September 29, 2012

Feast of the Archangels

The Archangel Michael smiting Satan
(Photo by New York Scugnizzo)
September 29 is the Feast Day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. In celebration I'm posting The Saint Michael Prayer.(*) The accompanying photo of Saint Michael the Archangel smiting Satan was taken at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Two Bridges, NYC.

The Saint Michael Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

(*) The Saint Michael Prayer, reprinted from Our Catholic Prayers

September 28, 2012

Announcing the 2012 S.S. Crocifisso Procession in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Flier (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)
Sorry for the short notice, but I just discovered this event today.


September 30, 2012 (3:00 PM)

Club Carinesi D'America
7618 17th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11214

The procession, organized by the Club Carinesi D'America, will begin at the society's club (7618 17th Avenue) and make its way through the neighborhood for Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (15th Avenue and 73rd Street, Brooklyn, New York).

For more information call (718) 256-7603

September 27, 2012

The Last Days of September

The "Four Days of Naples" Remembered
Scene from the siege of Naples (September, 1943)
By Niccolò Graffio
“See Naples and die.” (Vedi Napoli e poi muori) – Italian proverb (variously ascribed to Virgil, Goethe and Humboldt)
The city of Naples is one of the oldest, continually inhabited cities in all of Italy, if not Europe. Tradition has it Greek settlers from Euboea founded a colony at the site sometime in the 8th century BC. Archaeologists, however, believe the earliest settlers were Greek sailors from Rhodes who established a mercantile colony on the tiny island of Megaride almost 100 years earlier. They named this colony Parthenope.

Around the 5th century BC these settlers were displaced by new arrivals from the Greek colony of Cumae. Reaching the mainland, these displaced settlers founded a new colony they named Neapolis (Gr: “New City”). In time Parthenope came to be absorbed into the growing city, being renamed simply Palaiopolis (Gr: “Old City”).

The harbor setting for this city was ideal, allowing its inhabitants to harvest the fauna of its waters while simultaneously trading with peoples from far away. The wealth this brought in allowed the city’s rulers to construct a formidable set of walls to protect it from invaders. During the Second Punic War with Rome (218 – 201 BC) the mighty Carthaginian general Hannibal was forced to retreat from before them. Although by this time Naples was part of the Roman world, it never forgot its Greek roots. In fact, to this day the people of Naples still refer to themselves as Parthenopéi (“Parthenopeans”). Continue reading

September 26, 2012

Feast of Saints Cosimo and Damiano

Saints Cosimo and Damiano
(Photos by New York Scugnizzo)
September 26th is the Feast Day of Saints Cosimo and Damiano, patrons of physicians and surgeons. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian.(*) The accompanying photo of the martyrs was taken at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (627 East 187th Street) in the Bronx, NYC. The picture of the wax ex-voto was taken at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Two Bridges, NYC.

Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian

Wax ex-voto
Oh glorious martyrs of Christ, Saints Cosmas and Damian, you gave your lives for the love of God, benefiting your fellow man, and crowning your martyrdom with an open and loyal profession of your faith. You taught us to love God above all things, and to love our fellow man as ourselves, professing always, and without fear, the religion of Jesus. 

Augmenting amongst the faithful populace many miracles, you are glorious indeed. Through your intercession, which brings about deliverance of these miracles, we pray to you for your aid in all things. May your patronage never be far from us in the illness of our body and soul. 

Oh great protectors, Saints Cosmas and Damian, assist us with your love and free us from all evils.

Amen

(*) Prayer to Saints Cosmas and Damian was reprinted from a prayer card

September 24, 2012

Pix from the 10th Annual Saint Padre Pio Festival in Vineland, New Jersey

The statue of Saint Pio was prominently displayed inside Our Lady of Pompeii Church (4680 Dante Avenue)
By Giovanni di Napoli

Yesterday (Sept. 23, 2012), supporters of the NPM made a pilgrimage to Vineland, New Jersey to participate in the 10th annual Saint Padre Pio Festival at Our Lady of Pompeii Church. We celebrated Mass, mingled with celebrants and enjoyed the festivities.

