October 21, 2017

HRH Princess Beatrice of Bourbon Two Sicilies Featured in the Fall 2017 Issue of 'Ambassador'

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
I’m honored to have been published in the Fall 2017 issue of Ambassador Magazine (Vol. 29, No. 1), the official organ of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). My brief profile of HRH Princess Beatrice of Bourbon Two Sicilies, this year’s recipient of NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Philanthropy, joins the triannual publication’s many fascinating features spotlighting Sicily and southern Italy, including an interview with Stephan Talty, author of The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the Deadliest Secret Society in American History, and our friend Karen Haid’s In His Blood, a look at Francis Marion Crawford and the coastal Calabrian town that inspired his vampiric tale, For the Blood is the Life. Thank you NIAF for publishing my article and promoting our Duesiciliano culture and heritage!

Auxiliary Malta Walk in NYC, October 2017

Francesca Temesta, DM (fifth from right), and the Order of Malta Auxiliary
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
After missing last month’s Auxiliary Malta Walk for the Feast of San Gennaro, it felt good to be back with our friends from the Knights of Malta and help distribute food to the homeless. Meeting every third Tuesday of the month (@7:30pm) at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral parish house (263 Mulberry Street), members of the Order's Auxiliary and friends prepare and hand out food in the surrounding neighborhoods. Led by the incomparable Francesca Tempesta, DM, our little, but spirited, group distributed 70 bags of ready-to-eat food (sandwiches, fruit, etc.) and toiletries (toothbrushes, mouthwash, etc.).
Anyone interested in supporting this noble endeavor can contact the Order of Malta Auxiliary at nycaux@orderofmaltaamerica.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.
God Bless Francesca, the Order of Malta Auxiliary, and Msgr. Sakano for organizing the monthly walk, their hard work and generosity are truly inspiring. I am deeply honored to serve with such an outstanding group of people and excited to do my part and contribute in any way I can to this worthy initiative.
Also see:
Auxiliary Malta Walks in NYC, July 2017
Supporting the "Malta Walks" Street Ministry

October 20, 2017

A Look at the 118th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella in Newark, New Jersey

Evviva San Gerardo! 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Scenes from Sunday's 118th Annual Feast of San Gerardo Maiella at Saint Lucy's Church, the national shrine of Saint Gerard, in Newark, New Jersey. 
Saint Gerard in Heavenly Glory by Gonippo Raggi.
Mural on the apse in Saint Gerard's Chapel
Boy Scout carried Old Glory during the National Anthem
After Mass, San Gerardo emerges from St. Lucy's Church with much fanfare
Cardinal Joseph Tobin offers a benediction before the procession
Devotees bring their babies to be blessed by the Saint 
Members of the St. Rocco Society of Potenza show their support
Always great to see our friends from the St. Joseph Society of Lodi, NJ
We stopped by to see our buddies at Buon Antipasto
We made new friends at Earth Moon Tide raw bar
Watching my weight, I skipped the fried food this year
and enjoyed some oysters with hot sauce and horseradish
Inside the church, I offered thanks to Santa Lucia and San Vito
for graces received through their intercession 
Making the rounds, I made my customary intercessory prayers
to the saints (including San Michele and San Sabino)
for the happy repose of the souls of my ancestors
I was blessed to have the opportunity to venerate the relic of San Sabino

October 19, 2017

Feast of San Pietro d'Alcántara

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 19th is the Feast Day San Pietro d'Alcántara (St. Peter of Alcántara), Mystic and Confessor. Patron saint of night watchmen, he is also invoked against virulent fevers. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara. The accompanying photo of Saint Ann and a young Virgin Mary with Saint Lucia and Saint Peter of Alcántara by Pietro Bardellino (Napoli 1728-1820) was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Naples. Evviva San Pietro!
Prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara
St. Peter of Alcántara, you were a tireless watchman of God. Your Vigils were the most difficult and remarkable of all the austerities which touched the heart of God himself. We put in your hands our petitions. St. Teresa of Avila attested that all she asked from God invoking your name, God did not refuse. Use your influence with God for our petitions in this novena (mention your request here). Help us face our daily sufferings and enable us to pray as you did through the nights. We promise on our part to take seriously our life of prayer and live simply, sharing what we have to the poor and the needy. We ask you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Celebrate Italian Cultural Heritage Month with the Vibrant Music of Sicily & Southern Italy

Rosa Tatuata Tonight at the Auburndale Library
Thursday, October 19th (7PM—8PM)
Auburndale Library
25-55 Francis Lewis Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11358
FREE and open to the public
Celebrate Italian Cultural Heritage Month with the vibrant music of Sicily & Southern Italy. Join Rosa Tatuata for an afternoon concert of folk and roots music from Sicily and Southern Italy: songs to make your heart sing and your feet dance!

