December 17, 2017

Compra Sud — Regnum Siciliae Import LLC

Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Regnum Siciliae Import LLC
3506 Captain Wendell Pruitt Way
Fort Washington, MD 20744




Visit our Compra Sud Directory for complete listing

* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

December 16, 2017

The Life and Times of Enrico Caruso at the Italian American Museum

A lecture on the life of opera legend Enrico Caruso and a screening of the silent film My Cousin presented by Comm. Aldo Mancusi, Founder and President Enrico Caruso Museum of America

Thursday, December 21st, 6:30 PM

About the film:
My Cousin (1918, 50 min.) is an American silent drama directed by Edward José and written by Margaret Turnbull. The film stars Enrico Caruso, Henry Leone, Carolina White, Joseph Riccardi, A.G. Corbelle, and Bruno Zirato.

Sincere but struggling sculptor Tommasso (played by Caruso) works in an ornamental plaster shop, but his masterpiece on the side is a bust of his cousin Caroli (also played by Caruso), who is the Metropolitan Opera's leading tenor. Tommasso hopes to marry his model Rosa, but her father, restaurant owner Pietro, wants her to find someone more settled and money-conscious, such as the greengrocer Lombardi down the street. Tommasso, he says, throws away his money, such as for a pair of tickets to take Rosa to the opera to see his famed cousin. After the opera, the cousins cross paths in the swanky Galeotto's restaurant, but when neither recognizes the other, Tommasso is generally mocked and Rosa believes him a liar and unworthy. Tommasso must recover his reputation and make a sale, preferably the Caroli bust to his cousin, in order to win Rosa back.

Refreshments will be served

Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10013

Suggested donation of $10 per person

For reservations call the Italian American Museum at 212-965-9000

The 9/11 Solidarity Creche Now On Display at Casa Belvedere

Presepio Della Solidarietà
The Solidarity Crèche was a gift by the Naples, Italy Chamber of Commerce to the NYC Fire Dept. post the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It was custom made to honor the victims and brave Firefighters, Police and EMS workers that lost their lives. It is on loan to Casa Belvedere, courtesy of the International Columbia Association of the FDNY. The artisans' meticulous attention to detail and its spectacular beauty and warmth is of museum quality.

It is an exhibit not to be missed! It will be on display outside through January 6th.

The Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere
79 Howard Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301
T. 718-273-7660 F. 718-273-0020

December 15, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Church of the Immaculate Conception

Our Lady of Guadalupe at the
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Tuesday night, I joined some two hundred pilgrims at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (414 East 14th St.) in Manhattan’s East Village to celebrate Solemn High Latin Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. Arriving just in time (7pm), I settled into one of the side pews beneath the Ninth Station of the Cross. Luckily (for me) the Mass started a little late so I was able to say a few prayers of thanks and intercession for the repose of the souls of my ancestors.
Mass was sung by Celebrant and Homilist Rev. Fr. Robert Rodriguez, Parochial Vicar at the Parish of St. Brendan & St. Ann in The Bronx. Rev. Fr. Joseph Zwosta was the Deacon and Mr. Manny Albino was the Subdeacon. The ministers of the Mass were dutifully served by Edwin Gonzalez, Robert Jurman, Samuel Howard and Thomas Vaniotis.
The extraordinary orchestral music, directed by James Wetzel and performed by Charles Weaver and Schola, featured selections from “Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe” by Ignacio de Jerusalem, an 18th century composer from Lecce, Apulia.
After Mass, attendees were invited to a festive wine and cheese reception, generously provided by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny, in the parish center.
Thank you Rev. Msgr. Kevin J. Nelan, Pastor and members of Immaculate Conception congregation for your warmth and hospitality. God bless the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny, especially Stuart and Jill Chessman, for sponsoring the Mass and their tireless efforts to promote the Tridentine Mass. As always, it was a great joy to celebrate our faith together. Ave Maria!

