In this Monitor file photo, Corinne Janoska, a registered nurse and program director of Mount Carmel Guild's Home Health Nursing program, provides medical attention to a client. The Guild has rescheduled its 100th anniversary celebration to March 21 when Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will celebrate a Mass that will be livestreamed on diocesan media outlets. David Karas photo
In this Monitor file photo, Corinne Janoska, a registered nurse and program director of Mount Carmel Guild's Home Health Nursing program, provides medical attention to a client. The Guild has rescheduled its 100th anniversary celebration to March 21 when Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will celebrate a Mass that will be livestreamed on diocesan media outlets. David Karas photo
Mount Carmel Guild has continuously remained staunch in its mission “to provide and preserve dignity through services focused on helping our neighbors in need.”

Such were the sentiments expressed by Mary Inkrot as she reflected on the inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach agency that is marking its 101st anniversary this year.

And while the COVID-19 pandemic may have hampered last year’s centenary plans, staff, volunteers, supporters and friends of the Guild are just as excited about the celebration that’s been rescheduled for March 21 and the Founder’s Day Mass at 2 p.m. with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton.

The Mass will be livestreamed on all diocesan media outlets. Reservations are required for in-person attendance.

“We are honored to have Bishop O’Connell as our celebrant, and we look forward to having the Bishop’s blessing on the Guild, its mission members and all our partners in the past and the present,” said Inkrot, the Guild’s executive director, noting that the day’s theme is “First 100 Years and Beyond.”

The Mount Carmel Guild was started in January 1920 by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, third Bishop of Trenton. It was an idea he brought to the Trenton Diocese from his previous position as bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.

That year, the Diocese purchased a house at 73 North Clinton Ave. to serve as a base for the organization. The home was formerly owned by a wealthy Trenton family that made its fortune from the city’s thriving pottery industry. Anne Brearley, widow of Charles Brearley, president of Greenwood Pottery, sold the home to the Diocese for $21,500.

Today, the Guild directs its energies primarily through two areas of service: the Community Support Program, formerly called the Emergency Assistance Program, which has been opened to citizens in need since 1921, and the Home Health Nursing Program, running since 1941.

Through Community Support, food pantry visits range from 50 to 90 households a day, Inkrot said, adding that the food pantry staff kept busy with 985 visits in January and provided each household with a prepacked bag of food and additional food choices. Recent outreach, she added, has focused on sharing information about a Trenton food needs survey, COVID-19 vaccination awareness and utility assistance programs.  

Community Support staff will soon begin a second year of offering healthy meal kits to care receivers, made possible from a grant awarded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Inkrot said the Home Health Nursing Program continues to provide services that allow care recipients “to age in place in the comfort of their own home,” then noted that in recent weeks, the nursing staff has been providing information to all patients and their families about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Another Guild highlight is its longtime tradition of food distribution at the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Through collaboration with parishes and businesses, the Guild is able to help hundreds of local families.