October 18, 2017

Feast of San Luca Evangelista

Viva San Luca!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 18th is the Feast Day of San Luca Evangelista (St. Luke the Evangelist), patron saint of artists, physicians and surgeons. Venerated across southern Italy, he is also the principal protector of Praiano (SA), San Luca (RC), and Motta d’Affermo (ME), among others. In commemoration, I'm posting a prayer in honor of Saint Luke. The accompanying photo of San Luca was taken at the Basilica Santa Trofimena in Minori.

Prayer to St. Luke the Evangelist
Almighty God, you inspired Your servant St. Luke the Evangelist and Physician to set forth in the gospel the love and the healing power of your Son. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, he also showed the divinity of Jesus and His genuine compassion for all human beings. May St. Luke intercede for us that we may deepen our understanding of the gospel and grow in compassion of Jesus. May his intercession enable our new parish to follow Your way and plan for us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Luca 'fà-Presto' Giordano

San Nicola in gloria by Luca Giordano
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
[The following article was originally posted on October 18, 2009. I've since added photos of San Nicola in gloria (Museo Civico) from my visit to Naples in 2010Saint Sebastian Cured by Saint Irene from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2011King Tiridates Before Saint Gregory the Armenian from the Boston Museum of Art in 2012 and The Flight into Egypt from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I inadvertently left out the first time around. Also included, for illustrative purposes, is a reprint of a photo of Giordano's St. Benedict and the Miraculous Sacks of Grain from the Abbey of Montecassino, destroyed in 1944. For more on the lost works from the Abbey see, "Montecassino" by Robert Enggass, p. 41-55, A Taste For Angels, Yale University Art Gallery, 1987.]
Today I treated myself with a trip to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The occasion was in celebration of one of my favorite Southern Italian artists, Luca Giordano. I thought I would pay homage to the Baroque master on his birthday by viewing some of his works in person. Continue reading

October 17, 2017

Congratulations Nicole & John on Your Wedding!

"You may kiss the bride." At the end of Mass, principal celebrant HE Bishop Frank J. Caggiano pronounces the handsome couple man and wife
Congratulations Nicole (né di Bona) and John Viola! It was a tremendous honor to be a part of your joyous day and we wish you never-ending love and happiness. God Bless you and the family you are about to start.
Guests were given packaged butterflies to release after the wedding ceremony
For a split second, everyone outside the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
took their eyes off the bride to watch the butterflies flutter away
HRH Princess Beatrice of Bourbon Two Sicilies
Nob. Dr. Robert LaRocca (R.) and Cav. Charles Sant'Elia (l.)
Nicole was a stunning bride 
(Above & below) Everyone joined the happy couple
on the 
dance floor for the tarantella 
Saturday night, Cipriani Wall Street was the place to be
Baron La Rocca tripping the light fantastic with Teresa Viola
Like everything else that night, the wedding cake was magnificent 
I was amazed at how lifelike John's wedding cake topper looked 
It's not a party until the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies comes out.
Cav. Sant'Elia (l.) and Cav. John Napoli (r.) with our beloved U.S. Delegate of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George 

Photo of the Week: A View of the Northern Facade of the Reggia di Caserta from the Gardens

A View of the northern facade of the Reggia di Caserta from the gardens.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Giordano

Celebrate Italian Heritage Month with the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

October 16, 2017

Feast of San Gerardo Maiella

Viva San Gerardo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 16th is the Feast Day of Saint Gerard Maiella, patron of motherhood. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a prayer for expectant mothers.(*) The accompanying photo of the Saint was taken during the 2012 Feast of Saint Gerard at St Lucy's Church, National Shrine of Saint Gerard in Newark, New Jersey.
Prayer For Motherhood
O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before God and Wonderworker of our day, I call upon thee and seek thy aid. Thou who on earth didst always fulfill God's designs, help me to do the holy Will of God. Beseech the Master of Life, from Whom all paternity proceedeth, to render me fruitful in offspring that I may raise up children to God in this life and heirs to the Kingdom of His Glory in the world to come. Amen.
(*) Prayer For Motherhood was reprinted from The Feast of St Gerard Maiella, C.Ss.R.: A Century of Devotion at St. Lucy's, Newark, New Jersey by Reverend Thomas D. Nicastro, The History Press, 2012, p. 148
Also see:
A Look at the 117th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella in Newark, New Jersey

