SHENANDOAH, Pa. - After nine days of solemn prayer, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was celebrated Sunday not just in church, but out in the streets of Shenandoah.
"It's to honor our lady. It's a tradition, over 100 years. 105 years this year," said John Catizone, who has been participating for more than 20 years. He helps carry Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The congregation makes a grand procession of three miles throughout the borough. The procession included a life size rosary, chintas to honor those the community has lost, and of course, the Lady of Mount Carmel herself.
For the Zippo family, today is especially emotional.
Christ Sacco passed away earlier this year of cancer. He was honored on one of the chintas this novena.
"He always walked it every year, whether his back was bad, his knees were bad, and he never missed a year, and recently, fighting cancer," said Krista Zippo, Sacco's daughter.
"He led the procession, kept everything moving, and in line. He did that for years, including up til last year, the last he walked with us," explained Charlie Sincavage of Shenandoah.
This is a tradition that has been going on for more than 100 years here in Shenandoah, and they say this heat is nothing they can't handle.
"We get through it, it's no problem. It's only three miles," said Tom Talerico, who has been walking in the procession since he was an alter boy.
Along the route, there were many stops for water as well, with paramedics on standby during the very hot morning. Despite the heat, many watched and waited to pin their donations to the Lady of Mount Carmel's robe.
The hope is that the next generation will keep this tradition alive for years to come.
"Once we pass on, somebody has to keep it going. Like these little girls here and these little kids, and hopefully, it will affect them like it did us to keep it going," said Talerico