Francesco Messina

Self Portrait
Photo courtesy of
By Giovanni di Napoli
Francesco Messina was born on December 15, 1900 in Linguaglossa, a small town near Catania, languishing in the shadow of Mount Etna. Like many other poor Southerners he grew up outside his native Sicily, residing wherever his family could find work.
Instead of making the arduous trip across the Atlantic to the United States his father decided to try his luck in Genoa, a major port of call during the Mezzogiorno's post-unification diaspora.
In Genoa, Messina apprenticed as a marble cutter. At an early age he showed great artistic ability carving cherubs for cemeteries. Clearly destined to be a sculptor the boy practiced tirelessly, developing his skills in various mediums and excelling in terracotta and bronze. Continue reading

December 14, 2017

Feast of Sant'Agnello di Napoli

Sant'Agnello di Napoli, Scranton PA
Photo courtesy of Andrew Portelli
By Giovanni di Napoli
December 14th is the Feast Day of Sant'Agnello di Napoli, miracle worker and patron of Naples. Born in 535, it is said his parents, Giovanna and Federico, were nobles from Siracusa, Sicily, and (according to some) distantly related to Santa Lucia. Having great difficulty conceiving a child the couple invoked the Madonna on the heights of Caponapoli, the site of the city's ancient acropolis. Grateful for granting their petition, the joyous parents fulfilled their votive promise and founded the Chiesa di Santa Maria Intercede at the location of the blessing. 
According to legend, Sant'Agnello was only 20-days-old when he first spoke; saying "Hail Mary" before a statue of the Blessed Mother. At the age of fifteen he chose the ascetic life of a hermit, living for several years in solitude, praying and meditating. During this period, he may have visited Guarcino in Lazio and the Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo, an important destination for pilgrims in the Gargano region of Apulia. 
Drawn to his great reputation for holiness, exiled monks from Abitina persuaded Sant'Agnello to become their abbot at the monastery of San Gaudioso in Naples. With his inheritance he built a hospital, gave alms to the poor and worked tirelessly with the needy. His hagiography is replete with stories of healing miracles, as well as punishments meted out to those who are blasphemous and negligent with their veneration.
Sant'Agnello di Napoli, Rodio
Sant'Agnello died on December 14, 596. His relics were enshrined in the Chiesa di Sant'Agnello Maggiore Caponapoli, formally Santa Maria Intercede, which was renamed in his honor. Seriously damaged by indiscriminate Allied bombings during WWII, the church finally reopened in 2011 after a long restoration. Fragments of the original Greek temple were unearthed and are now on display. Sadly, all that remains of the former church is the high altar, a Renaissance masterpiece by Girolamo Santacroce of Nola. 
One of the early co-patrons of Naples, Sant'Agnello's cult spread beyond the city and its environs to the neighboring areas of Sorrento, Frosinone and the Cilento, most notably the towns of Pisciotta and Rodio. During the High Middle Ages the Tuscan city of Lucca claimed him as one of their patrons and believe the Saint's body was translated to the Duomo di San Martino. Controversy surrounds its authenticity as both Lucca and the Duomo di San Gennaro in Naples claim to be in possession of his relics. In modern times his devotion was brought to the New World by Neapolitan immigrants.  
Sant'Agnello di Napoli, Pisciotta
Photo courtesy of
Sant'Agnello is typically depicted bearing the banner of the Cross in his right hand and the Holy Scriptures in his left. These emblems, symbolizing faith, redemption and truth, also represent his patronage of Naples and his protection against invaders. During the Longobard Siege of Naples in 581 he appeared before the Neapolitans, banner blazoning, giving them the fortitude to drive off the attackers. The Neapolitan victory was attributed to the Saint's intercession. Legend has it this feat was repeated in 674 when Saracen raiders were put to flight after his apparition raised the standard of the cross.
In commemoration I'm posting Canto dei Pellegrini, Song of the Pilgrims.(1)
Canto dei Pellegrini

Agnel dolcissimo, 
Da te partiamo 
Ma il cor che palpita 
Noi qui lasciamo.  