• Newark, New Jersey's Feast of San Gerardo Maiella in Pictures
• Pix from the 113th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella in Newark, New Jersey

Canonization of Blessed Angelo d’Acri

Evviva Sant'Angelo d'Acri
Pope Francis declared 35 new saints Sunday, October 15 at a Canonization Mass in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square. Among them was Fr. Angelo d’Acri (1669-1739) a Capuchin priest, itinerant preacher and patron of Acri in Cosenza, Calabria. 
To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a prayer to Saint Angelo of Acri. The accompanying photo was taken during the 2015 Feast at Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter Street), the national shrine of San Gennaro, located in New York City's historic Little Italy.
The 2017 Feast of San Angelo d’Acri will be celebrated on Sunday, October 29th at 12 Noon at Most Precious Blood Church.
A Prayer to St. Angelo da Acri
O God, you gave to your priest Saint Angelo the grace to call sinners to penance through his words and miracles, grant through his intercession, that we may be sorry for our sins, and gain eternal life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

October 15, 2017

Remembering a Hero

Salvo D'Acquisto
By Lucian
Salvo D'Acquisto was born in Naples on October 15th, 1920. In 1939, during the Fascist epoch, he voluntarily enlisted in the Carabinieri, which was at the time the first corps of the Italian army in addition to military/federal police (Gendarmerie).
A year later, shortly before the start of the Second World War, he was dispatched to Libya with the 608th Police Section. During his tour he was wounded but remained with his division until contracting malaria. In 1942 he returned to Italy, was sent to officer school and graduated as a vice brigadier (deputy sergeant).
After this Salvo was assigned to Torrimpietra, near Rome. In September of 1943, shortly after the remnants of the Italian government officially rescinded their alliance with the Axis, a German SS division was stationed near a derelict military installation in an area under the jurisdiction of Salvo’s outpost. This occurred during a very difficult time in Italy, their government was effectively useless and the country was under the direct control of either the German or Allied invaders. On September 22 two of these German soldiers were caught in an explosion while inspecting boxes of abandoned munitions. One was wounded and the other killed. Continued reading

October 13, 2017

Feast of Santa Chelidonia of Abruzzo

October 13th is the Feast Day of Santa Chelidonia of Abruzzo, virgin, hermitess, Benedictine nun and patroness of Subiaco, Lazio. Born in Cicoli, Abruzzo, she made a pilgrimage to Rome and took the monastic veil in the Monastery of Santa Scolastica. For nearly 52 years she lived in solitude in a cave in the Simbruini Mountains, dying on October 13, 1152. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting Preghiera a Santa Chelidonia.* The accompanying image is a detail of a fresco in Subiaco.
Preghiera a Santa Chelidonia
Amorevole Santa Chelidonia, un'eremo sui monti, accolse la tua fede, ospitandoti e riparandoti con le sue possenti rocce, tenedoti al sicuro dai pericoli, nel silenzio della montagna, dove accompagnata dai versi degli animali, dai sospiri del vento, e dagli scroscicchii della pioggia, stavi la in contemplazione, per conoscere, amare e servire, lodare e onorare il Signore. Ti preghiamo, di protergerci ed intercedere, e portare al Signore le nostre intenzioni. Per Cristo nostro Signore. Amen. (* By Nicola Pinna)

The Anniversary of the Death of Gioacchino Murat

Gioacchino Murat, Palazzo Reale, Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Today we remember the 202nd Anniversary of the death of Joachim Murat (Gioacchino in Italian), Marshal of France and King of Naples.
One of Napoleon’s most celebrated cavalry commanders, Joachim Murat repeatedly distinguished himself on the field of battle. Marrying the Emperor’s sister Caroline in 1800, he was promoted to Marshal in 1804 and rewarded with the Kingdom of Naples on August 1, 1808.
Murat ruled under the title Joachim Napoleon for nearly seven years, introducing the Napoleonic Code and other reforms. While he tried to rule his new Kingdom independently, Napoleon was adamant that Naples would remain a French satellite. 
As Napoleon’s Empire began to crumble, Murat renounced his brother-in-law and began negotiations with Austria. However, with Napoleon’s return to power in 1815 (and the fact that many of the Allies at the Congress of Vienna wanted to restore the deposed Bourbons of Sicily back to Naples) Murat sided with the Emperor again. Continue reading

