January 31, 2014

Feast of San Ciro di Alessandria

Viva San Ciro!
January 31st is the Feast Day of San Ciro di Alessandria (Saint Cyrus of Alexandria), doctor, hermit and martyr. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Portici (NA), Vico Equense (NA), Nocera Superiore (SA), Grottaglie (TA) and Marineo (PA), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Cyrus. The accompanying photo is a devotional card from Marineo, Palermo.
Prayer to Saint Cyrus
O Glorious St. Cyrus, Doctor, Martyr and our merciful Patron, I implore your intercession with confidence. Watch with equally pitiful eye my spiritual and physical infirmities. Do not forsake me, listen to the voice of my heart, and give me your help and your protection. Amen. 

The Great Cocozza

The Tragically Short Life of Mario Lanza
Mario Lanza
By Niccolò Graffio
“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends- It gives a lovely light!” — Edna St. Vincent Millay: First Fig, (1920)
My clearest memories growing up of my father was of him being a workaholic.  He had spent the first 17 years of his life living in Italy helping his mother and older brothers try to eke out a living on the family farm.  His father immigrated to America and found work with the railroads. As happened to many of our people, he spent most of his time here while sending money back to help the family. In addition, he saved up his money to help pay for the passage of his sons to follow him.  
You see, while all this was going on, Benito Mussolini was busy pursuing his dreams of building a “fourth shore” (i.e. establish a second Roman Empire under his command).  Towards this end he allied himself with Adolf Hitler, another winner, and together they ignited another European conflagration. Continue reading

January 30, 2014

Raimondo di Sangro

Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero
The Prince of Alchemists
By Niccolò Graffio
“All scientific men were formerly accused of practicing magic. And no wonder, for each said to himself: ‘I have carried human intelligence as far as it will go, and yet so-and-so has gone further than I. Ergo, he has taken to Sorcery.’” – C.L. de Montesquieu: Persian Letters, CXLV, 1721
In Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s epic play Faust, the protagonist, Heinrich Faust, sells his soul to the Devil (Mephistopheles) in exchange for infinite knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust, a scholar who was a member of the aristocracy, made the infernal deal due to his despairing belief in the vanity of scientific, humanitarian and religious learning.
Goethe’s character was fictional, though many believe he was an aggregate of several historical personages. The play, considered to be one of the greatest works of German literature, is taken by many to be an allegory for man’s insatiable and never ending quest for knowledge. Continue reading

January 28, 2014

Feast of San Tommaso D'Aquino

Viva San Tommaso!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 28th is the Feast Day of San Tommaso D'Aquino (St. Thomas Aquinas), Doctor of the Church. Considered one of the Church's greatest theologians, he is the patron saint of students, academics, scholars and philosophers. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Aquino (FR), Belcastro (CZ), San Mango d'Aquino (CZ), Falerna (CZ) and Grottaminarda (AV), among others. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Thomas Aquinas. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. Thomas Aquinas

Father of wisdom, You inspired Saint Thomas Aquinas with an ardent desire for holiness and study of sacred doctrine. Help us, we pray, to understand what he taught and to imitate what he lived. Amen.

January 26, 2014

Arturo DiModica and His Charging Bull

Bronze Cavallo
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Since beginning this exercise in ethnic self-awareness I've intermittently written about New York City's public monuments by Sicilian Americans, specifically the works of Anthony de Francisci and Pietro Montana. However, no discussion of Sicilian-American sculptors would be complete without mentioning Arturo DiModica and his world famous Charging Bull
Arturo DiModica was born on January 26, 1941 in Vittoria, a small city in the province of Ragusa, Sicily. Showing signs of artistic ability at an early age, his parents Giuseppe and Angela supported his creative endeavors. When he was 19, DiModica left for Florence to study and refine his skills at the Academia Del Nudo Libero. After just two years he opened his own studio, quickly making a name for himself among critics and collectors alike. He worked primarily in bronze, but also with the highly valued Carrara marble, prized for its use in sculpture since antiquity.
In 1973 DiModica came to America to broaden his artistic horizons. He opened a workshop on Grand Street in SoHo, meeting with almost immediate success. Winning awards and accolades from the New York art community, his works are highly prized. He purchased property on Crosby Street in 1978 and built his current studio, where some of his most beloved pieces, including Cavallo, a feisty bronze horse, were created. Continue reading

January 25, 2014

Celebrating the Beatification of Queen Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies

Blessed Queen Maria Cristina 
of the Two Sicilies
Earlier today, the venerable Queen Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies was beatified at the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Naples (where she is interred), bringing her one step closer to canonization. The solemn Mass was celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, and His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of the Saints. Members of the Royal House of Bourbon, including HRH Prince Carlo di Borbone delle Due Sicilie, Duke of Castro, were in attendance. Thousands of Neapolitan faithful greeted the Royal Family, many with flowers, Bourbon flags and enthusiastic applause.

In celebration I'm posting a Prayer to the Blessed Maria Cristina.*

Prayer to the Blessed Maria Cristina

O Queen of the Two Sicilies, You're the last worthy representative of Savoy, who, after Thee, have continually betrayed God, the Catholic Church, and the Pope; thou has seen from Heaven their atrocities against the Kingdom that you had accepted full of joy and satisfaction; you have seen from above your subjects killed, robbed, dispersed and defamed because they believed in the same values as you, which ​​the modern world wants to destroy; you, blessed today, you have to guide the hand of your son Francesco, for the redemption of his people who can not wait any longer. Amen.

January 23, 2014

South Italy Folk Dance Lab

Put on your dancing shoes and join the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts for a fun and lively evening of Italian folk dancing and live music.

Friday, January 24, 2014 — 7:30 p.m., with live music by Fabio Pirozzolo and Roberto Cassan and dancing with Ornella Iuorio

Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts
41 Hampshire St.
Cambridge MA


Announcing the 90th Annual Santa Lucia Festival, Omaha, Nebraska


January 22, 2014

The Most Glorious Voice

Rosa Ponselle – La Magnifica
Rosa Ponselle
By Niccolò Graffio
“In my lifetime there have been three vocal miracles: Caruso, Ruffo and Ponselle. Apart from these there have been several wonderful singers.” – Tullio Serafin
As documented in previous articles, our people, the children the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, have left their mark on the history of mankind in a number of ways.  We have produced prominent political figures, artists, doctors and even famous scientists.
Of all the endeavors of mankind, however, perhaps none has felt our mark as greatly as the realm of music!  Books, TV shows and movies have been made about eminent singers and songwriters whose roots lie in Southern Italy.  We have not only produced people considered noteworthy in this regard, we have produced those who can be considered truly great!
Opera is that noble art form that combines singing, songwriting, acting and drama.  Our unmistakable fingerprint lies upon it!  Whether it is the brilliant musical score of Bellini or the beautiful tenor of Caruso, we can say with no small measure of pride that we have contributed to the betterment and perpetuation of this hallmark of classic Western Civilization. Continue reading

January 20, 2014

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.

The Great Restorer: Charles of Bourbon

Charles of Bourbon, Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
"Go forth and win: the most beautiful crown in Italy awaits you." – Elizabeth Farnese to her son Charles of Bourbon
Charles of Bourbon was born on January 20, 1716 in Madrid. He was the eldest child of King Philip V of Spain and his second wife, Elizabeth Farnese. Through conquest and diplomacy the monarchs acquired the ducal crowns of Tuscany and Parma for the young Prince. Not content with these titles, the ambitious royals believed the Kingdom of the Two-Sicilies to be a more fitting prize for their son and plotted to wrest the Regno from the Austrian Empire.

At the age of eighteen Charles descended from his ducal dominions to invade the viceroyalty and conquer the "the most beautiful crown in Italy" for his own. At the helm of his army, which was composed of sixteen thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry, was the illustrious General Captain José Carrillo de Albornoz, the Count of Montemar. They had the support of the Spanish navy. 

When the Bourbon forces crossed the frontier they met with minimal resistance as the Austrians yielded in rapid succession. Charles entered Naples on May 10, 1734. Awaiting reinforcements from Austria, the imperial viceroy, Giulio Visconti, retreated with the bulk of his forces to Puglia. However, because the Austrians were tied up in Lombardy fighting against the French and Sardinians in the War of Polish Succession (1733-1735) the expected help never arrived. Upon hearing the news of the advancing Bourbons the viceroy wasted no time and set sail for Vienna. Continue reading

January 19, 2014

Echoes of Mulberry Street (The Italian Tin Pan Alley)

John La Bar­bera
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 23rd at 7:00 PM

Mem­bers: $10.00
Non-Members: $15.00

Lecture and per­for­mance by John La Bar­bera.  A won­der­ful oppor­tu­nity to learn about early 20th cen­tury Ital­ian Music Pub­lish­ers in NYC. The first inter­na­tional pop­u­lar music to emerge in the mod­ern era is the Can­zone Napo­le­tana.  The suc­cess of Neapoli­tan song reached beyond the bor­ders of Naples and Italy, cred­ited to the waves of Ital­ian emi­grants who com­posed, per­formed, and sold it in NYC.

Musi­cal Exam­ples to be played On The Mandolin.

The Cen­ter for Ital­ian Cul­ture
411 Pomp­ton Avenue, Ste. 5
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009

Also see:
Echoes of our Homeland: An Evening With John T. La Barbera

Feast of San Catello Vescovo

Evviva San Catello!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
January 19th is the Feast Day of San Catello (Saint Catellus), Bishop and protector of Castellammare di Stabia, a commune in the province of Naples. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to San Catello. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Michael's Church in New Haven, Connecticut.

Prayer to San Catello

Glorious San Catello, beloved patron of Castellammare di Stabia, 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. Remember now the dangers and confusion and anguish that surround me and intercede for me in my needs and troubles. Enlighten, protect and guide me towards eternal salvation. Amen.

A Most Illustrious Corpse

Judge Paolo Borsellino Remembered
Judge Paolo Borsellino
By Niccolò Graffio
“Times of heroism are generally times of terror.” – R.W. Emerson: Heroism, 1841
Paolo Borsellino was born in Piazza Magione, a middle-class neighborhood in the heart of the city of Palermo, Sicily on January 19, 1940. His parents, both pharmacists, were supporters of the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and its exploits in Africa. This was a factor in his decision to study recent history as well as his later political orientation.
Growing up, he befriended a fellow soul who, like himself, would one day become a legend in the Italian judiciary: Giovanni Falcone. Years later, Falcone would once recall how he and Borsellino would spend their youth in Palermo’s popular Albergheria quarter playing ping-pong with other young men who grew up to become Mafia capos. Continue reading

January 17, 2014

Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate

Viva Sant'Antuono!
Photo by Niccolò Graffio, Savoca, Sicily
By Giovanni di Napoli

January 17th is the Feast Day of Sant'Antonio Abate, also known as Saint Anthony the Great, one of the founders of Christian monasticism. He is regarded as the patron Saint of livestock, fire and contagious diseases, particularly skin maladies (e.g. shingles) and ergotism, a toxic condition caused by eating grains contaminated with ergot fungus. Also known as St. Anthony's Fire, ergotism causes gangrene in the extremities and drives its victims mad, symptoms previously associated with demonic possession.

In Southern Italy huge wooden pyres called the Bonfires of Saint Anthony (not to be confused with St. Anthony's Fire) are burned on the eve of his festival in public squares throughout the night. The purification ritual, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, also signifies the coming end of winter and the anticipation of spring. Local wines and delicacies are enjoyed, as well as fireworks, processions, music and other festivities. Continue reading

January 16, 2014

North End Feasts and Processions

Photo courtesy of northendboston.com
June 8th, 2014 — Saint Anthony of Padua
2:00 pm — Procession starts at St. Leonard Church
Hanover & Prince Streets, North End, Boston
4:00 pm — Blessing of the children
Nazzaro playground with food and drink

June 29th, 2014 — Saint Padre Pio
2:00 pm — Procession starts at St. Leonard Church
Hanover & Prince Streets, North End, Boston

July 13th, 2014 — Madonna delle Grazie
2:00 pm — Procession starts at St. Leonard Church
Hanover & Prince Streets, North End, Boston

July 20th, 2014 — Saint Rocco
1:00 pm — Procession starts at St. Leonard Church
Hanover & Prince Streets, North End, Boston

September 7th, 2014 – Santa Rosalia di Palermo
1:00 pm – Procession starts at North Square, North End, Boston
For more information visit the Santa Rosalia di Palermo Society of Boston on Facebook

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

For more Feasts visit our 2014 Festa Directory 

January 14, 2014

Celebrate Women's Day 2014 with the Federazione delle Associazioni della Campania USA

The Federazione delle Associazioni della Campania USA is hosting Women's Day 2014 on Sunday, March 9th, 2014 at the Westchester Manor, located at 140 Saw Mill River Road, in Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706. There will be a full course dinner and music by Pane e Cioccolato. Festivities begin at 12 Noon.

In addition to honoring the ladies of member organizations, the newly elected Federation Administration will be sworn into office on this special day. Guests from the Region of Campania will be in attendance.

You can reserve your ticket for a donation of $85 per person; children under 12 pay $60. You can reserve a table for ten or twelve, before March 1st, 2014 by sending a check or money order payable to the Federazione Associazioni della Campania USA, at 2160 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10457. The tickets will be mailed to you as soon we receive the payment.

Federazione Associazioni della Campania USA
2160 Arthur Ave.
Bronx, NY 10457

January 9, 2014

Announcing La Festa di San Sebastiano, Princeton, New Jersey

2014 Festa Directory

Your guide to the Feasts
(L-R) NYC's San Gennaro; Garfield, New Jersey's Our Lady of Mount Virgin;
NYC's San Rocco; and Boston's Sant'Antonio da Padova
The 2014 Festa Directory will be periodically updated so please remember to check back.
• January 18th: Festa di San Sebastiano, Princeton, New Jersey

• February 9th: Sagra del Maiale/Carnevale, Paterson, New Jersey

• March 7th—9th: 6th Annual Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival, Independence, Louisiana
• March 9th: Festa delle Donne (Women's Day), Westchester, New York
• March 15th: Saint Joseph's Table, Verona, New Jersey
• March 15th—16th: Saint Joseph's Feast, Hawthorne, New Jersey
• March 16th: Festa di San Giuseppe, Ridgewood, New York
• March 19th: The Feast of St. Joseph & La Tavolata di San Giuseppe, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
• March 22nd: Festa di San Giuseppe, Westbury, Long Island

• April 5th: La Tavolata di St. Joseph, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• April 26th: Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Birmingham, Alabama

• May 4th: 64th Feast of the Three Saints, Silkwood, Australia
• May 4th: Feast of Sant'Amatore di Cellamare, Northlake, Illinois
• May 16th—18th: 93rd Feast of Saint Sebastian, Middletown, Connecticut
• May 18th: Feast of Santa Gemma, Chicago, Illinois
• May 18th: Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri
• May 18th: Feast of St. Elena of Laurino, Chicago, Illinois
• May 18th: 21st Sicilian Festival, San Diego, California
• May 18th: The Saint Paul Parish Procession of Saints, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• May 21st: Feast of Maria SS Dell'Udenza, Chicago, Illinois
• May 24th—25th: The Feast of San Giovanni Bosco SS Crocifisso di Ciminna, Chicago, Illinois
• May 24th—June 1st: Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, Little Italy, NYC
• May 25th: Festa di San Cono, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• May 31st: Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte, Clifton, New Jersey
(L-R) Williamsburg, Brooklyn's San Cono; Clifton,
New Jersey's Madonna del Sacro Monte; Middletown, Connecticut's
San Sebastiano; and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn's San Calogero
• June 1st: 109th Feast of Santa Maria Di Anzano, Boston, Massachusetts
• June 1st: La Madonna Del Bosco, Providence, Rhode Island
• June 1st: Festa di San Calogero, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• June 5th—8th: 90th Santa Lucia Festival, Omaha, Nebraska
• June 5th—8th: 14th Feast of St. Anthony, Roselle Park, New Jersey
• June 7th: Festa di San Vito, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• June 7th: Festa di Sant'Antonio, Bath Beach, Brooklyn
• June 7th: Saint Anthony of Padua Procession, Verona, New Jersey
• June 7th—8th: Feast of SS Crocifisso di Ciminna, Chicago, Illinois
• June 7th—8th: Saint Anthony Festival, Cortland, New York
• June 8th: Saint Anthony Festival, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
• June 8th: Saint Anthony of Padua Procession, Boston, Massachusetts
• June 8th: Saint Anthony of Padua Procession, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• June 8th: Feast of Sant'Antonio, Chicago, Illinois
• June 8th: Feast of Santa Liberata di Pizzone, Chicago, Illinois
• June 11th—15th: Giglio Feast of Sant'Antonio, Belmont Little Italy, the Bronx
• June 13th: Feast of St. Anthony, SoHo, New York
• June 13th: The Feast of St. Anthony, Chicago, Illinois
• June 13th—16th: 73rd Feast of Sant'Antonio da Padova, Elmont, Long Island
• June 14th: Feast of Sant'Antonio, Chicago, Illinois
• June 15th: Feast of Sant'Antonio, Melrose Park, Illinois
• June 19th—22nd: 7th Festa di San Vito, Peterstown, New Jersey
• June 20th—22nd: Feast of San Antonio Abate, Astoria, Queens
• June 21st: Feast of San Giuliano Martire, Poughkeepsie, New York
• June 22nd: Feast of San Vito Martire, Clifton, New Jersey
• June 22nd: Feast of Saint Anthony, Lynbrook, Long Island
• June 25th—29th: Saint Peter's Fiesta, Gloucester, Massachusetts 
• June 25th—29th: Giglio Feast of San Paolino di Nola, Franklin Square, Long Island
• June 26th—29th: 114th Feast of Saint Andrew, New Haven, Connecticut
• June 29th Feast of San Pio, Chicago, Illinois
• June 29th: Saint Padre Pio Procession, Boston, Massachusetts
(L-R) Bensonhurst, Brooklyn's San Vito; Elm Park, Staten Island's
Our Lady of Mount Carmel; Franklin Square, Long Island's San Paolino;
and Williamsburg, Brooklyn's Our Lady of Mount Carmel
• July 9th—20th: Giglio Feast of San Paolino, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• July 10th—13th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Waterbury, Connecticut
• July 10th—13th: 121st Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Melrose Park, Illinois
• July 11th—12th: Feast of Santa Marina, Inwood, Long Island

• July 11th—20th: 111th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Rosebank, Staten Island
• July 12th: Feast of San Nicola di Bari, Stone Park, Illinois
• July 12th: 7th Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast, Corona, Queens
• July 13th: Madonna delle Grazie Procession, Boston, Massachusetts
• July 14th—19th: 139th Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast, Hammonton, New Jersey
• July 15th—16th: 69th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Verona, New Jersey
• July 16th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Norristown, Pennsylvania

• July 16th: 124th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newark, New Jersey
• July 16th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, East Harlem, NYC
• July 16th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• July 17th—20th: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival, Crabtree, Pennsylvania

• July 18th—20th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Montclair, New Jersey
• July 20th: Saint Rocco Procession, Boston, Massachusetts
• July 23rd—27th: 104th Saint Ann's Italian Feast, Hoboken, New Jersey

• July 27th: Feast of Beato Giovanni Liccio, Chicago, Illinois
• July 29th—August 3rd: Feast of San Rocco, Glen Cove, New York
• July 31st—August 3rd: 11th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bergen Beach, Brooklyn
• July 31st—August 3rd: Festa di San Donato, Waterbury, Connecticut
(L-R) Elmont, Long Island's Sant'Antonio da Padova; Boston's Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca; Boston's Santa Agrippina di Mineo; and Montclair, New Jersey's Saint Donato
• August 1st—3rd: 100th Feast of Saint Agrippina di Mineo, Boston, Massachusetts
• August 2nd: Feast of San Ciro, Garfield, New Jersey

• August 3rd: Feast of San Rocco di Valenzano, Chicago, Illinois
• August 3rd: Festa Della Madonna Degli Angeli, Whitestone, New York
• August 5th: Feast of Our Lady of Snow, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• August 5th—7th: 18th Feast of San Donato, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• August 6th: Feast of Santissimo Salvatore, The Holy Savior, Norristown, Pennsylvania
• August 6th—10th: Feast of San Donato, Blue Island, Illinois
• August 6th—10th: 85th Feast of Saint Rocco, Fort Lee, New Jersey
• August 7th—10th: Giglio di Sant'Antonio, East Harlem, New York
• August 8th—10th: Feast of San Lorenzo, Chicago, Illinois
• August 8th—10th: 85th Feast of Saint Rocco, Malden, Massachusetts
• August 8th—10th: 94th Feast of the Madonna Della Cava, Boston, Massachusetts
• August 9th—10th: Festa Della Famiglia in Honor of San Francesco di Paola, Chicago, Illinois
• August 9th—10th: Festa Italiana in Honor of Maria SS Dell'Assunta, Crest Hill, Illinois
• August 10th: Saint Ippolito Festival, Leslie, Michigan
• August 12th—21st: Our Lady of Romitello, Whitestone, New York

• August 13th—17th: Feast of Maria SS. Dell'Assunta and San Rocco, Jersey City, New Jersey
• August 13th—17th: 104th Feast of the Assumption, Westbury, Long Island
• August 14th—17th: 116th Feast of the Assumption, Cleveland, Ohio
• August 14th—17th: 104th Fisherman's Feast of the Madonna Del Soccorso di Sciacca, Boston, Massachusetts
• August 14th—17th: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Virgin, Garfield, New Jersey
• August 16th: Feast of Saint Rocco, Astoria, Queens
• August 16th—17th: Feast of St. Gabriele, Baltimore, Maryland
• August 17th: Feast of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca, Norristown, Pennsylvania
• August 17th: Feast of Madonna Delle Grazie, Northlake, Illinois
• August 17th: Feast of San Rocco di Simbario, Chicago, Illinois
• August 17th: Feast of San Rocco di Potenza, Chicago, Illinois
• August 17th: 125th Feast of Saint Rocco, New York City
• August 17th: Our Lady of Pierno Feast, Trenton, New Jersey
• August 17th: Ferragosto Celebration, Princeton, New Jersey
• August 20th—24th: Saint Sebastian Feast, Montclair, New Jersey
• August 21st—31st: Feast of Santa Rosalia, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

• August 24th: Feast of Maria SS Del Pozzo, Northlake, Illinois
• August 24th: Festa Di Tutti I Santi, Chicago, Illinois
• August 29th—31st: 91st Feast of the Three Saints, Lawrence, Massachusetts
• August 29th—31st: 95th Saint Anthony's Feast, Boston, Massachusetts
• August 29th—September 1st: 100th Feast of Saint Joseph, Lodi, New Jersey
• August 29th—September 1st: Feast of Maria SS Lauretana, Berwyn, Illinois
• August 30th: Festa di San Rocco, Queens, New York
August 30th—September 2nd: 40th Feast of San Nicola di Bari, Scotch Plains, New Jersey
• August 31st: Feast of the Madonna Della Luce, Hingham, Massachusetts
(L-R) Williamsburg, Brooklyn's San Paolino; Omaha's Santa Lucia; Astoria, Queens' San Rocco; and NYC's San Vincenzo
• September 1st: Saint Lucy's Feast, Boston, Massachusetts
• September 4th—7th: Feast of the Madonna dei Martiri, Hoboken, New Jersey
• September 5th—7th: 2nd Feast of San Gennaro, Seattle, Washington
• September 6th—7th: 88th Feast of St. Cosmas & Damian, Cambridge, Massachusetts
• September 7th: Feast of Maria SS Incoronata, Chicago, Illinois
• September 7th: Ferragosto 2014, The Bronx, New York
• September 7th: Santa Rosalia Di Palermo Procession, Boston, Massachusetts
• September 8th: 11th Feast of the Madonna di Tindari, New York City
• September 11th—21st: 88th Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy, NYC
• September 13th: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Long Island City, New York
• September 14th: Feast of Maria SS Addolorata, Melrose Park, Illinois
• September 14th: 7th Feast of Maria SS. Addolorata, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• September 14th: 66th Feast of Maria SS. Addolorata, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
• September 19th—21st: Saint Pio Festival, Tuckahoe, New York
• September 20th—21st: Feast of San Donato, Montclair, New Jersey
• September 21st: Feast of Maria SS. Addolorata, San Diego, California
• September 21st: Feast of Maria SS Della Croce, Northlake, Illinois
• September 21st: Feast of San Rocco di Modugno, Stone Park, Illinois
• September 25th—28th: Feast of the Madonna Addolorata di Castelpetroso, Nutley, New Jersey
• September 27: 6th Annual Saint Liberata Festival, Patchogue, New York
• September 27th—28th: Feast of Santa Fortunata, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• September 27th—28th: Pilgrimage and Feast of Sts. Cosmas & Damian, Utica, New York
• September 28th: Festa del Santissimo Crocifisso, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
• September 28th: Festa di Sant'Amato, Long Island City, New York

• October 3rd—5th: 89th Saint Joseph's Feast, Boston, Massachusetts
• October 4th—5th: 79th Feast of Madonna Del Lume, San Francisco, California
• October 4th—5th: 4th San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons, Long Island
• October 5th: 111th Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Little Italy, New York
• October 5th: Festa della Madonna del Santo Rosario, San Diego, California
• October 13th: 3rd Columbus Day Giglio, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
• October 16th—19th: Feast of Saint Gerard, Newark, New Jersey
• October 18th: Fiaccolata di San Rocco, Queens, New York
• October 19th: Feast of Madonna Del Lume, San Diego, California
• October 19th: Feast of Madonna di Buterrito, Addison, Illinois
• October 26th: Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco, New York City

• November 8th: O'Giglio Spogliato, Franklin Square, New York
• November 9th: Feast of Madonna Del Paradiso, San Diego, California
• November 9th: Feast of San Trifone, Stone Park, Illinois
• November 15th—16th: 5th Feast of Mother Cabrini, New York City

• December 6th—7th: Feast of St. Lucy, Rockford, Illinois
• December 11th—13th: Feast of Santa Lucia, Chicago, Illinois
• December 13th: Feast of Santa Lucia, Hoboken, New Jersey
(L-R) Westbury, Long Island's Maria SS. Dell'Assunta; East Harlem's
Sant'Antonio da Padova; Astoria, Queens' Sant'Antonio Abate;
and New Haven, Connecticut's Saint Andrew
* All schedules and activities are subject to change, so please check with organizers for any updates.

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Michéal Castaldo Plays Fundraiser Concert for Saint Lucy's Church in Newark, N.J.

Michéal Castaldo
Photos courtesy of Vito Catalano
"The audience was simply transfixed, removed from the worries and anxieties of the world and the hectic pace of the season and whisked away to a peaceful, spiritual space of true 'comfort and joy.'"
By Rosaria Caporrimo, Ph.D.

I have been a Michéal Castaldo fan for years but I’m always amazed at the uniqueness and personal touch he brings to each performance. On December 13th, I was privileged to attend his Italian Christmas concert at St. Lucy’s Church in Newark, N.J. This concert was particularly memorable not only because, as always, Castaldo’s voice was in excellent form, but because of his graciousness and humility, as well as the amazing venue at which the concert took place. The concert was emceed by Jim Masters, noted PBS host and radio personality. Masters’ affable personality and pleasant demeanor set the tone for a relaxed and communal experience.

December 13th is the feast day of St. Lucy, Santa Lucia in Italian, one of the virgin martyrs and patron saints of Sicily, though the feast day is celebrated in Scandinavia as well as Italy. The Church of St. Lucy in Newark is a beautiful tribute to the saint and to the founders of the church as well as its faithful. Built in 1891, it reminds one of the cathedrals of Italy—huge marble columns and high vaulted ceilings with paintings, a semi‐circular altar also in marble, and several side altars. The lighting, the candles, and the Christmas decorations and greenery all added to a lovely ambiance in which Castaldo performed songs from his Extravirgine Christmas CD to benefit the National Shrine of St. Gerard.

Even before the start of the concert, there was a hushed sense of anticipation, doubtless attributable to both the featured artist and the serene environment of St. Lucy’s. Guests spoke in lowered voices about Castaldo’s voice, his demeanor, and CDs they already owned. It was clear that this artist is not only admired for his musical genius but also for his kind soul, generosity, and ability to impact fans beyond his unique vocal talent. The filled‐to‐capacity church was a testimony to his ever‐increasing fan base and to the spirit of the Christmas season.

Castaldo’s Extravirgine CD has become a treasured part of the Christmas season for me, with its Eastern Mediterranean roots and unique approaches to several traditional tunes as well as Castaldo’s own composition, Tutto e Bianco nel Cuor’. Extravirgine itself is a musical tour de force. The only two songs that had already been translated into the Italian language are O Santa Notte (Oh, Holy Night) and Astro Del Ciel (Silent Night). Michéal is the first person to have written Italian lyrics for the remainder of the songs on the CD. In fact, Piccolo Gesù is a traditional Polish Christmas hymn that Castaldo translated into his native Italian.
Filled‐to‐capacity St. Lucy’s Church
It is difficult to put into words the transformative aura of the event—from the first song to the encore, for a brief two hours the audience was simply transfixed, removed from the worries and anxieties of the world and the hectic pace of the season and whisked away to a peaceful, spiritual space of true “comfort and joy.”

Gioia Nel Mondo was an inspired introduction to the concert that followed and to the pure enchantment of the Christmas season. Each song that followed highlighted the diversity of the artist’s voice—from the powerful rendering of Adeste Fideles (Oh Come all Ye Faithful) and Puoi Sentire Quel’ Che Sento Io? (Do You Hear What I Hear?) to the innocence and quiet beauty of Piccolo Gesù and O Santa Notte. Many in the audience had never heard Castaldo’s version of Little Drummer Boy—Batte nel Cuore, Suona Natale, nor Piccolo Gesù, a truly numinous work of art. Micheal’s composition, Tutto e Bianco nel Cuor’ (Everything’s White) is a moving piece that is destined to become a traditional Christmas tune and a holiday favorite. And then there is Castaldo’s brilliant combination medley of Gloria, in Excelsis Deo and Day‐O (the Banana Boat Song), one of my personal favorites. The entire audience of over 400 people sang along during the chorus of Day‐O; it was a marvelous experience! This performance, as well as several others during the concert, brought the audience to its feet well before the final standing ovation.

Castaldo’s celebrated generosity and humility were demonstrated several times during the concert. He featured four talented young musicians from the John J. Cali School of Music Strings, leaving the stage and allowing them to take “center stage” performing a moving Angels From the Realms of Glory and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Before performing Piccolo Gesù, he “introduced” the audience to his wife, Bozena, and credited her with the translation of this lovely hymn from her native Polish into English, affording him the opportunity to translate and perform it in his Italian version. Another highlight of the evening was during the performance of the beloved traditional Italian Christmas song, Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle, when Castaldo invited one of the priests from the parish, Rev. Luigi Zanotto, to sing along with him at the microphone. Soon after, Rev. Zanotto, still excited from performing with Michéal, rushed back to the sacristy to get his harmonica and played a moving instrumental version of Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle to a rousing applause. Throughout the concert Michéal invited the audience to sing along‐‐ it was clear that the audience appreciated his graciousness.
Michéal and Rev. Luigi Zanotto
Castaldo performed two songs that do not appear on Extravirgine CD‐‐ the classic Ave Maria by Schubert and his Italian translation of the Leonard Cohen masterpiece, Hallelujah, (both songs are from his Aceto CD), which Michéal performed as an encore with the soul and spirit with which this artist has become associated. The audience reaction was clear; they were truly moved and many were brought to tears by his performance of both pieces.

For me, this concert will remain a vibrant memory of Castaldo’s talent and commitment to his craft and supporters. With each performance he brings the spirit of a poet and the soul of an angel. His performance at St. Lucy’s warmed both the heart and animas. I witnessed several post‐concert conversations ‐‐ it was clear that his performance touched those in attendance and started their Christmas season with joy, hope, and a sense of tranquility. The standing ovation at the end of the concert was a testament to his effect on the audience. Afterwards I attended the “post‐concert” festivities when people snacked on Italian pastries and chatted with one another and the artist himself, as he graciously autographed the many copies of Extravirgine and other CDs that were sold that evening. The concert left me with a sense of pure felicità (happiness), and a sense of peace and spirituality, which I welcomed in what has become a too‐commercialized time of year and not one of insight and gratitude. Amen!

The following organizations partnered with Michéal Castaldo to help promote the Italian culture and heritage at this Italian Christmas concert: The Italian Tribune, Coccia Foundation, UNICO, Sempre Avanti, Federation of Italian American Societies of NJ, Comitato Italiano di Santa Brigida, Investors Bank and Brown Paper Tickets. Post concert refreshments were generously donated by Palazzone 1960 of Wayne, NJ, and Hot Bagels‐N‐More of Verona, NJ.

For more information, about Michéal Castaldo, go to http://www.michealCASTALDO.com, contact Majestic Castle Music at 877‐642‐7271 or send an email to majesticcastlemusic@yahoo.com