After lunch, we explored the premises and discovered a nearby Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and replica of Mount Calvary. I ascended the shrine contemplating the first twelve Stations of the Cross. Beneath the structure are vaults with representations of Christ in Gethsemane and a Pieta. A crypt depicting the Entombment of Christ was a poignant reminder of Our Lord's Sacrifice.

Not counting everything else we enjoyed at the Feast, my time spent alone by the grotto in peace and tranquility was enough to make the trip worthwhile. It was nice to get out of the city for a while and enjoy a bit of sunshine, fresh air and reflection.
Fr. Ermelindo DiCapua, a Capuchin Friar and friend who lived with Padre Pio, carried the Saint's relic during the procession
After Mass, hundreds of devotees lined up to kiss the relic
After some difficulty deciding what to eat (due to the large selection of food to choose from) I eventually opted for some delicious porchetta
A look at Our Lady of Pompeii Church
Among the many statues gracing the church property were two of Saint Pio
A replica of Mount Calvary with a Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
Details of Mount Calvary include statues of Christ in Gethsemane and a Pieta
Also See:

September 23, 2012

Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Statue of Saint Pio outside Most Precious Blood Church
(Photos by New York Scugnizzo)
September 23rd is the Feast Day of Saint Padre Pio. In commemoration, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. (*) The accompanying photos were taken at Most Precious Blood Church (109 Mulberry Street), located in NYC's historic Little Italy.

Reliquary containing
the Saint's glove
Prayer to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

O Glorious Saint Pio, bearing the wounds of Christ you generously accepted your sufferings, and labored faithfully for the good of all souls. Help me to embrace that same attitude of acceptance in my life. With confidence, I ask for your intercession to obtain the grace of (make your request), which I ardently desire. If it is not, however, God's will that this should come to pass, then help me to find serenity and joy in God's choices for me. Amen

(*) Reprinted from a prayer card

September 22, 2012

Pix from the 2012 Fiaccolata di San Pio in Westbury, Long Island

Padre Pio blessing his spiritual children
(Photos courtesy of Marcantonio Pezzano)
A look at yesterday's procession honoring San Pio di Pietrelcina sponsored by the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Westbury, Long Island.
Our Lady of Sorrows
Members of the Sant'Antonio di Padua Benevolent Association of Elmont, LI came out to honor Padre Pio
A Junior Franciscan
The ladies prepare to participate in the Fiaccolata
Another look at Saint Padre Pio
Our Lady of Good Counsel Band from Inwood, LI

Happy Autumn! (2012)

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
The Fall Equinox marks the transition of summer into winter. To celebrate the occasion and the season of Autumn I would like to share a poem by Vittorio Clemente from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism (A Trilingual Anthology) edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, p.37.

When Sorbs are in Season

A chill comes over me... a necklace
of sorbs, even now, in my hands;
even now the poplar
sees in the river
the shimmer of a yellow leaf
dangling from the tip
of a blackened bough... and a voice
surges through the hills: "When sorbs
my love, are in season, summer is already in flight..."
Later this morning the leaf
will shrivel, at a whish
of mountain wind. From across a veil
of fog, from far away across the fields,
who'll call out, even now? Whose voice will ring?

(Translated by Anthony Molino)

September 21, 2012

A Day at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts

Horseman and dog (terracotta) from the Late Archaic period (c. 500 B.C.)
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

I meant to write this sooner, but my busy schedule wouldn't allow it. Now that I have some spare time, I'm sitting in front of my computer with a Manhattan Special and a couple of taralli determined to get it done. After scrolling through my photos, trying to decide which ones should accompany this post, I fondly remembered my recent visit to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

We went to the North End to unwind, but visiting the MFA was a priority and Friday was a good day to go because the museum stays open later on weekdays. For me, there is precious little more relaxing than meandering through the hallowed halls of a celebrated art institution and losing myself in its renowned collection for a while. After checking into our hotel and a short rest we made our way to the museum. 

