Sister Pat McGinley, who serves on the staff in St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, proclaims the Readings during the Founder's Day Mass. Seated at left is Msgr. Thomas Gervasio, vicar general, who concelebrated the Mass with Bishop O'Connell.
Sister Pat McGinley, who serves on the staff in St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, proclaims the Readings during the Founder's Day Mass. Seated at left is Msgr. Thomas Gervasio, vicar general, who concelebrated the Mass with Bishop O'Connell.
In the year 1920, movies were silent, a Model T Ford was $395, gas cost 33 cents a gallon, the average annual family income was $3,200, and it cost $6,300 to buy a house.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mount Carmel Guild's Founder's Day Mass

But the way Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., sees it, 1920 was also a time when a significant milestone occurred in the Church of Trenton – when then-Bishop Thomas J. Walsh established a diocesan outreach agency with the mission to serve those in need. That vision remains a viable ministry in Trenton and the greater Mercer County area 101 years later.

“The Mount Carmel Guild touches the lives of people of our community, aiding the elderly and homebound through its Home Health Nursing program and providing emergency food and other assistance,” Bishop O’Connell said during the March 21 Founder’s Day Mass he celebrated to commemorate the Guild’s 101st year of service.  The Mass, concelebrated by Msgr. Thomas Gervasio, vicar general, was livestreamed on diocesan media outlets.

The Bishop, in his homily, lauded the Guild for holding true to its original mission of being “the cure of poverty – head, heart and spirit.”

“The Mount Carmel Guild serves the Lord in his people because that is where we find him, in his people, especially among those in need,” Bishop O’Connell said.

Gathered in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton, for the anniversary Mass that was postponed from last year due to the pandemic, were Mount Carmel Guild and diocesan staff, board members and supporters.

Guild board member Benedict Gioe recalled how the Home Health Nursing Program helped his family 65 years ago, when his father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in the summer of 1956.

“We turned our living room into a hospital room to care for dad, and the visiting nurses came and assisted my mother.  We are very grateful for the service the visiting nurses provided then and at the present,” said Gioe, a member of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton. “The Guild has provided assistance to the residents of Mercer County for 101 years and never lost sight of its mission to serve with dignity to all who enter their doors.

After reviewing how the food pantry was among the very first services the Guild offered in 1920 and that the home health nursing program began in 1941, Mary Inkrot, current executive director, remarked on the “many different ministries” the Guild has had as it responded to changing times and community needs.

“Today our mission is focused on assisting our care receivers to overcome challenges to decent health, nutrition, housing and education,” she said.

While the Guild has witnessed many difficult times and challenges, Inkrot noted how grateful she is “that we are here now to respond to the food insecurity brought on by the pandemic, to help fill the great need for assistance for tenants facing eviction and to continue home care for the elderly through our accredited nursing program.  

“I look forward to when the pandemic lessens and we can focus fully on moving forward with several initiatives planned for improving health,” Inkrot said. “We are grateful to our mission members, donors and partners whose generous support allow us to continue to serve as the Guild begin its second century of providing hope and preserving dignity.”