July 30, 2013

A Look at the 125th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Snow, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Part 1)

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
The 125th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Snow, patroness of Sanza (SA), kicked-off Saturday in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a procession through the neighborhood and novena in honor of the Madonna della Neve at beautiful Saint Francis of Paola Church (219 Conselyea Street).

We had the privilege of attending the celebration and meeting many warm and friendly people. After Mass we made our way back by candlelight to the society's hall (410 Graham Avenue) for some refreshments and lively conversation. 

Click here for Feast schedule
The Madonna della Neve is presented to the expectant crowd below 
The procession makes its way down bustling Graham Avenue
The color guard leads the way
We stopped by the Society of St. Mary of the Snow Square
on the corner of Herbert Street and Graham Avenue for a moment of silence
Thumbs up from Domenico
The Giglio Band kept the festivities rolling 
The procession wends its way through the neighborhood
We paused outside the San Sabino Society
to offer prayers and blessings to Sanza's co-patron
Another look at the cortège 
Leaving Saint Francis of Paola Church
Back at the Society Hall we treated ourselves to some delicious braciola
and sausage & peppers at Cuzzin Vinny's sausage stand
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

July 29, 2013

Announcing the 110th Annual La Festa Italiana, Jersey City, New Jersey

Honoring the veneration of Maria SS. Dell'Assunta and San Rocco

August 14th—August 18th
5:00 PM until 11:00 PM

Holy Rosary Church
344 Sixth Street
(Between Brunswick and Monmouth Streets)
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Live Music • Great Food • Rides • Games • 50/50

The Novena in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption begins on August 6th at 7:00 PM in Holy Rosary Church and continues to August 14th.

The Assumption Feast Day Mass is on Thursday, August 15th at 11:00 AM, followed by a street procession.

The Saint Rocco Feast Day Mass is on Friday, August 16th at 11:00 AM, followed by a street procession.

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

For more information visit their website at lafestaitalianajc.com/ or find them on Facebook

July 28, 2013

Announcing the 84th Annual Festa di San Rocco, Fort Lee, New Jersey

Viva San Rocco!
Photo courtesy of the Saint Rocco
Italian American Mutual Aid Society
Presented by the Saint Rocco Italian American Mutual Aid Society

August 7th—11th, 2013

Saint Rocco Society Chapel 
110 Main Street
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

Hours: 6:00 PM — Midnight 
On Main Street

There will be plenty of delicious food, fun games, rides and live entertainment. Weather permitting, there will be a spectacular fireworks show on Saturday night.

Mass will be celebrated at the Saint Rocco Society Chapel at 9 AM on Sunday, August 11th. 

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

For more information visit their website at http://stroccofortlee.com/ or find them on Facebook

July 27, 2013

"The Orpheus of Apulia"

Guitar Virtuoso and Composer Mauro Giuliani

Mauro Giuliani
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
By Giovanni di Napoli
"Then Herr Mauro Giuliani, a Neapolitan, came to us—a man who had been led early in the right direction through correct sense of harmony, and who, as an accomplished virtuoso, combined with the most correct performance the greatest perfection of technique and of taste...Through his teaching and the competition he has aroused among teachers and lovers of the instrument, he has formed for us so many outstanding amateurs, that there could scarcely be another place where authentic guitar-playing is so widely practiced as here in our Vienna." —Excerpt from the preface to a guitar method published c.1811/12, entitled Versuch einer vollständigen methodischen Antleitung zum Guitare-Spielen by Simon Molitor & Wilhelm Klingenbrunner (1)
Southern Italy has a long history with the guitar, dating as far back as the Spanish viceroyalty. In fact, the earliest extant six-string guitar was built by the Neapolitan luthier Gaetano Vinaccia in 1779. The prestigious Gagliano, Fabricatore and Vinaccia families are credited with several innovations for the instrument and throughout the nineteenth century Naples remained a major center for its production. (2) It is also no coincidence that some of the most celebrated early classical guitarists—most notably the great Federico Moretti (1760-1838) and Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841)—hailed from the RegnoContinue reading

