Back in 1918, Waterbury’s population at that time was nearly 102,000 and many of the first italian families were concentrated in the North End, Brooklyn, South End And Town Plot sections of the city.
The Italians of Town Plot saw a need for religion in their lives, and as such, had no church of their own in the immediate area. Under the leadership of Fr. Valdambrini, the pastor at the time of Our Lady of Lourdes, petitioned the Most Reverend John J. Nilan, Bishop of Hartford, asking for the creation of a town plot parish.
On June 26, 1923, Bishop Nilan appointed Fr. Michael Lynch as first pastor of St. Philip Neri Church. The territory included, within St. Philip’s Parish, was Brooklyn and The Town Plot vicinity. It was then that Father Lynch and his parishioners enjoyed the hospitality of Fr. John Fitzmaurice in using the basement of St. Patrick’s church as their first place of worship. Within a few months, Father Lynch supervised work on the creation of the original “basement” church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on land purchased on the corner of Highland Avenue and America Street.
On April 13, 1924, Bishop Nilan blessed the new church. By in the spring of 1927 work begun on the rectory which was completed in November that same year. In 1935, Father Lynch was responsible for the construction of the church hall (which now accommodates many church functions to include our annual Italian Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which began in 1938.
In 1939, plans were drawn up for a large lombard-romanesque style church with a seating capacity for 800 people. Work began on January 8, 1940. On July 14, 1940, the Most Reverend Henry O’Brien, Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford, presided at the cornerstone ceremony. Remarkably on December 8th of that same year the complete edifice was blessed by Bishop Henry J. O’Brien and a dedication Mass was celebrated by Reverend Patrick W. Flynn.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church marked another milestone in its history on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, July 2, 1943, when the parish purchased the Nichols property at 641 Congress Avenue for a convent, and the Daughters of the Holy Ghost resided at the convent on September 29, 1943 and taught religion to the school children weekly.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrated its silver anniversary on Sunday, July 16, 1948 and on that day, the parish conducted a “burning-of-the-mortgage” ceremony at the altar rail, officially liquidating its $215,000 debt.
On September 8, 1957, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School was dedicated after receiving $315,000 from the parish members and friends to erect the building.
Fr. Flynn received the title of Right Reverend Monsignor in 1960, and after 31 years of his leadership he retired in 1967. Monsignor Vittorio Guerrera was appointed the eighth pastor of the parish on October 1, 2023, following Fr. Frederick Aniello who retired after 15 years.
The annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been a tradition that has continued for 85 years and draws people from the local community and surrounding region. Today this traditional event continues to draw people; parishioners, friends and patrons from the greater Waterbury, Hartford, New Haven and Danbury areas – to name a few.
Along with the church’s membership of nearly 600 families. Our school’s current enrollment is 220 students--pre-k3 to grade 8, with 183 children utilizing the before & after care program which is located at the school. Our little saints daycare provides care for 40 children ages 6 weeks to three years (please visit our school website link).