August 19, 2017

Three Days of Prayer for San Rocco

First class relic of San Rocco
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
In preparation for the upcoming 128th Annual Feast of San Rocco at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus (113 Baxter Street) in Manhattan’s historic Little Italy this Sunday, August 20th, members of the St. Rocco Society have begun a Triduum, or three days of prayer, in English and Italian, in honor of their glorious patron. Devotees will gather by the world famous papier-mâché statue of San Rocco on the Guariglia bye-altar for the final night of prayer Saturday, August 19th at 7pm
Members of the St. Rocco Society gather by the statue for three days of prayer
Sunday’s Feast Day Mass will be celebrated at 12pm, followed by the procession with statue and first class relic of San Rocco. Danny Vecchiano and the Giglio Band will accompany the procession through the streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. Religious goods and raffles will be available for purchase outside the church and, as always, after the procession, partygoers will dance the night away and enjoy some delicious southern Italian fare provided by Peppino’s from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. 
The society donated flowers for the altar and the statue of the saint
We look forward to seeing you there. Viva San Rocco! 
Also see:
Another Look at the 127th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in New York City
Worlds Collide at the Feast of San Rocco
Evviva San Rocco! A Look at the 127th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in New York City
Viva San Rocco! A Look at the 126th Annual Feast of San Rocco in NYC
The Novena To San Rocco at Most Precious Blood
Bittersweet Move: The Translation of the Relic of San Vincenzo and Society Statues to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy
Celebrating 125 Years of Devotion to San Rocco in New York City
An Interview with Stephen LaRocca, President of the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza in NYC
A Look at NYC's 124th Annual Feast of San Rocco
A Look at the 123rd Annual Feast of Saint Rocco
A Look at the 122nd Feast of Saint Rocco

For Continuous 2017 Feast Day Updates, Follow the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza on Instagram

www.instagram.com/stroccosocietyofpotenza
Also see: 
Getting Ready for the Big Day
• Another Look at the 127th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in New York City 
• Worlds Collide at the Feast of San Rocco 
• Evviva San Rocco! A Look at the 127th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in New York City 
• Viva San Rocco! A Look at the 126th Annual Feast of San Rocco in NYC 
• The Novena To San Rocco at Most Precious Blood 
• Bittersweet Move: The Translation of the Relic of San Vincenzo and Society Statues to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy 
• Celebrating 125 Years of Devotion to San Rocco in New York City 
• An Interview with Stephen LaRocca, President of the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza in NYC 
• A Look at NYC's 124th Annual Feast of San Rocco 
• A Look at the 123rd Annual Feast of Saint Rocco 
• A Look at the 122nd Feast of Saint Rocco

Announcing the 26th Annual Feast of the Madonna Addolorata di Castelpetroso in Nutley, New Jersey

For more info visit the Società Oriundi Castellani on Facebook

August 18, 2017

A Prayer for Barcelona

St. George pray for us
San Giorgio by Francesco Guarino
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the August 17th terror attacks in Las Ramblas, Barcelona and their families. May Sant Jordi, Santa Eulalia and La Mare de Déu de la Mercè watch over you.

Prayer for Victims of Terrorism

Loving God, welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism. Comfort their families and all who grieve for them. Help us in our fear and uncertainty, and bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love. Strengthen all those who work for peace, and may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts. Amen.

Also see:
A Prayer for London
A Prayer for Manchester
A Prayer for the Church Bombing Victims in Egypt
A Prayer for Stockholm
A Prayer for St. Petersburg
A Prayer for Westminster
A Prayer for Berlin
Requiescat in Pace: Fr. Jacques Hamel
A Prayer for Nice
A Prayer for Brussels
Solidarité

Feast of Santa Elena, Madre dell’Imperatore Costantino

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 18th is the Feast Day of Santa Elena (St. Helen of the Cross), Empress and mother of Constantine the Great. According to tradition, at the age of 80 she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326 after a dream revealed the site of the tomb in which Our Lord was buried at Golgotha. There she discovered the True Cross and the nails that had crucified Christ. According to St. Gregory of Tours, she cast one of the nails into the Adriatic Sea, thus calming its rage and making passage across its tempestuous depths less hazardous for seafarers. 