Feast of San Pantaleone

Viva San Pantaleone!
A would-be executioner kneels in
awe before the impervious saint
By Giovanni di Napoli

July 27th is the feast day of San Pantaleone, patron saint of Ravello. Legend has it the Christian physician was beheaded (c. 305) during the Diocletian persecutions in Nicomedia, and that a woman collected his spilled blood. The ampulla holding the saint's blood reached Ravello in the eleventh-century after a storm at sea transported the monks of Saint Basil, guardians of the phial, from the East. It is believed the relic chose the town for shelter.

In honor of the martyr, I would like to share a few photos taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to beautiful Ravello—arguably the most bedazzling jewel gracing the Amalfi Coast—and its fabulous Duomo, home to the saint's relic. Continue reading

July 26, 2013

Announcing the 2013 Saint Rocco's Feast, Glen Cove, Long Island

A Brief Sketch: Francesco Jerace

Carlotta d'Asburgo a Miramare, Napoli
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Born on July 26, 1854 in Polistena, a small town in the Province of Reggio Calabria, Francesco Jerace received his first instruction in art from his maternal grandfather, Francesco Morani, a descendent of a prolific family of artists from Calabria. He moved to Naples in 1869 and studied painting and sculpting at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts under the guidance of Tito Angelini, Tommaso Solari and Stanislao Lista. He first exhibited his work at the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti in Naples while only 18-years-of-age. 

Highly prolific, Jerace would go on to create many works for public and private audiences, including portraits, allegorical figures, religious statuary and commemorative monuments. His style fluctuated between Classicism and Naturalism.
Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy, Napoli
In 1888 he was commissioned to sculpt a large figure of Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy for the western facade of the Palazzo Reale in Naples. It is one of eight statues representing the ruling dynasties of Naples and—in the case of his subject—the Kingdom of Italy. Despite my dislike for the tyrant I must admit Jerace masterfully portrayed "il re galantuomo" in heroic fashion. Incidentally, the artist's proclivity towards idealized realism also captured the likeness of the king's vile visage perfectly.

Perhaps his most famous sculpture is the bronze group Azione ("Action"), which was made in 1910 for the ostentatious Vittoriano, or Altare della Patria ("Altar of the Fatherland"), in Rome.
Altar of the Fatherland, Rome
Without question some of Jerace's finest works were his depictions of feminine beauty, an area in which he excelled. He was frequently sought after by discerning patrons to render model portraits or allegorical and historical heroines. His Victa, Nossis and Carlotta d'Asburgo [pictured above] are among his best. 

With each commission Jerace's fame continued to grow. His work was showcased in numerous international salons and won several prestigious awards. He is considered by many to be one of the most important sculptors of the Neapolitan School in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

He died in Naples on April 8, 1937.

* * *

Addendum

Even though the origins of this wonderful work are disputed I thought it would still be pertinent to include a photo of the Fontana della Sirena. Located in the Piazza Sannazzaro in Naples, some credit a young Francesco Jerace; others attribute it to the sculptor Onofrio Buccini.
Fontana della Sirena, Napoli

July 24, 2013

Announcing the 125th Anniversary Feast of Our Lady of Snow, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Our Lady of Snow
Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Snow Society
Sponsored by the 
Our Lady of Snow Society

July 27th – August 5th, 2013

Our Lady of Snow Hall
410 Graham Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211

Come celebrate 125 years of faith and devotion to Our Lady of Snow, Patroness of Sanza (SA). There will be food and entertainment throughout the commemoration  

• Saturday, July 27th (6:30 PM) — Candlelight Procession from the Society Hall to St. Francis de Paola Church
• Friday, August 2nd (7:30 PM) — Tenor Christopher Macchio will perform
• Saturday, August 3rd (8 PM) — DJ at the Society Hall
• Sunday, August 4th (8 PM) — Clown and Entertainment for the kids
• Monday, August 5th (9 AM) — Procession in celebration of the Feast Day.