D'amor purissimo 
Ognor l'accendi: 
Tu dai pericoli 
Sempre il difendi.  

Le nostre fervide 
Preci al Signore 
Per te s'innalzano 
Angel d'amore.  

Di questo popolo 
Che parte in pianto 
Il voto supplice 
Odi, o gran Santo.  

Chi vuole grazie 
Ricorre a te, 
O Sant'Agnello 
Prega per me.

(1) Canto dei Pellegrini was reprinted from

Feast of San Giovanni della Croce

Evviva San Giovanni!
December 14th is the Feast Day of San Giovanni della Croce (St. John of the Cross), Doctor of the Church and patron saint of poets and mystics. A major figure of the Counter-Reformation, St. John was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and with St. Teresa of Avila a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to St. John of the Cross. The accompanying photo was taken outside St. Athanasius School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross, in the darkness of your worst moments, when you were alone and persecuted, you found God. Help me to have faith that God is there especially in the times when God seems absent and far away. Amen 

December 13, 2017

Santa Lucia of Siracusa

Santa Lucia, Savoca, Sicily
Photo by Niccolò Graffio
By Giovanni di Napoli
December 13th is the feast day of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy), Virgin and Martyr. According to the old Julian calendar this day marked the longest night of the year, or winter solstice. Patroness of the blind, her name derives from the Latin lux, which means light. Santa Lucia is also associated with the harvest and Sicilians customarily celebrate her feast day with cuccia, a hearty porridge made with wheat berries.
Tradition has it that Lucia was born about 283 AD in Siracusa, the seat of the Roman government on the island of Sicily. She was the daughter of a wealthy Roman nobleman who died when she was very young. Her ailing mother, Eutychia, may have been of Greek stock.
Inspired by the martyrdom of Saint Agatha, who perished in 251 AD during the Christian persecutions of Emperor Decius, Lucia devoted herself to a life of Christian piety. However, when she came of age Eutychia arranged for her to marry a pagan suitor. Lucia implored her mother to allow her to remain chaste and distribute her dowry to the poor. Continue reading

December 12, 2017

Malta Walks NYC (December 2017)

This Tuesday, December 19th 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 or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at

Also see:

• Auxiliary Malta Walk in NYC, October 2017
• Auxiliary Malta Walks in NYC, July 2017

• Supporting the “Malta Walks” Street Ministry

December 11, 2017

Photo of the Week: Marina Grande, Sorrento

The beautiful harbor of Sorrento, Campania. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

December 10, 2017

Translation of the Holy House of Loreto

Evviva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
December 10th is the Feast Day of the Translation of the Blessed Mother's Holy House from Nazareth to Loreto, a hilltop town near Ancona in the central Italian region of the Marche. Before arriving to Loreto, however, the sacred dwelling first moved to Tersatto in Dalmatia (Croatia) in 1291, after the defeat of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. Appearing out of nowhere, many miracles have been attributed to the house, including the healing of the town's ailing Bishop. With the Moslem conquest of Albania in 1294 the house miraculously moved again, first to a wooded area near Recanati, then settling in Loreto. In the 15th century, the magnificent Basililca della Santa Casa was built around the Holy House, becoming one of the most popular and revered Marian shrines in the world.
Patroness of aviators, Our Lady of Loreto is also petitioned by new and potential homeowners. In commemoration I'm posting a Prayer to Our Lady of Loreto. The accompanying photo of The Translation of the Holy House of Loreto (ca. 1510) by Saturnino Gatti (L'Aquila 1463–1518) was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of art.
Prayer to Our Lady of Loreto
Our Lady of Loreto, Our Glorious Mother, we confidently turn to you; receive our humble prayer. Humanity is troubled by great evils, which it wishes to overcome on its own, and is in need of peace, justice, truth and love, yet thinks it can find these divine realities away from your Son.
O Mother! You, who carried the Divine Savior in your immaculate womb and lived with Him in the Holy House that we venerate on the Loreto Hill, grant us the grace to seek Him and imitate His example, He who leads us to salvation.

