January 27, 2020

Photo of the Week: Il Reuccio (the Little King)

Statue of Charles II, King of Spain, in Naples, by Francesco D'Angelo
Photo by Andrew Giordano

January 26, 2020

Marching for Life in Washington D.C.

Marchers stream down Constitution Avenue, which was lined with TFP standards
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Early Friday morning members of the Fratelli della Santa Fede (Brothers of the Holy Faith) gathered at the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in Manhattan to join our fellow parishioners on the bus ride down to Washington D.C. for the 47th Annual March For Life. Led by Fr. Christopher Salvatori, SAC, Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (448 East 116th St.) in East Harlem, New York, our five hour long trek flew by relatively quickly as we utilized our time on the road by praying the Holy Rosary, the Angelus (at noon) and the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, among others. We also had the opportunity to watch the critically-acclaimed pro-life film Unplanned (2019), based on the memoir by Abby Johnson, a former clinic director for Planned Parenthood.

Dropped off near the Washington Monument, we quickly joined the massive rally marching from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. Unsure of the actual number of participants, specious estimates made by the media range from “tens of thousands” to “100,000.” To be honest, from what I saw these tallies seem paltry. In fact, I would even go so far as to say there were as many as half a million people in attendance. Whatever the number, the one thing for certain is my photos don't do justice to the March.

With Donald Trump being the first President ever to speak at the rally, I expected to see some poor deluded counter protestors, especially the way the media likes to lie and drum up controversy. However, from my vantage point I didn’t see any. This isn’t to say they weren’t there, I’m just saying I didn’t see them. Unfortunately, I did spot a handful of anti-Catholic signs; however, these focused on religious differences, not abortion.

Considering the gravity of the cause, I was more than a little surprised by the festive atmosphere. Curious, I was told many of the younger marchers consider the rally to be a celebration of life and family, as opposed to just a somber protest against Roe v. Wade. Exited and energized, they were loud and vocal, but very well behaved. I’m happy to say, I didn’t see any provocateurs harassing or goading them into trouble.

Eventually splitting from the March, our group went to St. Mary Mother of God Church (727 5th St.) to attend the packed Eighth Annual Votive Mass of the Holy Innocents for the remembrance and repose of the soul of pro-life activist Nellie Jane Gray. The most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was sung by Celebrant Msgr. Charles Pope, Pastor of Holy Comforter—St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C. The Deacon was Rev. James Bradley, Assistant Prof. of Canon Law at Catholic University of America; and the Subdeacon was Rev. Ernest Cibelli, Pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown, Maryland. The Sacred Ministers were dutifully assisted by several servers; Organist R. Bray McDonnell; the Schola Cantorum of St. John the Baptist Church in Allentown, New Jersey; and the Schola Cantorum of St. Mary Mother of God.

The Mass was beautiful and we met a lot of nice people down there, but the truth is I hope the need for us to gather again under these circumstances becomes unnecessary. I will continue to support the pro-life cause as best I can, nonetheless I long to see the day when all the abortion mills are closed and we finally put an end to this barbaric and baleful practice. Only then can we converge on the nation’s capital and truly celebrate life and family. Holy Innocents, ora pro nobis!

~ Giovanni di Napoli, January 25th, Feast of the Conversion of San Paolo
(L) The first of two buses arrives at Holy Innocent Church in Manhattan.
(R) In D.C., the buses let us off near the Washington Monument
Fr. Salvatori led us in the march 
(Above & below) Everywhere I looked I saw a sea of people
(L) Sanfedista with the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
(R) The religious and laity turned out in force
(L) Personally I'm not too keen on people dressing up as Our
Lord, but this character was very popular among the marchers.
(R) A tactless protestor felt no compunction about insulting Catholics
Images of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
above the bye-altars inside St. Mary Mother of God Church
While going to visit the statue of the infant of Prague
I discovered the shrine devoted to Blessed Karl of Austria
Portrait of the Emperor and mounted wall reliquary
After Mass, devotees lined up to venerate the Peace Emperor
(L) The High Altar. (R) Celebrants greet the pilgrims outside the church
It was an honor to meet Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

January 25, 2020

Feast of the Conversion of San Paolo Apostolo

Viva San Paolo!
January 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of San Paolo (Saint Paul), Apostle and Martyr. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Aversa (CE), Solarino (SR), Palazzolo Acreide (SR), Seclì (LE), and Casale di Carinola (CE), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Paul. The accompanying photo (courtesy of Lucian) was taken outside Saint Paul RCC in Philadelphia, PA.