The Feast should not be confused with that of Sant’Elena di Laurino, also celebrated on August 18th. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to St. Helen. The accompanying photo of the Madonna with Child, St. Andrew and St. Helen was taken at the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta and San Pantaleone (Duomo di Ravello) in Ravello, Salerno.
Prayer to St. Helen
Holy and blessed Saint Helen, With the anguish and devotion with which You sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that You give me God’s grace To suffer in patience and labors of this life, So that through them and through Your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, Which God has placed upon me, So that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.

Feast of Sant'Elena di Laurino

Evviva Sant'Elena!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 18th is the Feast Day of Sant'Elena (St. Helen), patroness of Laurino (SA) and Pruno (SA). One of three major observances held in her honor (May 22nd and June 29th are the others), the Feast should not to be confused with that of Saint Helena of the Cross, also celebrated on August 18th. Born in Laurino in the first half of the sixth century (some say late eighth- or early ninth-century), Sant'Elena was a beautiful and pious maiden. Abused at home, she fled to the nearby mountains of Pruno to live the ascetic life of a hermit in solitude and prayer. After 21 years she died. Her remains were discovered in the grotto and translated to the Cathedral of Capaccio-Paestum. Over the centuries, her relics were moved several times before finally being interred in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Laurino. According to legend, neighboring Valle dell'Angelo contested the ownership of the relics. To appease the rival claimants it was decided her body would be put onto a cart driven by two heifers and they would decide. When the oxen reached a fork in the road leading to the two towns, they chose Laurino. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Elena. The accompanying photo was taken at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine of East Harlem, New York City.
Prayer to Sant'Elena
God our Father, enable us who honor the memory of Sant'Elena, holy virgin of Laurino, to share with her in the joy of eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Announcing the 50th Annual Saint Liberata Festival in Patchogue, New York

For more info visit the Saint Liberata Italian Festival on Facebook

August 17, 2017

A Look at the 2017 Giglio di Sant’Antonio da Padova in East Harlem, New York

The Giglio di Sant'Antonio da Padova
Photos courtesy of Bobby Maida
Thank you Bobby for sharing your fantastic photos of the 2017 Giglio Feast of Sant’Antonio da Padova in East Harlem, New York (Sunday, August 13th). Viva Sant’Antonio!

For more of Bobby’s event pictures visit www.bobseventphotos.shutterfly.com

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church was packed for Mass
Some fireworks after Mass
(Above & below) Number 1 Capo Paranza Frankie Bracco
 leads the procession with Sant'Antonio to the outdoor chapel
A young lady performs a rousing rendition of the National Anthem
(Above & below) The paranza (lifters) show their devotion
(Above & below) Tenor Jimmy Alleva and the Giglio Band
(Above & below) The Giglio Girls and Kids show their support
(Above & below) A Good time was had by all
Also see: 
• A Look at the 2016 Giglio di Sant’Antonio in East Harlem, New York
• A Look at the 2015 Giglio di Sant’Antonio in East Harlem, New York
• A Look at the 2014 Feast of the Giglio di Sant’Antonio, East Harlem, New York
• A Look at the 2013 Feast of the Giglio di Sant'Antonio, East Harlem, New York
• A Look at the Feast of the Giglio di Sant'Antonio in East Harlem (2012)
• A look at the Feast of the Giglio di Sant’Antonio in East Harlem (2011)

Announcing NIAF's 42nd Anniversary Gala Weekend Honoring the Region of Sicily in D.C.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will celebrate its 42nd Anniversary Gala Weekend November 3-5, 2017!
Join NIAF in Washington, D.C. on Friday, November 3, 2017 and Saturday, November 4, 2017 for what is sure to be another very special weekend of Italian American pride at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
We look forward to celebrating our incredible heritage with you.
For more information visit www.niaf.org