December 9, 2017

The Search for our Ancestry (XLIII)

On-Line Records, CONTINUED
Angelo Coniglio
My last few columns have dealt with on-line sources of Sicilian and Italian records: familysearch  www.familysearch,org; the Italian Antenati site http://bitly/ItalianRecordsPortal); and Ancestry These are sites that allow viewing (and in many cases downloading and/or printing) of images of original records of actual birth, marriage, death, and other personal records of our ancestors. Below is a brief summary. The images available on each venue are ultimately attributable to their filming by the members of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church.
familysearch – the free site of the LDS church, with options to build family trees, view tutorials, and locate vital records of all types from around the world.  There is access to civil and ecclesiastical records that have now been digitized for on-line viewing. The previously rented microfilms are still on hand at FHC’s but further rentals are discontinued.
Regions covered: virtually all of Sicily and Italy, but a concise comprehensive list is not presented. You must go to an on-line catalog and search by the town and province of interest.
Time span covered: essentially, whatever period for which records still exist; in some cases, civil records from the early 1800’s through the early 1900’s and church records from as early as the 1400’s.
Access: many records, generally from 1866 through the early 1900’s are accessible on personal computers or devices, requiring only (free) registration on the site. Earlier records require that they be viewed on a FamilySearch Center computer, or by a member of the LDS.

Browsing: the site is in a state of flux. For some towns, the records may be accessed in a format resembling the actual microfilms; several years or categories (birth, marriage, etc.) that must be ‘scrolled’ through sequentially, as on a microfilm reel. For others, that option is available, as well as the option to specifically view one year for one category. The latter sounds easier, but if you don’t know the exact year, scrolling the whole film may be more desirable. In either case, the images are presented in an array of small ‘thumbnail images’ that can be browsed more quickly.
Antenati – the Italian site posts only civil records, in cooperation with LDS.  Directions and links are in the Italian language.
Regions covered: currently, 47 provinces and regions, including 5 of the island of Sicily’s 9 provinces, and several which were part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Time span covered: Napoleonic (1800 – 1815); Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1816 – 1865); and Kingdom of Italy (1866 – early 1900’s). Each of the periods is accessed under separate headings.
Access: free on personal computers or devices, requiring no registration.

Browsing: similar to the familysearch site, but directions are in Italian. A list of provinces provides easy selection at http://bitly/ItalianRecordsPortal.  Categories can be separately selected.
Ancestry – civil records, in cooperation with the LDS. For some records there is a delay as the images are loaded from familysearch.
Regions covered: indeterminate. Click ‘Card Catalog’ under the ‘Search’ menu and type in the name of the town or province.
Time span covered: Kingdom of Italy (1866 – early 1900’s). 
    Access: paid subscription on personal computers or devices, or free at LDS FamilySearch Centers and some public libraries. 

Browsing: In my opinion, the best of the three. The categories, and indices to each category, are listed and accessible separately. 
Once a record is found, I advise that you download it to your computer and/or print it out. The process is different for each venue. On familysearch, some records are restricted from printing or downloading because of agreements with the individual sources. On the Antenati site, as on Ancestry, there is a feature allowing you to save the image to your computer.

If your ancestral town’s records are on all three of these sites, you’re lucky, because records that are missing from one may well be on another. Be sure to check all three. You must embark on your own search, and sometimes learn by trial and error the idiosyncrasies of uncovering your own ancestors’ records.  But it’s worth it!
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 Coniglio’s web page at 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

December 8, 2017

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (ca. 1680)
Gilt bronze and silver, probably after a model by Lorenzo Vaccaro 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free from original sin. She is the patroness of the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the United States of America. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to the Immaculate Conception. The accompanying photos of the gilded statue of Virgin of the Immaculate Conception were taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Buona Festa dell'Immacolata!
Prayer to the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Traditional Solemn Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in NYC

December 7, 2017

Feast of Sant’Ambrogio

Evviva Sant'Ambrogio!
December 7th is the Feast Day of Sant’Ambrogio (St. Ambrose), Confessor and Doctor of the Church. Protector of the Sicilian comunes of Cerami in Enna, and Buccheri in Siracusa, St. Ambrose is also, inter alia, the patron saint of Bee keepers, candle makers and students. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to St. Ambrose. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Michael's Church (29 Wooster Place) in New Haven, Connecticut
Prayer to St. Ambrose
O God, You give blessed Ambrose to Your people as a minister of eternal salvation; grant, we pray You, that as on earth he was a teacher of supernatural life, so we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven. Amen.