Prayer to St. Paul

O Glorious St. Paul, after persecuting the Church you became by God's grace its most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth you joyfully endured prison, scourging, stoning, and shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to bring the faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising him in heaven for all eternity. Amen

January 24, 2020

Commemorating the Death of King Louis XVI of France, the Feast of Sant’Agnese, and My Birthday

Partygoers take a group pic before saying sayonara to Hiro
Domine salvum fac Regem et exaudi nos in die qua invocaverimus te. 1

Tuesday, January 21st — Despite the proximity to my birthday, when my Sanfedisti brethren suggested we commemorate the death of King Louis XVI of France (1754-1793), I expected to do just that. Busting out my framed portrait of the King and printing out copies of the old motet Domine, salvum fac Regem (Lord, save the King) in Latin and English, little did I know they were going to surprise me with a birthday dinner.

In hindsight, I should have suspected something when they suggested going to Hiro’s, a quaint little Japanese restaurant in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Even though it seemed like a strange choice of venue for the commemoration, I didn’t want to be difficult and just went along with the program. Personally, I would have preferred a nice French bistro, but to be honest the few I’m familiar with would probably have been less suitable considering the kitschy drapeau français decor and all the liberté, égalité, fraternité nonsense. (I have the same misgivings whenever I see the tricolore at an Italian restaurant.)
(L) Portrait of HM King Louis XVI of France. (R) Opening the gifts.
As happy as I was they wanted to celebrate my birthday, I was really looking forward to commemorating the martyred French Monarch and the Feast of St. Agnes. Setting the picture up at the table, we handed out the prayer sheets and said grace. Since our buddy Lorenzo is the most proficient in Latin he also led us in saying the prayers for St. Agnes and King Louis.

A BYOB restaurant, we came well prepared. Opening the wine, we made frequent toasts to the kings of yore, the saints, and friendship. Since I’m no connoisseur of Japanese cuisine, and I have no problem eating anything, I left the ordering to my hungry companions Andrew and Carmine, who seemingly ordered the entire menu as a wide range of sushi, sashimi and other delicious oriental delicacies steadily arrived at our table.
Reliquary with certificate of authenticity
After dinner, we polished off the rest of the wine, ate some unusual mochi ice cream, and opened a few gifts. In addition to the roisterous dinner, my friends gave me a much needed, though short-lived, bottle of Liqueur Strega. I was very surprised and deeply touched to receive a reliquary containing two small stones from the Apparition Grotto at the Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo in Gargano, Puglia. Knowing my deep devotion to the Prince of the Heavenly Host, Lorenzo brought back this little treasure from his recent pilgrimage to the Sanctuary.

Before calling it quits, we opened up the Strega and had the restaurant’s few remaining clientele (who happened to be a friendly group of Neapolitans and Calabrians from Rutherford, New Jersey) around our table in no time drinking and toasting the memory of the King. Viva ‘o Rre! and viva Sant'Agnese!

Wednesday, January 22nd — What better way to celebrate my actual birthday than by attending the Votive High Mass for Peace at the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in Manhattan? Arriving in time for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic Adoration, I sat in quiet contemplation. Thinking a lot lately about my parents and grandparents, I lit a few candles by the statues of our familial patrons—the Infant of Prague and St. Thérèse of Lisieux—and prayed for the poor and forgotten Souls in Purgatory.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux and the Infant of Prague at Holy Innocents
Fr. Michael C. Barone, Chaplain for the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey and the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, celebrated the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Dutifully assisted by MC Eddie Toribio and several servers, the Schola Cantorum sounded extra good that evening.

After Mass, the faithful recited the prayers for the ongoing Church Unity Octave, also known as the Chair of Unity Octave. Offering my Holy Communion and Holy Mass for the intention, we prayed for the Conversion of America. This was soon followed by the parish’s perpetual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Joseph, which included a series of Indulgenced Prayers, Invocations, the Prayer to the Blessed Virgin by St. Alphonsus Ligouri, and the Daily Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope Leo XIII. Ending with the Benediction and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, we had the opportunity to venerate the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the altar rail.
My aunt baked me a Italian cheesecake
Truly blessed, back home I was treated to an incredible dinner by my loved ones. For as long as I can remember, my parents made me fresh cavatelli con ragù alla Napoletano and a homemade cake for my birthday. This being my first year without them, my aunt and uncle surprised me with a delicious home-cooked meal reminiscent of my parents.

~ Giovanni di Napoli, January 23rd, Feast of St. Emerentiana

(1) Lord, save the King, and hear us when we call upon thee.

January 22, 2020

February Rosary Rally of Reparation in New York City

Servant of God Sister Lúcia dos Santos, St. Francisco Marto & St. Jacinta Marto
On Saturday, February 22nd at 12 noon a Rosary Rally of Reparation to offer Our Lord and Our Lady consolation for the conversion of poor sinners will be held in front of Macy’s on Herald Square, Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the death of St. Jacinta Marto as well as the Feast Day of St. Jacinta and her brother St. Francisco on February 20th. February 22nd is the Saturday closest to these events. The children of Fatima offered daily sacrifices for the salvation of poor souls. This Rally will be offered in their honor and in imitation of them to help convert sinners.

Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents
128 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018

Feast of San Domenico di Sora

Viva San Domenico!
January 22nd is the Feast Day of San Domenico di Sora, Benedictine abbot and founder of several hermitages and monasteries in the Kingdom of Naples. Renowned for his healing miracles, San Domenico is invoked against poisonous snakebites, rabid dogs, fever and toothaches. Widely venerated across Southern Italy, the great healer is the principal patron of Sora (Terra di Lavoro), Colcullo (AQ), Pizzoferrato (CH), Villalago (AQ) and Fornelli (IS), among others. 
Each May in Colcullo, the town celebrates the Festa dei Serpari, or Feast of the Snake Handlers, in honor of their beloved patron. The event draws thousands of pilgrims each year.
During the festivities, San Domenico’s statue is covered with live snakes and paraded through the streets with great fanfare. Among the saint’s relics on display at the local church are his molar and his mule’s iron horse shoe. The tooth is reputed to heal snake bites, while the horse shoe (a common symbol for good luck) is said to protect the town’s animals from danger. 
Popular custom says if you pull the chain of the church doorbell with your teeth you will be protected from toothaches. It’s common to see people wrap a handkerchief around the chain links, bite down, and ring the bell.
Some believe the snake ritual dates back to pagan times when the local Marsi tribes worshiped the telluric snake-goddess Angitia, daughter of Aeëtes, who taught the art of medicine to her devotees. The snake, among other things, is an ancient symbol of healing. Consider the serpent entwined Rod of Asclepius, the staff of the ancient Greek god of medicine and healing still used today by medical institutions.
To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to San Domenico Abate. The accompanying photo of the saint comes courtesy of Made in South Italy Today.
Prayer to San Domenico Abate
O glorious San Domenico, beloved patron and miracle worker, you served God in humility and confidence on earth. Now you enjoy His beatific vision in heaven. You persevered till death and gained the crown of eternal life. With your strength protect us, your devotees, from the venom of wild animals and the torment of toothaches. Amen.

January 21, 2020

Celebrating the Second Sunday After the Epiphany and the Feast of San Catello Vescovo

My new Holy Innocents medal
O ye glorious martyrs, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna; O ye illustrious doctors of the Church, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Basil, who worked and suffered so much for purity of faith and the salvation of the souls entrusted to your paternal care, look down from heaven upon your beloved Eastern lands, which forgetful of your teaching and example, live now separated from the body of the true Church. By your powerful intercession, O ye holy Eastern Fathers, obtain for all separated Oriental Christians the grace to return to the center of unity, and to form with us one and the same family, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. ~ Prayer to the Fathers of the Eastern Church
Sunday morning members of the Fratelli della Santa Fede (Brothers of the Holy Faith) gathered at the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in Manhattan for both the 9:00 am Tridentine Low Mass and the 10:30 am Tridentine High Mass for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany and the Feast of San Catello Vescovo. Our Pastor Fr. James Miara was the celebrant at both.

My Grandmother's pewter statuette
of the Infant of Prague and the back
of the Society of the Little Flower
membership card with the image
of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Between the Masses we made Confession, prayed the Holy Rosary, and said our daily prayers of thanks and praise. Having just discovered my late Grandmother’s old pewter pocket statuette of the Infant of Prague and her membership card to the Society of the Little Flower, I visited the church’s statue of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. I lit some candles in her memory and prayed for the poor and forgotten Souls in Purgatory.
At the conclusion of each Mass, the faithful recited the prayers for the Church Unity Octave, also known as the Chair of Unity Octave. Beginning on January 18th, the Feast of the Chair of San Pietro, Traditional Catholics pray for the conversion of those outside the fold. In charity, we offered our Holy Communion and Holy Mass for the intention and prayed for the return of the separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. With a different intension each day, the devotion concludes on January 25th, the Feast of the Conversion of San Paolo.
After Mass, we joined our fellow parishioners downstairs in Holy Innocents Hall for coffee and refreshments. While mingling with friends, I was generously given a medal with Our Lady of Guadalupe on one side and the Holy Innocents on the other by a very affable couple I’ve recently become friendly with. As much as we wanted to stay and continue our celebration, we all had prior engagements and called it an early day. Evviva San Catello!
~ Giovanni di Napoli, January 20th, the Feast of San Sebastiano