October 12, 2017

Celebrating Traditional Latin Mass in Honor of Sant’Elena di Laurino

Sant'Elena di Laurino. Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Some fifty pilgrims, including a couple of Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, celebrated High Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem, New York Tuesday evening in honor of Sant’Elena di Laurino. Mass was sung by Fr. Christopher Salvatori, SAC, and included the veneration of the first class relic of Sant’Elena.
First class relic of S.Elena
Afterward, worshippers had the extraordinary opportunity to perform the traditional practice of Eucharistic Adoration for an hour in silence by candlelight, with the Eucharist displayed in a monstrance on the altar.
Thank you to the Pallotine Fathers for organizing the Mass and warmly welcoming us inside their beautiful church. It was a great joy to celebrate our faith and culture together. Evviva Sant’Elena!'

Southern Italian Halloween Costume Ideas

Thomas made a fearsome Michele Pezza,
the Neapolitan folk hero better known as "Fra Diavolo" (Devil Brother) 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Halloween is once again upon us and, in accordance with its tradition, children (and adults) must decide what costumes to wear for the festivities. Since we all have our favorite characters from Southern Italian history or folklore, we thought it would be fun and interesting to consider some of them for this year's costumes.

'O Munaciello, The Little Monk

• Munaciello  "The Little Monk" — This mischievous pint-sized Neapolitan spirit is blamed for almost everything that goes wrong, except when he wears his red cap, then he is associated with good deeds. He is small, pale and wears a monk's robes. It is best to stay on his good side.

• Bella 'Mbriana —  The most famous and beloved ghost of Naples, this princess' distraught spirit wanders the city. She has become a household guardian, and her name is invoked for protection and good fortune. The bella ‘Mbriana only appears for an instant, as a reflection in a window or through a curtain swaying in a breeze. She is associated with the gecko, a small lizard found all over Southern Italy. Continue reading

October 11, 2017

The Story of Museo Faggiano: A Family Who Discovered 2,500 Years of History Inside Their Own Home

Tonight at the Italian American Museum
Photos courtesy of the Italian American Museum
Wednesday, October 11th, 6:30 PM
The Italian American Museum cordially invites you to attend a presentation by Andrea, Marco and Davide Faggiano of The Faggiano Museum in Lecce, Italy. 
The Faggiano Museum (Museo Archeologico Faggiano) in Lecce, Italy evolved over a 7-year excavation project when Luciano Faggiano broke through a floor in his home to repair a sewer pipe. As the work began the family unexpectedly discovered archeological evidence containing a time span of 2,500 years. The excavation work exposed tombs, a granary, cisterns, Templar frescos and underground escapes. There are more than 5,000 archeological finds all in one house. The Faggiano family financed this entirely and worked under the supervision of the Archeological Superintendent of Taranto to unearth these layers of civilization. In 2008, they opened it as a private museum. Andrea, Davide and Marco will tell us their story with words and images and how their determination and spirit made this a gem of archeological history.
Light Refreshments Will Be Served
Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
(Corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets)
New York, NY 10013

Suggested donation of $10 per person
For reservations, please call the Italian American Museum at 212.965.9000
Email: ItalianAmericanMuseum@gmail.com or Fax: 347.810.1028

Around the Web – Wisdom on a Sugar Packet: Calabrian Proverbs

Photo courtesy of Calabria: The Other Italy
I recently came across a handful of photos I had snapped a couple of years earlier in a bar in Bova Marina. At what I had anticipated to be a routine roadside coffee stop in a locale at the very tip of the Italian boot, I stumbled upon entertaining sugar packets stamped with traditional Calabrian proverbs. There’s nothing like a people’s collective wisdom expressed in succinct colorful sayings.
Proverbi Calabresi – Calabrian Proverbs
The proverbi calabresi on the sugar packets were written in ‘u dialettu ‘i rriggiu (il dialetto di Reggio – Reggio dialect) and in Italian. Keep in mind, these are just a handful of the area’s many sayings that join together with those from others in the region to make up a vast body of Calabian proverbs.
The short, pithy expressions reflect the history and traditions of past generations, and today, also serve to bond the province’s inhabitants. Continue reading

October 10, 2017

Malta Walks NYC (October 2017)

This Tuesday, October 17th at 7:30 PM join the Order of Malta Auxiliary for their monthly “Malta Walk” street ministry. Volunteers meet every third Tuesday of the month at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral parish house at 263 Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan to prepare and distribute food to the homeless.