Announcing the 2017 Feast of Saint Padre Pio in Glendale, New York

August 16, 2017

Feast of San Rocco

Viva San Rocco!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 16th is the Feast Day of San Rocco, patron Saint of the sick. Widely venerated throughout Southern Italy, he is one of the principal patrons of Potenza (PZ), Castelmezzano (PZ), Quaglietta (AV), Orsogna (CH), Locorotondo (BA), Monteleone di Puglia (FG), Pietraperzia (EN), Palmi (RC), Scilla (RC), and Gioiosa Ionica (RC), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Rocco. The accompanying photo was taken at now-closed Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan. The beautiful papier-mâché statue has since been moved to Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in New York City's historic Little Italy.

Prayer to Saint Rocco

O Great St. Rocco, deliver us, we beseech you, from contagious diseases, and the contagion of sin. Obtain, for us, a purity of heart which will assist us to make good use of health, and to bear sufferings with patience. Teach us to follow your example in the practice of penance and charity, so that we may, one day enjoy the happiness of being with Christ, Our Savior, in Heaven. Amen.

Discovering The Riace Warriors

Riace Warriors (Courtesy of What do I know...?)
By Giovanni di Napoli
On August 16, 1972 Stefano Mariottini, a young chemist from Rome, was on holiday in Monasterace, a small town in the Southern Italian province of Reggio Calabria. Enjoying the pristine waters of the Riace Marina, located along the magnificent Ionian Coast, Mariottini made a discovery that has been referred to as "one of Italy's most important archaeological finds of the last 100 years."
While swimming—almost 340 yards off the coast and about 27 feet deep—Mariottini spotted an arm protruding from the sandy sea floor. So lifelike was the limb he thought he found a corpse. The startled diver soon realized that the lifeless appendage belonged to a bronze statue. Upon further inspection he found the leg of a second statue sticking out of the seabed.
Excited by his discovery, Mariottini reported his find to the authorities. With his help the Carabinieri unit from Messina, Sicily—supervised by the Archaeological Superintendency of Reggio Calabria—recovered the sunken statues from their watery resting place with air balloons. A crowd of curious locals and vacationers gathered on the beach and watched intently as the statues were rescued. They applauded with great delight as they were brought ashore. Continue reading

Announcing the 2017 Feast of Santa Fortunata in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption

Madonna dell'Assunta, Ravello
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 15th is The Feast of the Assumption, the celebration of the Blessed Mother's corporeal ascent into Heaven. In honor of this joyous occasion I'm posting "Praise to the Queen of Heaven" (Salvi Regina), a prayer from Prayers and Devotional Songs of Sicily, edited and translated by Peppino Ruggeri.(*) The accompanying photo was taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to the Duomo in Ravello. Founded in 1086, the Duomo was originally dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. It has since been consecrated to San Pantaleone.

Praise to the Queen of Heaven

Hail to you Mary, Mother of Mercy
Life, sweetness, and spring of joy
In you we trust when in trouble or pain
To you we come when we are in tears
In affliction your comfort we obtain.

Hear our pleas, our sweet defender
Virgin Mother with all sorrow laden
To our God you prayers direct
Because our actions have no effect
The door of paradise open to all
When death for comes to call
Amen.

(*) Prayers and Devotional Songs of Sicily, edited and translated into English by Peppino Ruggeri, Legas 2009, p.139

Feast of the Madonna della Stella

Evivva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 15th is the Feast Day of the Madonna della Stella (Our Lady of the Star), patroness of Craco (MT), Adelfia (BA), Pazzano (RC), Pedagaggi (SR), Barrafranca (EN) and Militello in Val di Catania (CT), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting "The Patron of Craco," a poem by Vincenzo Montemurro.* The accompanying photo of Maria SS. della Stella was taken at now-closed Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan.