St. Francis de Paola Church
219 Conselyea Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

For more information visit the Our Lady of Snow Society on Facebook

July 23, 2013

Sicily's Immortal Painter: Antonello da Messina

Ecce Homo
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Due to scant documentary information very little is known about the life of Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio, better known as Antonello da Messina. As his moniker indicates, he was born in Sicily between 1425 and 1430 at Messina, then a prosperous port city in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. His father, Giovanni d'Antonio, was a stonemason; his mother's name was Garita, possibly a diminutive of Margherita.

Between 1445-55 Antonello traveled to Naples and studied the new technique of oil painting introduced from the Low Countries in the atelier of Niccolò Colantonio (born c. 1420). The Neapolitan was a leading exponent of the Netherlandish (Dutch and Flemish) style of painting; tempera and fresco being the common mediums practiced by painters at the time. Here, Antonello was undoubtedly exposed to the works of Spanish, Provençal and Netherlandish masters, including Jan van Eyck, whose paintings were avidly sought after by the city's patrons.

Naples—recently conquered (1442) by Alfonso I (Alfonso V of Aragon)—was a major European capital and important center for the arts. King Alfonso, called the "Magnanimous" for his generous patronage, continued the city's aggrandizement begun under the reign of the Angevin kings. Many of Europe's preeminent painters, sculptors, architects and poets found favor at the Neapolitan court. Perhaps one of the city's most recognizable historical monuments, the Castel Nuovo and it's extraordinary triumphal arch, originates from this period. Reminiscent of Classical Rome and the Medieval Capuan Gate, the Aragonese Arch is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Continue reading

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July 22, 2013

Actor Dennis Farina Dies at 69

Dennis Farina
By Niccolò Graffio

I’ve written a number of articles for this blog over the several years I’ve contributed to it.  Most of them I’ve found enjoyable to write.  Some I must confess were not so enjoyable due to my disdain of the subject matter (think: Carlo “Lucky” Luciano).  

It is never enjoyable to write an obituary, especially when it’s for someone I really liked.  Sadly, I must announce the death of actor Dennis Farina who passed away earlier this morning at the age of 69.

According to news reports, Mr. Farina’s parents were Sicilian immigrants. His father Joseph, whom Dennis once described as “the most honest person I have ever met” was a doctor.  His mother Iolanda was a homemaker.  Dennis was born on February 29, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois.  He was one of four boys and three girls.

Prior to becoming an actor he had worked as a cop for 18 years (1967-85) in the Chicago Police Department’s Burglary Division.  This street experience later served him well when he decided to pursue a career as an actor. He got his first taste of show biz working as a police consultant for director Michael Mann, who would later cast him in a small role in the 1981 neo-noir movie Thief starring James Caan and Tuesday Weld.  Mann was apparently impressed enough with his performance he later cast him as the gangster Albert Lombard in the series Miami Vice (1984-89).

I must confess to a certain dislike of many actors/actresses of Southern-Italian extraction due to their willingness, almost eagerness, in playing roles that denigrate our people.  While it is true Mr. Farina played such roles in his career, unlike other actors such as Al Pacino and the late James Gandolfini (who was half-Southern Italian) they did not define or overshadow his career.  He was truly a multi-faceted actor!

To me his best role was as American jewel dealer (and jewel thief) Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz in the 2000 cult comedy-crime film Snatch starring himself, Benicio del Toro, Brad Pitt and Jason Statham.    