December 6, 2017

Argenio Napoli Presents Their New Line at ACQUA Restaurant

Annamaria and Salvatore Argenio presenting their new line at ACQUA Restaurant
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By John Napoli
As our readers may or may not know, we at Il Regno are big proponents of the Compra Sud, or Buy South initiative. Put simply, we support individuals and businesses that promote southern Italian interests so they can keep providing their desired services. So when I learned that Argenio Napoli, one of the leading fashion houses of Naples and official distributor of the Real Casa dei Borbone Two Sicilies, was presenting their new line of designer accessories at ACQUA Restaurant and Wine bar in Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport District, I immediately knew where I would be Tuesday night.
Table laden with handbags, silk scarves and watches
Warmly received at the entrance by executive chef Giuseppe Marrone and maître d' Luca Lerario, I was happy to see the restaurant was packed to the gills with revelers, diners and potential clients. Slowly making my way through the lively throng to greet the evening’s guests of honor, I found Annamaria and Salvatore Argenio rubbing elbows with many friends, well-wishers and admirers.
Pens, ties and jewelry boxes on display
On display were a wide selection of purses, silk scarves, ties, watches, jewelry boxes, and more. Emblazoned with the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies or other famous Neapolitan cultural themes, such as the San Carlo Opera House, the Royal Navy, and the famed Farnese Hercules, the merchandise combined southern Italian culture and history with the elegance and quality that has become synonymous with the prestigious Argenio name. Even San Gennaro, the patron Saint of Naples, made an appearance on a fashionable set of cameo cufflinks.
Blazer badges embroidered with silver and gold wire bullion
Not only is everything made in southern Italy by local artisans, but also in some cases Napoli itself literally gets incorporated into the products. Sold out before I even got there, Argenio’s new beaded bracelets are made with beads carved from lava rock from Mount Vesuvius and the famed red coral curniciello from Torre del Greco. Variations of the bracelet sport other lucky charms, including the auspicious and adorable Podarcis sicula, or wall lizard, commonly found throughout southern Italy.
New stilo and roller pens with Constantinian Cross
Guests mingled and enjoyed bountiful platters of antipasti with wine while perusing the couturier’s stylish wares. In addition to ACQUA’s impressive selection of southern Italian varietals, representatives of Tribeca Vini; Sertura, Vini di Irpina; and Judeka Winery from Sicily offered partygoers a taste of their spectacular vintages. I especially enjoyed the full-bodied aglianico by Mastrodomenico from Basilicata and the primitivo by Casa Primis from Puglia.
Guests enjoy fine food, high fashion and fellowship
Chef Marrone treated us to an assortment of delicious southern Italian delicacies, including his renowned arancini tartufo, polpo alla griglia, and dainty cuttlefish ink gnocchi slathered with a mouthwatering spicy crab meat and Piennolo Vesuvio cherry tomato sauce. As is the custom at ACQUA, dinner was followed with a little Amaro del Capo and Giuseppe’s potent homemade limoncello. Needless to say, we capped-off our feast with a variety of desserts and, of course, some piping hot caffè. 
Affettati e formaggi
After dinner, yours truly treated myself to an exquisite navy blue fountain pen embellished with the Borbone fleur-de-lis and cross of the Sacro Militare Ordine Costantiniano di San Giorgio. So not to ruin the surprise, I won’t reveal the other items I purchased, but needless to say my loved ones will be elated with the handsome Christmas presents St. Nicholas will be leaving in their stockings this year.
Bruschetta al pomodoro and patè di funghi
Don’t fret if you couldn’t make the Argenio presentation this time around, Salvatore and Annamaria are planning to return to New York City again this March, just in time for Easter. In the meantime, you can always visit ACQUA Restaurant (21 Peck Slip) for a delicious meal and get to know Giuseppe, his friendly and attentive staff, and experience true Duesiciliano hospitality.
Polpo alla griglia e ceci