The Patron of Craco

Our Patroness,
so beautiful with your crown
and a mantle filled with stars
that are the most beautiful.
Oh Madonna della Stella,
you are in the chapel
where we celebrate in May
and join in a long pilgrimage,
a pilgrimage of love
which rejoices the heart.
Oh band, music and orchestra
play for our Patroness.
A choir dressed in white
sings for our most shining star,
Our Madonna della Stella,
the most beautiful one.

* "The Patron of Craco" was reprinted from Homage to the Madonna della Stella, a publication of the Colibri Association and translated by the Craco Society, 2010, p. 40

Feast of the Madonna della Scala

Evviva Maria!
August 15th is the Feast Day of the Madonna della Scala, patroness of Belvedere di Spinello, a small town in the Province of Crotone in Calabria. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting A Prayer to Our Lady. The accompanying photo of the Madonna della Scala was taken at Saint Rocco’s Church in Glen Cove, New York.
A Prayer to Our Lady
Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we turn to you, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To you we come, before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, do not despise our petitions, but in your mercy hear us and answer us. Amen.

Feast of the Madonna del Granato

Pomegranate from Salerno
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna del Granato (Our Lady of the Pomegranate), patroness of Capaccio-Paestum, a town in the Province of Salerno. The local sanctuary, a Carmelite hermitage, is home to a beautiful wooden statue of the Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus in her left arm and a pomegranate in her right hand. The sanctuary is an important destination for pilgrims, who make offerings of fruit, flowers and wax candles during the celebration. Interestingly, early Christians adopted the pomegranate as a sacred symbol of virtue and prosperity from the pre-Christian cult of Hera, Queen of Heaven. Several fine examples (see photos below) of the iconography can be seen at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in honor of the Madonna del Granato. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2010 visit to Paestum

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven

August Queen of Heaven! Sovereign Mistress of the angels! Thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee to send thy holy Legions, that, under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe. Amen
Marble statue of the goddess Hera enthroned
holding a pomegranate in her hand
Terracotta statuette of Hera holding Pomegranate

Buon Ferragosto!

Fonderia Chiurazzi replica of Diana,
Temple of Apollo at Pompeii
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

August 15th marks the Ferragosto, the modern manifestation of the ancient Roman Feriae Augusti. Instituted in 18 B.C. by the Emperor Augustus, the month long celebration paid homage to the gods for a bountiful harvest as well as the changing seasons. The goddess Diana was especially revered during the festivities.

With the advent of Christianity, the festival was eclipsed by the Assumption of the Virgin. Today the various towns of Southern Italy celebrate the holiday in their own fashion, usually with fireworks, large meals or a leisurely trip to the beach.

Some of the more interesting celebrations include The Feast of the Madonna della Madia in Monopoli, Puglia, where townspeople reenact the discovery of the Marian icon that washed into the harbor on a raft in the eleventh century; and the so-called "Burning of the Svevo castle" in Termoli, Molise, which recalls a vicious attack by the Ottoman Turks in 1566.

In the spirit of the occasion I'm reprinting "And It Won't Rain Anymore," a poem by Alessandro Dommarco.(*) The accompanying photo of Diana Saettatrice, or "Diana as an Archer," was taken during my 2007 visit to Pompeii. The original (dating from 100 B.C.—79 A.D.) was discovered in the Temple of Apollo at Pompeii in March 1817.

And It Won't Rain Anymore

Summer you were. As you came in the room
with you came in the sea, seaweeds and rocks:
and the sun came in and through the olive trees
came the cicadas, and the countryside
of an August night stars in the sky and quivering of crickets.
Scarlet August moon, a full moon you were
inside the room: and you ran within me
laughing in my veins, deep within my blood.
You were, my love, the light, the air,
the scent of earth, the colors, the flowers of the summer.
Summer you were. And like a mellowed fig
you melted in my mouth, sugar and love:
you let me nibble you grape after grape like a juicy bunch.
And I caught fire like a vine shoot, and burned before your eyes.