Beginning with the Late Archaic Gallery (113), there were plenty of black-figure ceramic hydria and amphora from Greece and Magna Graecia on display. Seeing all the renderings of gods and heroes on the pottery was almost like looking at a storybook of Greek mythology. Fittingly, a marble bust of the poet Homer stood prominently in the center of the room. I was especially fond of a water jar attributed to the so-called Edinburgh Painter. Found in Capua, the vessel shows the Tyrian Princess Europa being carried off by a bull (Zeus) to Crete. 
(L-R) Homer (Late Hellenistic or Roman Imperial, about 50 B.C.—A.D. 50)
and a two-handled amphora (about 500-490 B.C.)
Next to a large bronze foot basin with wrestlers on its rim (found in Picene, but probably imported from Laconia or Southern Italy) was a magnificent terracotta sculpture group from Sicily depicting a horseman and his dog [See photo top]. Discovered in a grave of a young man, the work is believed to be a votive offering.
Athlete crowning himself (bronze) from the early Classical period
(c. 470 B.C.). Said to have been found in Croton, Southern Italy
Moving to the Early Classical period we find fragments of a pediment and volutes from two Ionic capitals from the façade of a small shrine or funerary monument in Southern Italy, possibly Locri. A small bronze figurine of an athlete crowning himself can be found in the back of the gallery. Said to be from Croton, the statuette was a support for a mirror.
Hermaphrodite (marble) from Roman,
early Imperial period (about 20 B.C. — A.D. 40) 
In the Egypt: Late Period Gallery (216) we found a fascinating marble statue of Hermaphrodite wearing an Egyptian style headdress. The offspring of Hermes and Aphrodite, the deity possesses both male and female sexual attributes. Sometimes depicted holding Cupid (remnants of the god of desire can still be seen), the apotropaic statue was also given a nurturing aspect. The work was discovered in the Villa of the Contrada Bottaro near Pompeii.
Harpsichord (maple case), probably Naples, about 1550
Next to Art of the Ancient World was the Musical Instruments Gallery (103d). Among the assortment of instruments crammed into this small room were two important pieces from Naples. The first was a harpsichord with a maple case. Dating from the 16th century, the instrument is one of the earliest known surviving harpsichords. The second was a mandolin made with maple, spruce, ebony, ivory and tortoiseshell. Vincenzo Vinaccia, a member of the famed Neapolitan family of luthiers, created it in 1771. Considering Naples' storied musical past, one can only imagine the beautiful music they once played.
Mandolin (maple, spruce, tortoiseshell, ivory, ebony),
made by Vincenzo Vinaccia (active 1769-1785), Naples, 1771
The adjoining Jewelry Gallery (104) was filled with many brilliant baubles, but a coral and gold revivalist jewelry suite from Naples caught my eye. Inspired by the new archaeological discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the necklace, brooch and earrings incorporate motifs from the Classical world, including Bacchus the god of wine. They reminded me of some of the more intricate (and pricey) coral jewelry I saw in Torre del Greco while shopping for a cameo and cornuta
Coral revivalist jewelry suite (gold and coral), Naples, about 1840-1860
After a short coffee break and purchasing a few postcards from the gift shop to send family and friends back home, we continued our exploration. Making our way through the Art of Europe galleries, we saw many incredible paintings and sculptures from a number of Europe's greatest masters, some of which included a series of soft-paste porcelain figurines from the Capodimonte manufactory in Naples. I really liked a canvas by Joseph Wright of Derby depicting a Grotto by the Seaside in the Kingdom of Naples with Banditti, Sunset. Painted in 1778, the work was inspired by the Englishman's visit to Naples and Salerno while on his Grand Tour.  
Grotto by the Seaside in the Kingdom of Naples with Banditti, Sunset, 1778
(oil on Canvas) by Joseph Wright of Derby (English, 1734-1797)
In the Catalonian Chapel Gallery (254a) housing an amazing 12th century fresco of Christ in Majesty (from the apse of a small church in the Pyrenees) were two exquisite ivory oliphants from Southern Italy. Through its contacts with the Islamic world, African elephant ivory was imported into the Regno during the early years of Norman rule and fashioned by carvers and epigraphers into delicate household and religious devices (combs, jewelry boxes, croziers, etc.). In the case of these horns, they were meant to demonstrate the owners’ opulence or martial prowess. Purely decorative, they were not used in war or for the hunt. 
The Oliphant on the left is probably from Amalfi (c. 1100).
The one on the right is from Sicily or Salerno and dates from the 11th century
Unluckily, a few exhibition rooms were temporarily closed for renovations, further limiting the space available to exhibit the museum's vast collection. Among the paintings from Southern Italy not on view were Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Massimo Stanzione and The Virgin Presenting the Portrait of Saint Dominic to the Friar of Soriano by Francesco de Mura. In addition, there were four canvases by Luca Giordano out of circulation: The Entombment of Christ, Apollo in his Chariot, The Communion of the Apostles and Venus Giving Arms to Aeneas. It should be noted that there is a possibility these paintings are out on loan or perhaps too fragile for public display.

