December 7, 2015

San Vincenzo Gets a New “Marble” Pedestal

San Vincenzo was placed at the foot of the "Guariglia Altar" 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Saturday morning I made my way to Most Precious Blood Church in Manhattan’s Little Italy, to lend a hand to the Craco Society with the repositioning of the San Vincenzo statue onto its new base. Made to look like marble, the wooden pedestal was constructed by master craftsman Manny Mayo to display the saint at the foot of the bye-altar. While I liked having to saint at eye level, I admit it did partially obstruct the view of the other statues and votive candles. Happily, the transfer went off without a hitch and it looks awesome! Viva San Vincenzo!
Manny delivers the new base
The wooden pedestal was painted to look like marble
Donatus Buongiorno at Most Precious Blood Church

Afterward, Most Precious Blood Project Manager Bill Russo was kind enough to show me several historical documents from the early 20th century he discovered in the parish archives, including contracts between the church and Neapolitan-American artist Donatus Buongiorno. Buongiorno’s work adorns the apse, ceiling and walls of the church; recounting the principal episodes of the Life of Christ, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua. Sadly, years of neglect and water damage from Hurricane Sandy (2012) has jeopardized several of the paintings, which are in serious need of restoration. For more on Donatus Buongiorno visit
One of the damaged paintings and an old contract
A Sneak Peek at the Nativity of Mercy

Luckily for me artisans from La Scarabottola workshop, located near the famed Via San Gregorio Armeno area of Naples, arrived at the church to install their colossal Neapolitan presepio called the Nativity of Mercy. Inspired by Caravaggio’s masterpiece, The Seven Acts of Mercy, the pieces were commissioned by the church to illustrate the universal reach of God’s mercy. So as not to ruin the surprise, I promised the artists I wouldn’t publish any photos of the presepio until after the official unveiling on Tuesday, December 8th at 6:15PM. All I can say is it will be a wonder to behold and definitely worth the trip to see in person.
A massive wooden base was erected inside the church for the presepio
(Above & below) Crates packed with presepio pieces were delivered from Naples
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