His two best known movie roles were as gangsters. The first was mob boss Jimmy Serrano in the 1988 action-comedy Midnight Run.  The other was as Ray “Bones” Barboni in the 1995 comedy-crime movie Get Shorty.  It should be remembered, though, his two best television roles were as redoubtable Italian-American cops!  The first was as Detective Lt. Mike Torello in Crime Story (1986-87).  Though the series only ran two seasons it left an impact.  Time magazine named it one of the best TV series of the decade.  Though the series ran with the usual stock characters of Southern-Italian gangsters it was notable in that “the boss of bosses” in it was Jewish!

His next memorable TV role was as Det. Joe Fontana on the popular, long-running series Law & Order.  Farina had been tapped to replace actor Jerry Orbach and his character Lennie Briscoe, who was forced to leave the show due to terminal prostate cancer.  Viewers, however, perhaps still smarting over the loss of beloved actor Jerry Orbach, were less than receptive to Farina (“Never try to fill a great man’s shoes!”).  Thus, after only two seasons it was announced Farina was leaving the show “to pursue other projects.”

Dennis Farina went on to host the TV series Unsolved Mysteries (previously hosted by the late Robert Stack). In addition, he appeared as Greek gangster Gus Demitriou in the short-lived 2012 HBO series Luck.  

He was married from 1970 until his divorce in 1980.  He is survived by three sons (Dennis Jr., Michael and Joseph) plus two granddaughters and four grandsons.

His career could be considered “checkered” in that he helped perpetuate negative stereotypes about our people in two memorable movie roles.  However, to his credit, he also played positive roles in two critically acclaimed TV series.  His extensive filmography playing a wide variety of colorful characters, have earned him a place in the history books.  R.I.P. Mr. Farina, you will be missed.

Announcing the 93rd Annual Feast of the Madonna Della Cava, North End, Boston

Madonna Della Cava standard
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Sponsored by the Madonna Della Cava Society

August 9th—11th, 2013
Hanover and Battery Streets

Madonna Della Cava Society
3 Battery Street
North End, Boston, MA 02109
(617) 523-8842

Come celebrate the 93rd Annual Grand Religious Feast in Honor of the Madonna Della Cava, Patroness of Pietraperzia, Sicily

Sunday Procession at 1:00 PM

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

For more info visit MadonnaDellaCava.com

July 21, 2013

Feast of San Lorenzo da Brindisi

Viva San Lorenzo!
July 21st is the Feast Day of San Lorenzo da Brindisi, Apostolic Doctor of the Church. Born Giulio Cesare Russo (1559), he joined the Capuchins at the age of sixteen, taking the name Lorenzo. He excelled in theology and philosophy, and had a gift for languages, including Hebrew. Famous for his ecstatic sermons, his tears were often blotted up and used to cure the sick. While in Germany to establish Capuchin convents, Saint Lorenzo was made the chief chaplain of the Imperial Army. Crucifix in hand, he is credited with leading the severely outnumbered Christian forces to victory against the Ottoman Turks during the Battle of Székesfehérvár in Hungary (1601). An adept negotiator, the Popes often employed him in settling disputes between Christian Monarchs. Saint Lorenzo died in Lisbon on July 22, 1619 after the completion of his final diplomatic mission. At the behest of the people of Naples, he secured from King Philip III of Spain the dismissal of the oppressive Viceroy Don Pedro Téllez de Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in Honor of Saint Lawrence. The accompanying photo of The Glory of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi comes courtesy of Il Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali.

Prayer to Saint Lawrence

Lord, for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls gave Lawrence of Brindisi courage and right judgement. By prayers help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it. 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

Salvator Rosa

Self portrait, Salvator Rosa 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Aldo Lira
“Painter, Poet, Musician, Philosopher, and Patriot, he combined in his fine organisation the supreme elements of high art, with the noblest instincts of intellectual humanity. He worked through his great vocation with a spirit of independence that never quailed, and with unflinching resistance to the persecutions of despotism and the intrigues of professional rivalry. His moral dignity refused to pander to the licentious tastes of the profligate times in which he flourished, and, in this respect superior to many of his great predecessors, he left not one picture that,
‘_dying, he might blush to own,’ while he exhibited in his great historical compositions, "The Death of Regulus" and "The Conspiracy of Catiline," a graphic eloquence which Herodotus and Gibbon have scarcely surpassed.”
The above paragraph, from the Life and Times of Salvator Rosa by Lady Sydney Morgan, published in 1824, is only one of many lofty and effusive tributes paid to Salvator Rosa during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries by the artists, intellectuals and literati of the time. Who was Salvator Rosa and what did he do to inspire such admiration more than 150 years after his death? Continue reading

July 20, 2013

Announcing the 114th Annual Feast of Saint Gerard Maiella, Newark, New Jersey

Viva San Gerardo!
Photo courtesy of Marcantonio Pezzano
October 16th – 20th, 2013

St. Lucy's Church
National Shrine of St. Gerard
118 Seventh Avenue
Newark, NJ  07104
(917) 803-4200

St. Gerard Novena 
and Blessing with Relic
Monday, October 7th 
thru Friday October 15th

Novena begins at 7 PM
• Breast cancer October 7th
• Police/Fire/First 
Responders October 8th
• Armed Forces/
Veterans October 9th
• Anointing of the Sick 
October 10th
• Blessing of women praying 
to conceive October 11th
• Blessing of expectant mothers October 14th
• Blessing of newborn babies October 15th

Masses
• Wednesday, October 16th at 7 AM, 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM (Solemn High Mass), 12:30 PM and 5:30 PM
• Friday, October 18th special Mass in thanksgiving to all Italian American Organizations at 7 PM
• Saturday, October 19th at 7 AM, 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM (Italian), 11 AM (Solemn High Mass), 12:30 PM and 6 PM
• Sunday, October 20th at 8 AM, 9 Am (Italian – Upper Church), 10 AM (Italian – Upper Church and outside), 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM

Processions to follow last Mass
Wednesday, October 16th at 1:30 PM
Saturday, October 19th at 2 PM
Sunday, October 20th at 5 PM

Secure Parking on and off site

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.


Also see:

July 19, 2013

Announcing the 2013 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast, Montclair, New Jersey

Viva Maria!
Photo courtesy of Dan Armino
July 19th – 21st, 2013

Our Lady of Mount 
Carmel Church
94 Pine Street
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
(973) 744-1074

Festival hours: 
Friday 6 PM—11 PM
Saturday & Sunday 4 PM—11 PM

Come join the fun! There will be rides, games, 50/50, delicious food and live entertainment

Mass will be celebrated at 3 PM followed by the procession

* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

For more information visit them on Facebook

July 18, 2013

A Look at the 2013 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Procession, Elm Park, Staten Island

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
On Tuesday night, July 16th, we had the privilege of attending the Mass and Procession in celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Saint Adelbert's Church in Staten Island. After a wonderful service by Father Eugene J. Carrella, with fantastic choral music, a Candlelight Procession with a brass band accompanied the statue of the Blessed Mother through the neighborhood. Afterward we enjoyed light refreshments and music in the school auditorium.

Parishioners awaiting the emergence of the Madonna
The procession begins
Standard bearer exits the church
Revelers toss rose petals
The color guard leads the way
The procession moves through the neighborhood 
Red Mike Festival Band
Father Carrella and the Lay Carmelites
As always, Joe Santoro and the members of the Mount Carmel Fraternal Society did a great job
A Look inside beautiful Saint Adelbert's Church
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

A Look at the 2013 Our Lady of Mount Carmel Procession, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Ave Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Achille Pirro leads with the standard
Devotees came out in force
The Giglio Band passes near Mt. Carmel Triangle
The faithful follow the music
(Above and below) Congratulatory signs line the procession route 
One home had a statue of San Paolino di Nola in the yard.
Notice the beautiful miniature giglio in the window
Another look at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
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For more photos visit us on Pinterest