Feast of Sant'Agnese, Vergine e Martire

Evviva Sant'Agnese!
January 21st is the Feast Day of Sant'Agnese (Saint Agnes), Virgin and Martyr. Patron saint of young girls, chastity and rape victims, she is the principal protectress of Pineto (TE), Corropoli (TE), and Sava di Baronissi (SA). To commemorate the occasion, I’m posting a prayer to St. Agnes. The accompanying photo was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Dating from the third quarter of the 17th century, the bronze statuette was modeled after a work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Prayer to St. Agnes
O Little St. Agnes, so young and yet made so strong and wise by the power of God, protect by your prayers all the young people of every place whose goodness and purity are threatened by the evils and impurities of this world. Give them strength in temptation and a true repentance when they fail.  Help them to find true Christian friends to accompany them in following the Lamb of God and finding safe pastures in His Church and in her holy sacraments. May you lead us to the wedding banquet of heaven to rejoice with you and all the holy martyrs in Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Maestro Caputo Celebrates Puglia at Sacred Hearts — St. Stephen Church in Brooklyn, New York

January 20, 2020

Feast of San Sebastiano Martire

Viva San Sebastiano!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 20th is the Feast Day of San Sebastiano (Saint Sebastian), martyr and patron saint of soldiers and athletes. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Melilli (SR), Cerami (EN), Tortorici (ME), Maniace (CT), Acireale (CT), San Sebastiano al Vesuvio (NA), Caserta (CE), Conca della Campania (CE), Aiello del Sabato (AV) and Martirano (CZ), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Sebastian. The accompanying photo was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montclair, New Jersey.  
Prayer to Saint Sebastian
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings, for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May soldiers be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.

Viva 'o Rre! Remembering HM Carlo di Borbone, Re di Napoli e di Sicilia

b. Madrid, January 20, 1716 – d. Madrid, December 14, 1788
Also see:
Photo of the Week: Charles of Bourbon on Horseback

Photo of the Week: Commemorative Medal for the 280th Anniversary of the Coronation of Carlo di Borbone
• Tricentennial of the Birth of King Carlo di Borbone
• The Great Restorer: Charles of Bourbon
• Remember Bitonto!
• Remembering the Battle of Bitonto
• Photo of the Week: L’Obelisco Carolino di Bitonto
• Photo of the Week: Statue of Charles of Bourbon

Photo of the Week: Charles of Bourbon on Horseback

Carlo di Borbone a Cavallo, Caserta, Royal Palace
Photo by Andrew Giordano

January 19, 2020

Malta Walk NYC

This Tuesday, January 21st, 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@orderofmaltaamerican.org or call 917-566-3937. For additional information, the Order can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/maltaauxiliarynyc.

Celebrating the Feast of Sant'Antuono Abate

Fucarazzo di Sant'Antuono, or St. Anthony’s Bonfire
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Friday, January 17th — The Sanfedisti reconvened in Manhattan Friday evening at the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) for the Feast of St. Anthony the Abbot. Arriving in time for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic Adoration, we sat in quiet contemplation before praying the Perpetual novena for “The Return Crucifix,” the Holy Rosary, and for the Holy Father’s good intensions. Following the Benediction, the faithful had the opportunity to venerate the Relic of the True Cross by the altar rail. Tridentine Low Mass was celebrated by our pastor Fr. James Miara.
(L) Sant'Antuono prayer cards with missal. (R) The Return Crucifix
Racing back to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn we joined our San Rocco Society brethren at our friend Stephen’s house for dinner, drinks, and, of course, the Fucarazzo di Sant'Antuono, or St. Anthony’s Bonfire. For the longest time, the fête was a quiet, intimate affair, but in recent years it has steadily grown with family and friends clamoring to take part in this ancient folk tradition. 

After dinner, which was generously provided by the La Rocca family, devotees once again braved the cold and huddled around the festive conflagration to enjoy the warmth of the mesmerizing flames, dance, sing hymns, and pray to our glorious patron. Viva Sant’Antonio!
Our gracious hosts Stephen and Lucia
Partygoers enjoyed a delicious repast
Lucy, Andrew and Anna
John and Maria 
Abstaining from meat on Fridays, I enjoyed some delicious
crocchè di patate, 
frittata di maccheroni and zucchini fritti
(L) Donations for the upcoming Feast of San Rocco were 
pinned onto the Saint's statue. (R) Rucolino, amaro alla rucola 
We quickly polished off another bottle of Amaro Lucano 
The Sanfedisti can always be counted on to fly 
the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Andrew gets the fire started as Steve leads us in prayer
An old Christmas tree is tossed onto the fire 
(Above & below) It quickly turns into a towering inferno
Devotees gather around the firepit for some warmth
Revelers sing traditional Neapolitan folk songs and dance around the fire 
(Above & below) A good time was had by all 
Raymond, Marco and Giorgio
(L) John and Lucy. (R) Andrew tends the fire
The festivities continued well into the night
Also see:
• Commemorating HM Francesco II di Borbone and the Fucarazzo di Sant'Antuono in Bellmore, Long Island