Feast of San Nicola di Bari

Viva San Nicola!
December 6th is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas the wonderworker, patron saint of children and sailors. His generosity and love for young ones is the inspiration for the modern day Santa Claus. 
Born in the Lycian city of Patara in the third century, Saint Nicholas dedicated his life to God and served as bishop of Myra until his death in 343 AD. Many miracles were attributed to him and his tomb became a popular destination for pilgrims. The Saint's bones also exuded manna, a clear liquid that was reputed to have healing properties. 
In 1087, after Myra fell under the control of the Seljuk Empire, Barese mariners spirited his relics back to Bari before they could be desecrated. The translation of his relics to the Basilica di San Nicola was cause for celebration and each May 9th, with great fanfare, the Barese reenact his arrival by taking a statue and icon of the Saint out to sea and back again. The miracle of the manna continues to this very day. Holy water infused with the precious liquid is distributed to the faithful. 
To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting A Prayer For Children. The accompanying photo of Saint Nicholas was taken at Saint Dominic RC Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York.
A Prayer For Children
God, our Father, we pray that through the intercession of Saint Nicholas you will protect our children. Keep them safe from harm and help them grow and become worthy of Your sight.
Give them strength to keep their Faith in You, and to keep alive their joy in Your creation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

Also see: Photo of the Week: St. Nicholas, the Fasting Child

Traditional Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Stained glass window in the Cathedral of St. James, Brooklyn, New York
Photo courtesy of the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny
Friday, December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation. The following churches have scheduled traditional Masses.

St. Mary Church, Norwalk, CT, Low Mass 7:30 am; Solemn Mass 5:30 pm.

Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, Bridgeport, CT, 7:45 am Low Mass, 6:00 pm High Mass (Consecration to the Immaculate Conception prior to Mass)

Holy Innocents Church, NY, Low Mass 8 am, Missa Cantata, 6 pm.

Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, NY, Low Mass, 7:45 am; Solemn Mass, 7:30 pm. After the 7:30 pm Mass there will be the National Night of Prayer for Life concluding at 5 am with a Rorate Mass. Information

Immaculate Conception Church, Sleepy Hollow, NY, 7 pm, Low Mass.

Source: The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny

December 5, 2017

Celebrating the First Sunday of Advent at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Mass programs and Sacred Heart prayer book
I’m ashamed to say it has been a couple of weeks since I’ve been able to attend a Traditional Latin Mass, so despite feeling a bit under the weather I did not want to miss the First Sunday of Advent at Holy Name of Jesus Church (245 Prospect Park West) in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Not that I needed added incentive, but sadly this was also going to be the last Tridentine Mass at Holy Name in 2017.

Arriving early, I began my Holy Hour near the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and made my usual prayers of thanks and praise, as well as intercession for the happy repose of the souls of my ancestors.

Mass was sung by Celebrant and homilist Fr. Joseph Zwosta, in residence at St. Mark RC Church in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Fr. Christopher Salvatori SAC was the Deacon and Fr. Tomasz Szczepanczyk was the Subdeacon. The sacred ministers were dutifully assisted by Robert Jurman, MC, Eddie Toribio, James Barrett, Christopher Carvajal, Brian Hilley, Andres Giraldo, James Pierre, Lorenzo Tinio and Ricardo Kinch.

The motets and Mass setting were composed by director and organist David Adam Smith. They were gloriously chanted by Daniel Greenwood, Art Bryan Manabat, Michael Hofmann and Sean Salamon.