(*) Reprinted from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism, edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, P. 44

Announcing the 2017 Ferragosto in The Bronx

www.bronxlittleitaly.com

August 14, 2017

Viva 'o Rre! Remembering HM King Francis I of the Two Sicilies

b. Napoli, August 14, 1777 – d. Napoli, November 8, 1830
Also see:
Viva 'o Rre! His Royal Majesty King Francis I of the Two Sicilies
Remembering HM Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies

Feast of San Antonio Primaldo and the 800 Martyrs of Otranto

August 14th is the Feast Day of Saint Antonio Primaldo and the 800 Martyrs of Otranto. In 1480 the Ottoman Turks invaded the Kingdom of Naples, laying siege to the city of Otranto in Apulia. Taken by force, the townspeople were raped and slaughtered. Around 800 survivors were marched up the nearby Hill of the Minerva and offered a chance to live if they renounced their faith and convert to Islam. To a man, the captives refused. Stepping forward, a tailor named Antonio Primaldo proclaimed "Now it is time for us to fight to save our souls for the Lord. And since he died on the cross for us, it is fitting that we should die for him." Beheaded on the spot, legend says Primaldo's body did not fall until the last captive was slain. They were canonized by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square in Rome May 12, 2013. 

To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to the Martyrs of Otranto. The photo of the reliquary with bone fragments of the 800 Martyrs of Otranto was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (259 Oliver St.) in Newark, New Jersey.
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Prayer to the Martyrs of Otranto

Preghiera O Dio, fortezza dei tuoi fedeli, che hai suscitato nel popolo idruntino i santi martiri Antonio Primaldo e compagni e li hai resi gloriosi testimoni del tuo nome, concedi a noi, sostenuti dal loro esempio e dalla loro intercessione, la forza di superare ogni avversità per amore di colui che ha dato la sua vita per noi. Il tuo Figlio e nostro Signore. Amen

Also see:

The Pontelandolfo – Casalduni Massacre

General Enrico Cialdini: 
The Butcher of Gaeta
By Giovanni di Napoli
On August 14, 1861 the towns of Pontelandolfo and Casalduni were sacked and torched by the Piedmontese military during the so-called "war against brigandage" in Southern Italy. On the orders of General Enrico Cialdini (*) the towns were reduced to rubble and townspeople indiscriminately slaughtered in retaliation for the death of 41 soldiers at the hands of partisan loyalists. 
Accounts of the Piedmontese reprisal describe the shooting of unarmed men and bayoneting of groveling women. The survivors were left homeless and without means of survival. Dispatched by Cialdini, Colonel Gaetano Negri telegraphed his superior to report on the carnage: 
"At dawn yesterday justice was done to Pontelandolfo and Casalduni. They are still burning."
Sadly, Pontelandolfo and Casalduni were not the exception. In the first 14 months after the conquest of Southern Italy the towns of Guaricia, Campochiaro, Viesti, San Marco in Lamis, Rignano, Venosa, Basile, Auletta, Eboli, Montifalcone, Montiverde, Vico, Controne, and Spinello all suffered a similar fate. Arbitrary arrests and summary executions were common. By 1864 over 100,000 troops, nearly half the Italian army, were deployed in the South to try and keep order. Continue reading

The Wizard of Oz

B.A. Santamaria: One Against the World
Bartholomew Augustine Santamaria
Photo courtesy of TheRecord.com.au
By Niccolò Graffio
“That cause is strong which has, not a multitude, but one strong man behind it.” – J.R. Lowell: Speech in Chelsea, Mass., Dec. 22nd. 1885
A common complaint heard in many quarters these days is that we as individuals are powerless to effect any real change in society. The powers that be have vast political, financial (and military) resources behind them to enforce their will upon us, members of the Great Unwashed. People who rail against real or perceived injustices, when asked the obvious question of why they don’t do something about it, invariably respond: “One man can’t make a difference.”
Truth be told, this is a complaint that is as old as civilization itself. It is the excuse of the indolent, the apathetic, and especially of the cowardly. One need only pour over the pages of history books to read the biographies of multitudes of people of common birth who, through little more initially than sheer force of will, sought to remake the world around them into their own image, for better or for worse. Continue reading