Anyone interested in supporting this noble endeavor can contact the Order of Malta Auxiliary at nycaux@orderofmaltaamerica.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.

Also see:
• Supporting the “Malta Walks” Street Ministry

October 9, 2017

Photo of the Week: A View of Monte Vesuvio

A View of Mount Vesuvius, Napoli. Photo courtesy of Andrew Giordano

October 8, 2017

The Search for our Ancestry (XLI)

By Angelo Coniglio
Ancestry refers to the subscription website www.Ancestry.com. Like many other genealogy sites, it continues to grow and add records. Compared to www.familysearch.org, it does not have as many Sicilian and Italian records, but those that it does have are much easier to browse. As mentioned previously, if you prefer not to pay for the service, Ancestry is available for free at many public libraries and at Mormon FamilySearch Centers, also referred to as Family History Centers (also called FamilySearch Centers). Find a Center near you at http://bit.ly/LocateFSCs
To view a town’s civil records of birth, marriage and death on Ancestry, you must know the name of the town’s ‘provincia’, or province (a political subdivision similar to a U. S. state or county). Generally, the largest town in a province also bears the name of the province, as the city of Palermo in Palermo Province; the city of Messina in Messina Province, and so on. Some of the provinces covered by Ancestry include the Sicilian provinces of Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Messina, and Palermo. Provinces on the mainland that are covered include Calabria, Napoli, Liguria, and others.
Enter the Ancestry site and sign in. At the top, select “Search”, then “Card Catalog”. Type in the exact name of the province. If the province is covered, a list of links to records available for it will appear. In some cases, there will be just one link, to the ‘Civil Registration Records’ of the province. Such links will lead to records for fifteen, twenty or more different towns in that province. Or, searching the province name may return a link to just one or two, or several towns in the province. It must be emphasized that the province names must be spelled exactly for these searches to work. You may have to do some preliminary research on the province’s name to be sure you use the modern spelling.  If your ancestors said they came from the province of Girgenti, for example, you need to recognize that Girgenti is now called Agrigento.
Typing a province’s name, such as Caltanissetta, in the Card Catalog search box will return the link Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1866-1939 (in Italian) Click that link, and you’ll see, on the right, ‘Browse This Collection’. Under ‘Province’ choose Caltanissetta, then click on the ‘Choose Locality’ option and you’ll see a list of twenty-three Caltanissetta provincial towns ranging from Acquaviva Platani to Villalba. Click the one you want, then you’ll be prompted to choose a ‘Record Type’.
The record types available may vary from province to province and town to town but the main ones include the following: Atti di Nascita (Birth Records); Indice Annuale Atti Nascite (Annual Indexes of Births); Atti di Matrimonio (Records of Marriage); Indice Annuale Matrimoni (Annual Indexes of Marriages); Atti di Morte (Records of Death); and Indice Annuale Morti (Annual Indexes of Deaths). Large towns may also have decennale (ten-year) indexes for births, marriages or deaths, and some have records of Pubblicazioni or Notificazioni (Marriage Banns) and corresponding indices.
The next search choice is ‘RecordYear’, and usually includes years from 1866 through 1910. Earlier records for most towns must be accessed via rented microfilms or on-line records viewed at FamilySearch Centers. I usually proceed as follows: say I’m searching for birth records; I select the province, town, and birth index for the year I want: then a page showing images of indexes will be displayed. I find the name I’m looking for and make a note of its ‘Numero di Ordine’ (Record Number). I leave the index pages displayed, then open a new ‘tab’ and follow the steps to open the birth records. Then I page through the images until I find the proper Record Number. In this way, if there are other records in the same year that are of interest to me, I can conveniently switch back and forth between the index and the images of complete records.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at http://bit.ly/SicilianStory. Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpul hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at genealogytips@aol.com