August 4, 2015

Moving San Vincenzo

History Repeats - Almost the same scene of San Vincenzo moving is depicted in the photographs below only 58 years apart. The photograph on the left was taken in 1957 after the statue was moved from St. Joachim’s to the Gallo family household in Brooklyn. The photograph on the right shows the statue outside the display area at St. Joseph’s Church before being packed for transport to its new home at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood. Photographs courtesy of Fr. Regis Gallo (left) and John Napoli (right)
Reprinted from the August 2015 Craco Society Bulletin
History was made on July 27 when the 114 year old statue of San Vincenzo Martire was moved from the Church of St. Joseph on 5 Monroe St., Manhattan to a new home at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood.
This is the most significant and important preservation project the Society has been involved in but this is not the first time the statue moved in its long history.
In 1901 when the Societ√° San Vincenzo Martire di Craco arranged to place the statue in St. Joachim’s Church it made a short trip from the tailor shop of Pasquale Marrese on Spring Street in Manhattan, where it was made to the church on Roosevelt St. St. Joachim’s was the first national parish for Italian immigrants in the Archdiocese of New York. It remained at St. Joachim’s on Roosevelt St. until 1957 when that church property was taken by the City of New York due to an urban redevelopment project. The statue was removed from the church by the Gallo family and brought to their home in Brooklyn, NY until a new church location could be found for it. The Church of St. Joseph, run by the Scalabrini Fathers who had overseen St. Joachim’s and founded St. Joseph’s in 1928.
The statue, remained at St. Joseph’s, along with a reliquary containing fragments of San Vincenzo’s bones, that was brought from Craco in 1901 until Monday. During that time two restorations were done, one by Anna Zafferese LoCicero and another by the Society in 2010-2011. 
Overseeing the move, done by Van Gogh Moving Company, were Stephen LaRocca and Joe Rinaldi, Society Directors with assistance from Society members Phil Francavilla, John Napoli, and Mary Rinaldi.
There was a direct connection between Phil Francavilla and Pasquale Marrese, the statue’s maker. Phil’s wife Rosa D’Elia is the great-granddaughter of Pasquale Marrese. 
The statue is safely stored in a locked room at Most Precious Blood until the permanent display case in completed. The small articles in the display are stored separately in the NY apartment of Joe Rinaldi continuing the Cracotan tradition of “home housing” for San Vincenzo just as the Gallo family did 58 years ago. 
Everything will come together before the October 25th feast day. But in the meantime the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood will be the center of much activity. 
Click image to enlarge flier
On August 16th the 126th Feast of San Rocco, which is the 3rd oldest feast in the US, will be celebrated there continuing the traditional celebration that is almost exactly the same as was first held by the San Rocco Society of Potenza. It will follow the time honored formula with a noontime Mass, followed by a procession through the streets of Little Italy, and ending with a party after the procession. Visit the San Rocco Society’s website or Facebook page for more information. 
From September 10th-20th the Feast of San Gennaro, sponsored by Figli di San Gennaro will be held in Little Italy. Most Precious Blood Church is the National Shrine of San Gennaro. 
As we complete the preservation project for San Vincenzo we will update progress but please see the related photo-article for more about the move activity.