality.”
Father Pulikal explained the history of the Carmelite Order and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. “In 1251, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock, prior general of the Carmelite Order, said Father Pulikal. “We are told she handed him a brown scapular with the promise of ‘Whosoever wears this scapular shall not suffer the fires of hell.’”
The Blessed Mother has appeared throughout history spreading the message of the scapular. The last apparition to St. Bernadette at Lourdes was on July 16, now the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the year 1858. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to the children at Fatima on October 13, 1917 holding the brown scapular. The same image appeared to Pope John XXII with the message that the devout who wear the scapular and follow the required conditions will be released from purgatory the first Saturday after death and taken into heaven. This is called the Sabbatine Privilege in the Bull of Promulgation under Pope John XXII.
There have been many miracles attributed to the wearing of the scapular. St. Pope John Paul II survived an assassin’s bullet and attributed the miracle to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the brown scapular. “Even as a young factory worker in Poland, St. Pope John Paul II wore the scapular. He wanted to join the Carmelites, but God had a different idea,” said Fr. Antony.
Sandra Luckas, St. Helen parishioner, said, “I grew up in Holy Hill, Wisconsin with the Carmelite Friars. I love the Carmelite spirit and am devoted to the scapular.” Patrick Keay, St. Helen parishioner and member of the Men’s Exodus 90 ministry said, “Me wearing the scapular is a commitment to a way of life and devotion to God and Mary.”
For more information on the history and spiritual purpose of the scapular, visit carmelites.net.
By Aleen Stanton, Florida Catholic Correspondent
Each person invested under Our Lady of Mount Carmel receives the brown scapular to wear. The priest bestows the scapular, saying, "Receive this blessed scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life.” (ALEEN STANTON | FC)