Serving Boonton, Boonton Township, and Beyond
At Our Lady of Mount Carmel, there’s a reason why we say that we serve Boonton, Boonton Township, and beyond. Our parish boundaries incorporate Boonton and nearly all of Boonton Township, but people from a much broader geography are drawn to our light-bearing mission, and have made OLMC their parish home. All are welcome to join us on mission, as we seek to light up the world with the love of God.
Any discussion of our “parish boundaries” must attempt to address at least two questions:
Let’s tackle that first question first: What purpose do “parish boundaries” serve?
In recent history, Catholics had to go to Mass and receive sacraments at their local church. If people weren’t sure what parish they belonged to, their pastors would redirect them accordingly. When new churches were founded, lifelong members of old parish x were compelled attend new parish y, all based on where they lived.
That people can be grouped and assigned to parishes based on geography is not a bad idea of itself, but its execution has manifested a bureaucratic - rather than a mission-oriented - model of the church.
Why does this matter?
If we think boundaries exist merely to assign people to parishes, then we care more about management than mission. Rather than seeing the parish is a place where the Church’s mission is brought to life, we start to see it as a place people are obliged to go for Mass on Sunday and where they’ll receive the sacraments.
Instead of seeing parish boundaries assigning people to parishes, it is more fitting to see parishes as mission outposts, executing the Church’s ministry in and for a particular geography. The parish has a responsibility to the people of its geography - the parish animates this outreach - but the work of the parish can (and almost always does) include people from outside of the mission field.
Ideally, people would sign on to the mission of the Church brought to life by their local parish, but there are many reasons why this won’t always work.
If you’d like to discuss what this means - and what it means for you - feel free to get in touch with us.
And now, back to the second question: What is our “parish geography”?
As the third oldest parish in Morris County, the current geography of Our Lady of Mount Carmel have been gradually determined by the boundary proclamations of its neighbors over the last 60-70 years. The boundaries of OLMC are as follows:
Begin at the point where the Boonton Town - Boonton Township municipal boundary crosses the junction of West Main Street and Powerville Road;
Continue northwest on Powerville Road to the point where said road crosses the Rockaway River;
Continue south on the Rockaway River to the point where said river crosses the Boonton Township - Denville Township municipal boundary;
Then follow the Boonton Township municipal boundary west, north, east and south until it meets the Boonton Town municipal boundary;
Then follow the Boonton Town municipal boundary south and west to the point of beginning.
In other words (picture coming soon):