Thankfully, Giordano's King Tiridates Before Saint Gregory the Armenian was on view in the Robert and Ruth Remis Gallery (244). Without a doubt the highlight of my visit, this small canvas depicts cruel King Tiridates of Armenia with a head of a boar kneeling before Saint Gregory the Illuminator. According to legend the King was cursed for executing a group of virgin nuns who refused his lecherous advances. Miraculously healed by Saint Gregory, Tiridates converted, thus making Armenia the first nation to officially adopt Christianity.
King Tiridates Before Saint Gregory the Armenian (oil on canvas)
by Luca Giordano (Neapolitan, 1634-1705)
While I did not get to see everything I wanted to (the museum needs more than a day to take in properly) I did see more than enough to temporarily sate my appetite for fine art. With its enviable collection of artwork, including an eclectic selection from Southern Italy, the MFA is a must see for anyone visiting this wonderful city.

Also see:

Finding Joseph Tusiani: The Poet of Two Lands

Joseph Tusiani with his mother
when he arrived in America in 1947
(Photo courtesy of i-Italy)
September 29, 2012
(10:00 am - 4:00 pm)

This event will be held at the Lang Recital Hall, North Building, Hunter College, East 68th St. (between Park and Lexington Avenues)

This symposium takes its name from the documentary on Joseph Tusiani made in 2011 by Sabrina Digregorio. A major voice in American and Italian letters, Tusiani has dedicated his professional life to the creation, promotion, and promulgation of Italian Studies in the United States. An international award-winning poet, he writes in four different languages (English, Gargano Dialect, Italian, Latin) and has published his work worldwide.

Program:

• 10 AM Opening Comments by Paolo Fasoli, Chair, Romance Languages, Hunter College, CUNY; Joseph Sciame, President, Italian Heritage & Culture Committee-NY, Inc.; Riccardo Viale, Director, Italian Cultural Institute, New York; Natalia Quintavalle, Consul General, Italian Consulate General, New York

• 10:30 AM Re-reading Joseph Tusiani with Maria C. Pastore Passaro, "La poesia inesplorata di Joseph Tusiani"; John T. Kirby, "Tusiani and Neo-Latin"; Luigi Bonaffini, "Tusiani, Writer and Translator of Dialect Poetry"; Paolo Giordano, "Tusiani's American Odyssey from the parola difficile to the parola antica"; Luigi Fontanella, "Joseph Tusiani and His Poetry in Gradiva"

• 12:30 PM Lunch Break (Lunch provided)

• 1:30 PM Film Viewing of "Finding Joseph Tusiani: The Poet of Two Lands," Dir. Sabrina Digregorio. Atena Films, 2011. (80 min.)

• 3:00 PM Tavola rotonda with Conference Participants and Filmmaker

• 4:00 PM Presentation: Leonardo da Vinci Award (IHCC-NY, Inc.)

To RSVP contact: (212) 642-2094

For more information visit www.qc.edu/calandra  

Reprinted from the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute press release

September 20, 2012

Pix from the 2012 San Gennaro Procession

Viva San Gennaro!
Bust of the Patron Saint of Naples inside Most Precious Blood Church
The statue of San Gennaro used in the procession
After Mass the procession departed from the Church
The standard bearer leads the way
The procession makes its way through the streets of Little Italy
We bumped into our friend Marcantonio at the Feast
While my pizza was cooking I had the pleasure of meeting Carissa, Lauren and Alex, who were celebrating their heritage at the Feast
My friend and I enjoyed a white pie
from Rubirosa Ristorante (235 Mulberry Street)
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Also see:

Sophia Loren – A Living Symbol of Art

Sophia showing her Southern Pride
By Niccolò Graffio
The late philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand defined art as “…a selective recreation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.” Since early modern humans first appeared in Europe approx. 40,000 years ago, mankind has “selectively recreated reality” in numerous ways for many different purposes.
Many early civilizations, like Ancient Egypt and Minoan Crete, produced artworks (now mostly in museums) which continue to amaze people to this day. Each culture developed their own style of art.
It was the Greeks of the Hellenic Age, however, who were the first to venerate the human body and to develop the skills necessary to correctly recreate the human form down to minute detail. The Greeks, like the Romans after them, were especially fond of venerating the female human form. Perhaps no artwork better exemplified this than the famous statue “Aphrodite of Cnidus” by Praxiteles. After the fall of Rome, this veneration would not be seen again in Western art until the Age of the Renaissance. Continue reading

September 19, 2012

Feast of San Gennaro

Viva San Gennaro!
(Photos by New York Scugnizzo)
September 19th is the Feast Day of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to San Gennaro.(*) The accompanying photos were taken at Most Precious Blood Church (109 Mulberry Street), the national shrine of San Gennaro, located in New York City's historic Little Italy.

You can read about today's liquefaction miracle in Naples (which took place at 9:12 AM) at Gazzetta del Sud Online.

Prayer to San Gennaro

O Great San Gennaro, valiant athlete of Jesus Christ and Patron Saint of Naples, we have recourse to your powerful intercession, especially during times of disaster! With grateful hearts we acknowledge your constant readiness to help your fellow citizens and those devoted to you in times of need. With the assurance of being heard, we implore you to obtain God's mercy for us. Protect us from the scourge of spreading disbelief. Free us from all evils and dangers that threaten us from every side. May the faith for which you sacrificed your life produce in our midst, through your prayers, the good works which the Lord our God can rightfully expect from His servants. Amen

(*) Prayer to San Gennaro reprinted from a prayer card

September 16, 2012

Pix from the 2012 San Gennaro Parade

Viva San Gennaro!
A dazzling bust of the Saint inside Most Precious Blood Church
By Giovanni Di Napoli

Yesterday, I paid a visit to the San Gennaro Feast (Sept. 13-23) in New York City's historic Little Italy. Making my way through the crowd, I met some friends, had a few laughs and ate my fill. Luckily, we found a nice shady spot to relax for awhile and watched the parade pass by.

Afterward, I dropped by the Italian American Museum (155 Mulberry Street) to see the current photo exhibit, Visions of Little Italy, c. 1970. Unfortunately, I missed John E. Rossi's lecture, but by the looks of his photographs it must have been very entertaining. The Rossi's have been a fixture in the neighborhood for as long as I can remember, so I'm sure he had a lot of interesting stories to share. I really enjoyed seeing the old black-and-white photos, they reminded me of a time when Little Italy was a little more Italian and a lot less commercial. 

The museum is also showing a short documentary film on the San Gennaro Feast in Naples. In my view, it's definitely worth a look.

This Wednesday (Sept. 19) is San Gennaro's official Feast Day, so don't miss the celebratory Mass at Most Precious Blood Church (5PM) and the procession through the streets of Little Italy (6PM).

Devotees offer donations at the shrine erected outside the Church 
Italian American Museum Founder and President Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa lends a hand at Caffé Palermo's cannoli stand outside the museum 
While Dr. Scelsa was busy manning the cannoli, Jennifer and Kathleen were holding down the fort inside the Italian American Museum
Even though there are dozens of sausage stands to choose from, I'm partial to Cuzzin Vinny's
A Cuzzin Vinny masterpiece: pork braciola with peppers and onions on a hero 
After lunch I couldn't resist having an espresso and dessert at Stuffed Artisan Cannolis
Guest of Honor Connie Francis and friends led the motorcade down Mulberry Street
This year's Grand Marshal was New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli 
Opera sensation Cristina Fontanelli did rousing renditions of God Bless America and O Sole Mio
Members of Figli di San Gennaro and the procession make their way back to Most Precious Blood Church
A look inside beautiful Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo