October 31, 2015

Viva San Vincenzo!

A Look at the 114th Annual Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco at Most Precious Blood Church in New York City
San Vincenzo Martire on display in his new home
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Sunday, October 25th, my friends and I made our way to Most Precious Blood Church (113 Baxter St.) in Manhattan’s historic Little Italy, for the 114th Annual Feast of San Vincenzo Martire, patron saint of Craco, Basilicata. A homecoming of sorts, the first recorded celebration of the Feast was held outside Most Precious Blood Church on October 25th, 1901 while it was under construction. Established at St. Joachim’s Church on Roosevelt Street, the celebration eventually relocated to St. Joseph’s Church on Monroe Street. With the unfortunate closing of St. Joe’s in August, San Vincenzo moved again, finding a new home at Most Precious Blood Church.
We were honored to celebrate the first Mass at Most Precious Blood with Rev. Monsignor Nicholas Grieco who, being of Cracotan descent himself, gave an impassioned homily about the life and martyrdom of St. Vincent, St. Maurice and the Theban Legion. Father Grieco ended the ceremony by blessing the statue, prominently displayed in his new encasement on top of the “Guariglia Altar.”
After Mass, members crossed teeming Canal Street to Forlini’s Restaurant (93 Baxter St.) for the annual society luncheon. Guests packed into the old-school Italian eatery for a delicious meal and some lighthearted revelry in a comfortable setting. Taking a breather between courses, we were treated to a couple of short, but fascinating, documentaries about Craco. Naturally, we ended our spirited soirée with some coffee and dessert, including Forlini’s legendary cheesecake and more than a few shots of Salvatore Francavilla’s outstanding homemade limoncello
I want to thank President Joe Rinaldi, Fred Spero, Stephen La Rocca and all the members of the Craco Society who worked day and night to make this event a huge success. As always, I was overwhelmed with joy by your warmth and generosity. Special thanks to Monsignor Donald Sakano, Bill Russo, John Amerise and the rest of the parish staff for your hard work and endless hospitality. Most Precious Blood Church continues to be a great bastion of southern Italian faith and culture. It truly was an honor and a privilege to be a part of this glorious 114-year tradition. Viva San Vincenzo!
After Mass, celebrants pose for pictures by our beloved patron
Devotees venerate San Vincenzo
Donations are pinned onto the 1930s era statue of San Vincenzo
Before leaving for lunch, Msgr. Grieco greets nuns visiting from Acri, Calabria
for the Feast of Blessed Angelo d'Acri
The celebration continued at Forlini's Restaurant
Msgr. Grieco says grace in Latin and English
During the festivities, President Joe Rinaldi delivers his welcome address
Our dear friends Bill Russo, Fred Spero and Joe Rinaldi
enjoying the fruits of their labor
Homegrown hot peppers were given to attendees
To our delight, Salvatore shares his homemade Limoncello
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see:
Unveiling San Vincenzo Martire at Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy
Southern Italian Sacred Art Finds New Home at Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy
Bittersweet Move: The Translation of the Relic of San Vincenzo and Society Statues to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy
Moving San Vincenzo
A Look at the 2014 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco in New York City
A Look at the 112th Anniversary Mass Celebrating San Vincenzo Martire di Craco in New York City
A look at the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire in NYC
Feast of San Vincenzo Martire

October 30, 2015

Feast of Blessed Angelo d'Acri

Viva il Beato Angelo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 30th is the Feast Day of Blessed Angelo d'Acri, patron of Acri, a commune in the Province of Cosenza, Calabria. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a prayer to Blessed Angelo of Acri. The accompanying photo was taken during the 2015 Feast at Most Precious Blood Church (109 Mulberry Street), the national shrine of San Gennaro, located in New York City's historic Little Italy.
Prayer to Blessed Angelo
O God, you gave to your priest blessed Angelo the grace to call sinners to penance through his words and miracles, grant through his intercession, that we may be sorry for our sins, and gain eternal life. 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

October 29, 2015

Drawn to the Light

Exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute Showcases 19th-Century "Neapolitan School" of Painting
Testa femminile di profilo con cappellino (Female Head with Hat)
by Giuseppe De Nittis (Barletta, 1846-Saint Germain, 1884)
Considering how rare exhibitions showcasing southern Italian artists are (and how spectacular this one is), how could I not return to the Italian Cultural Institute (686 Park Avenue) in Manhattan one more time before The Light of Southern Italy closes on November 5th?

For fun (and to help persuade readers to visit), I'm posting a few photos I took at the show. — Giovanni
Mercato (Market) by Carlo Brancaccio (Naples, 1861-1920)
Al mercato (At the Market) by Vincenzo Migliaro (Naples, 1858-1938)
(Left) S. Eligio (St. Elegius, Naples) by Carlo Brancaccio (Naples, 1861-1920)
and (right) Case rustiche e filatrici (Rustic houses and spinners)
by Rubens Santoro (Mongrassano, 1859-Naples, 1942)
Lavori di casa (Housework)
by Vincenzo Volpe (Grottaminarda, 1855-Naples, 1929)
Also see: 
The Light of Southern Italy Exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute is a Must-See

October 26, 2015

Photo of the Week: Bell Tower, Cathedral of Amalfi

Bell Tower, Cathedral of Amalfi. Upper levels completed in 1276.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Giordano

Compra Sud — Frank and Sal's Italian Market

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Frank and Sal's Italian Market
8008 18th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 331-8100





Visit our Compra Sud Directory for complete listing

* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

October 25, 2015

Solemnity of Christ the King

Christ Pantocrator, Photo by Niccolò Graffio
Celebrated on the last Sunday of October, the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King celebrates the authority of Christ as King of the cosmos. In commemoration, I'm posting A Prayer to Christ the King. The accompanying photo of Christ Pantocrator (Christ Almighty) was taken at the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily.
A Prayer to Christ the King
O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge you as universal King. All that has been made has been created for You. Exercise all Your rights over me. I renew my Baptismal Vows. I renounce Satan, his pomps and his works; I promise to live as a good Christian. And, in particular do I pledge myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and of Your Church. Divine Heart of Jesus, to You do I offer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Your sacred kingship, and that thus the reign of Your peace be established throughout the whole universe. Amen

Feast of San Vincenzo Martire

Viva San Vincenzo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
The fourth Sunday of October is the Feast Day of San Vincenzo Martire, patron Saint of Craco, Lucania. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Vincent. (*) The accompanying photo was taken during the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan, the national shrine of San Vincenzo. For more on Saint Vincent's Feast Day please visit the Craco Society and the San Fele Society.

Prayer to St. Vincent
Patron of Craco, Lucania

O strong and glorious St. Vincent,
our distinguished patron, who
had the honor of giving your life
for loyal testimony to Jesus Christ,
turn your loving gaze on us
who by wise design of
providence, are, the unworthy,
fortunate guardians of your relics.

Teach us, oh, generous Martyr,
the tenacity to do good
in the way in which you serve as model,
having preserved good intentions
even when you were violently
torn from the quiet life of our family.

Communicate with our souls
a little of the great love
which you showed
evidence of in your lifetime.
Pray to the Lord Jesus
that because the generosity of
your love of the Cross, that our hearts will be
evermore enkindled.
Present to Jesus, sweet friend
of our souls and crown of Martyrs our
earnest desire to support
courageously, like you,
every suffering of our lives, Amen

(*) A Prayer to St. Vincent courtesy of the San Felese Society

October 24, 2015

The Light of Southern Italy Exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute is a Must-See

Contemplazione (Contemplation)
by Filippo Palizzi (Vasto, 1818—Naples, 1899)
By Giovanni di Napoli
I finally got to see The Light of Southern Italy exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute (686 Park Avenue) in Manhattan, and it did not disappoint. Curated by Marco Bertoli, the show boasts 34 extraordinary paintings by 26 masters from southern Italy, including Filippo Palizzi, Edoardo Dalbono, and Giuseppe De Nittis.
On display in three galleries on two floors, the show offers American audiences a rare glimpse at the obscure 19th-century “Neapolitan School” of painters. In actuality, the collection is comprised of artists from several southern Italian regions with diverse artistic styles. Ranging from the genre scenes of Vincenzo Migliaro to the realistic, almost photographic, canvases of Giacomo Di Chirico, the primary unifying theme is (as the title of the exhibit makes clear) the artistic rendering of southern Italy’s dramatic lighting.
The show boasts 34 extraordinary paintings by 26 masters from southern Italy
Taking the morning off from work and arriving early, I was the only guest at the Institute. Luckily for me, a very knowledgable guide gave me a comprehensive tour before leaving me to view the collection on my own. Having the galleries all to myself, allowed me to admire and contemplate the paintings in peaceful tranquility. Beholding the virtuosity of the artists on display, it is incomprehensible that before this exhibit I’ve only seen one example from the 19th-century Neapolitan School in person—Giuseppe De Nittis’ Return from the Races at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Considering how rare books on southern Italian artists are in English, the full-color hardcover catalogue, complete with biographies, available for $15 is a steal.
Unfortunately, the exhibit closes Thursday, November 5th. If you have the opportunity, see it before its too late, you will not be disappointed. Admission is free and its open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM. 
Highlights include:
Contemplazione (Contemplation) by Filippo Palizzi (Vasto, 1818—Naples, 1899)
Il richiamo (The calling) by Antonino Leto (Monreale, 1844—Capri, 1913)
Marina (Marine) by Edoardo Dalbono (Naples, 1841—1915)
Uno sposalizio in Basilicata (A wedding in Basilicata)
by Giacomo Di Chirico (Venosa, 1844—Capodichino, 1883)

October 22, 2015

Return of the East Harlem "Crowned Madonna" Inspires Pilgrimages of the Faithful

Former Italian Residents Return En Masse to Beloved Shrine of Their Ancestors
Members of the Holy Name Society of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Pontifical Shrine with the newly restored miraculous image of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel in East Harlem. Photos courtesy of Bobby Maida
The Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, located 448 East 116th Street Manhattan has restored the historic image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The statue, housed in the church, has been undergoing an eight month physical and artistic restoration. It was presented to the public on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 1PM during a special Mass and celebration. Our Lady, under the title of Mount Carmel, has been the center of Southern Italian devotion since around 1880, when the Italian immigrant community sought the comfort of their benevolent Mother. In 1881, a traditional Italian Festa was organized by the Mount Carmel Society. By 1883, the statue inspired by the one venerated in Polla, Italy was ordered. By 1884 the number of Italians warranted a church geared to their needs. Perhaps the first miracle was the building of the church during 1884, with Italian men and women working throughout the night to complete a home for their beloved Madonna.
The restored statue
The Festa grew in popularity, attracting 1,000’s of Italians. Word of the Madonna ability to answer prayers and favors spread rapidly. Finally an investigation was held by the Vatican. Pope Leo XIII, decreed that the Madonna be adorned with golden crowns, and that the church be designated a Sanctuary to Our Lady, and a national Shrine for all the Italians in America. Pius X published the decrees under his name following the death of Leo. To show his particular support, he sent two emeralds from the Vatican for the crowns. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is one of the five Papally crowned (incoronated) Madonnas outside of Europe. Till this day, 1,000’s attend the annual Feast on July 16th.
However, after 132 years, the statue and its garments were showing the effects of age. A group of specially selected artists, designers, wig makers and hairdressers began the painstaking restoration. Their efforts were presented to the public on Saturday, October 17th.
The Italians have remained remarkably loyal to their Madonna returning to the community for Christmas, the annual Mount Carmel Festa, and lastly this year the “Dancing of the Giglio” in August. The public exhibition of the Madonna has brought them back again. It was a reunion of Italian Americans of East Harlem presenting their petitions and giving thanks again to the Our Lady, as their parents, grandparents and great grand parents did before them.

Little Italy Food Tour

Trick or Treat for Bread, Cheese and Cannoli!
Saturday, October 31, 2015
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
$30.00 PP

Meet at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market: 2344 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458
Spend your Halloween feasting on history and trick or treat for cheese, salume, bread and cannoli! Join us for a walking tour of Little Italy in the Bronx (aka Arthur Avenue) where we'll introduce you to one of the very last enclaves of family owned food shops in New York. Food historian Danielle Oteri will show you all the very best food secrets in Little Italy. Sommelier Christian Galliani will then offer you a taste of wine at the end of the tour and teach you about the pairing philosophy of "what grows together, goes together."

October 21, 2015

A Look at the 2015 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens

Viva San Rocco!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Saturday, October 17th, I returned to Astoria, Queens for the highly anticipated Societá Gioventú Quagliettana’s Annual Fiaccolata di San Rocco. I’ve been attending the torchlight procession for several years now and, thanks to the warmth and hospitality (not to mention the strong devotion) of the members, it continues to be one of my all-time favorite celebrations.
Despite the biting cold weather, society members turned out en masse for the procession. Starting from the clubhouse on 28th Avenue—better known as St. Rocco’s Place—we sauntered through the neighborhood to St. Joseph’s Church, where we celebrated Mass in Italian with Father Felix. During the offertory, tenor Pasquale Auriemma performed a stirring rendition of Panis Angelicun (Angelic Bread), the last two stanzas from the hymn Sacris Solemniis written by St. Thomas Aquinas. It was one of the finest church performances I’ve heard in some time.
After Mass, we wended our way, singing and praying, back to the clubhouse. Inside, we enjoyed some coffee and refreshments. While we were warming up, I had a great time catching up with everyone.
I want to thank all the members of the society for their hard work and dedication. Special thanks to President Vincenzo Carpinelli, a tireless organizer, who always does a tremendous job. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of your special day. Evviva San Rocco!
The color guard battled through the strong winds 
Members take turns carrying San Rocco
The candlelight procession makes its way through the neighborhood
The faithful sing hymns outside St. Joseph's Church
Father Felix blesses and purifies the statue with incense
Departing Saint Joseph's Church
The procession makes its way back to the clubhouse for refreshments
Our friends Maria and Tina
Back at the clubhouse, devotees sing a patronal hymn to San Rocco
Our Pal Gerardo sporting the society's new jacket,
which came in handy this cold evening
Glorious San Rocco is returned to his shrine
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see:
A Look at the 2015 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2014 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2014 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Congratulations Societá Gioventú Quagliettana — Serving Our Community Since 1911
A Look at the 2013 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2013 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Pix from the 2012 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Enjoying the 2012 Sagra di Fusilli (Festival of Fusilli) with The Societá Gioventú Quagliettana of Queens, New York
A Look at the 2012 Festa di San Rocco in Queens
Fiaccolata di San Rocco, 2011

October 20, 2015

Southern Italian Halloween Costume Ideas

Thomas made a fearsome Michele Pezza
the Neapolitan folk hero better known as "Fra Diavolo" (Brother Devil) 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Halloween is once again upon us and, in accordance with its tradition, children (and adults) must decide what costumes to wear for the festivities. Since we all have our favorite characters from Southern Italian history or folklore, we thought it would be fun and interesting to consider some of them for this year's costumes. Continue reading

October 19, 2015

Feast of San Pietro d'Alcántara

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
October 19th is the Feast Day San Pietro d'Alcántara (St. Peter of Alcántara), Mystic and Confessor. Patron saint of night watchmen, he is also invoked against virulent fevers. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara. The accompanying photo of Saint Ann and a young Virgin Mary with Saint Lucia and Saint Peter of Alcántara by Pietro Bardellino (Napoli 1728-1820) was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Naples. Evviva San Pietro!
Prayer to St. Peter of Alcántara
St. Peter of Alcántara, you were a tireless watchman of God. Your Vigils were the most difficult and remarkable of all the austerities which touched the heart of God himself. We put in your hands our petitions. St. Teresa of Avila attested that all she asked from God invoking your name, God did not refuse. Use your influence with God for our petitions in this novena (mention your request here). Help us face our daily sufferings and enable us to pray as you did through the nights. We promise on our part to take seriously our life of prayer and live simply, sharing what we have to the poor and the needy. We ask you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Photo of the Week: Positano, The Vertical City

Positano, Amalfi Coast. Photo courtesy of Andrew Giordano