O’Malley & Fitzsimmon’s church is small but powerful. Using Italian Renaissance-inspired forms for a parish of Italian-Americans, it features an elaborate façade and prominent campanile. The red tapestry brick used here was a favorite of 1920s architects. The Reverend Monsignor Galliano J. Cavallaro oversaw the church’s refurbishing in 1967, which culminated with the installation of bright, modern stained glass designed by Marchese & Mammersma. Monsignor Cavallaro’s honorary portrait bust is the focus of a small public park across the street, dedicated to him as part of the late 1970s revitalization of Federal Hill.
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church had been a place of Roman Catholic worship since 1925. This Italian Renaissance structure features an elaborate façade and prominent campanile, or arcaded bell tower. The bright and modern stained glass windows by Marchese & Mammersma are the product of a major 1967 interior refurbishment.
Built to serve a population of 18,000 parishioners, mostly Italian-Americans of Federal Hill, the congregation dwindled to 200-300 people. Final worship services were held in November 2015, and the church closed indefinitely. In June 2016, the Providence Diocese announced that the closure would be permanent and that the congregation would merge with Church of the Holy Ghost, its counterpart anchor at the west end of Atwells Avenue.
The shrinking number of congregants coincided with mounting debt and deferred maintenance of the building, including mold and lead abatement, roof repairs, and bringing the property into fire code compliance. The closure, therefore, was in large part due to engineering, health, and safety concerns. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, its rectory, and a detached garage were sold to local Omnie Development. The complex was added to the Providence Landmark District-Industrial and Commercial list in 2017, thus any demolition plans require approval by the Providence Historic District Commission.
As of February, 2019, Omni appears to be preparing the land in front of the church in preparation for construction of a new building. The Monsignor Cavallaro Plaza is no more and PPS is unsure where Monsignor Cavallaro’s bust now stands.
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