Thank you Rev. Lawrence D. Ryan, Pastor and members of the Holy Name congregation for your continued warmth and hospitality. Special thanks to Cindy Brolsma and organizers for your hard work and dedication. As always, it was a great joy to celebrate our faith together and we eagerly await the release of the 2018 Traditional Latin Mass schedule for Holy Name from our friends at Brooklyn Latin Mass.

From all of us at Il Regno, we wish you all a blessed Advent.

The Pipes of the Mezzogiorno

Zampogna, Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
The bagpipes are an ancient instrument, dating back thousands of years; they're even mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:21). Here in America we normally associate the bagpipes with the Irish and Scottish, who have a long and storied tradition with this wonderful instrument. However, many Americans, even those of Italian ancestry, are unaware that Italy has an ancient bagpipe tradition of it's own. Ironically, this tradition is not in the North where there was more Celtic influence, but rather in the South, with its ancient Hellenic heritage.
Each year, beginning at the feast of the Immaculate Conception right through the Christmas season, peasant musicians, called pifferari e zampognari (fifers and pipers), make their way from town to town playing traditional songs. The pifferari e zampognari are so much a part of the Christmas tradition in Southern Italy that they have become customary characters, almost as obligatory as the Magi, in the elaborate Neapolitan presepio or Nativity scene (another venerable Southern Italian folk art dedicated to the holiday season). Continue reading

December 4, 2017

Feast of Santa Barbara

Evviva Santa Barbara!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
December 4th is the Feast Day of Santa Barbara of Nicomedia, virgin and martyr. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, she is invoked against lightning, fire and diseases. Widely venerated across southern Italy she is the principal patroness of Sommatino (CL), Paternò (CT), Gravà (CT), Tremestieri Etneo (CT), Castellana Sicula (PA), Villaggio Mosè (AG), Malò (ME), Francavilla di Sicilia (ME), Davoli (CZ), Amaroni (CZ), Salento (SA), and Corleto Monforte (SA), among others. 
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in her honor. The accompanying photo of the saint was taken at the Museo del Duomo in Ravello.
Prayer to Saint Barbara
O God, Who didst adorn Thy holy virgin and martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfilment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Photo of the Week: Ruins at Parco Archeologico di Paestum

Ruins at Parco Archeologico di Paestum, Salerno
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

December 3, 2017


The Sunday nearest to the Feast of Sant’Andrea Apostolo (Nov. 30th) is the beginning of the Western Church’s liturgical year and the season of Advent (Avvento in Italian). It is a time of charity, prayer and fasting in which the faithful are admonished to worthily prepare ourselves for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the second and final coming of our King and Savior. Familiar southern Italian customs include the making and displaying of ornate presepi (Nativity Scenes) and traditional bagpipe music performed by zampognari and pifferari (pipers and fifers). To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer for Advent. The accompanying photo of lifelike zampognari figures was taken at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Annual Angel Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche exhibit.
Advent Prayer
Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Around the Web: The Ceramics of Seminara, Calabria – In the Studio of Enzo Ferraro

I Giganti, The Giants, tile mural by Enzo Ferraro along the road in Palmi, Calabria
Photo courtesy of Calabria: The Other Italy
Inspired by folklore and tradition, colorful ceramics are the trademark of the Southern Italian town of Seminara. I recently had the opportunity to visit one of Seminara’s five remaining workshops and to meet with Enzo Ferraro, a Calabrian ceramicist with over a century of family history devoted to the craft. 
A Brief History of Seminara, Calabria
Seminara is located at the tip of the Italian boot about 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Reggio Calabria between Palmi and Bagnara Calabra. Its noteworthy political past includes turn-of-the-15th-century battles associated with the Italian Wars and a 1535 visit by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who entered Seminara in a triumphal cortege to celebrate his victory over the Ottomans in Tunis. 
Historically, the town has also had a reputation for its fine olive oil and silk. By the end of the 16th century Seminara had a population of over 7,000, two and a half times that of today. Continue reading