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 28, 2015

The Lioness of the South: Michelina De Cesare

Michelina De Cesare
Oct. 28, 1841 — Aug. 30, 1868
By Giovanni di Napoli
On March 17, 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was born. The events that led to its birth are many but most are hidden behind the myths of theRisorgimento, a romanticized, but false, version of Italian unity. Portraying themselves as liberators, the House of Savoy effectively annexed and colonized the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Papal States. It didn't take long after unification that the lies and false promises of the Northern conquerors become apparent. The new rulers not only continued the unjust policies they promised to eliminate but in many cases they exacerbated them.

Betrayed and desperate, the people of the South rebelled against the Piedmontese and their collaborators. For well over a decade the Northern invaders waged a bloody war of repression against the Southern insurrection, deceitfully referred to as "the war against brigandage." The occupational forces committed many atrocities against the so-called "brigands," perhaps the most famous of which were the Pontelandolfo and Casalduni massacres. The Southerners retaliated by exacting retribution whenever possible. At its peak, over 100,000 soldiers were needed to suppress the revolt. Tribunals, roundups, deportations and summary executions were an integral part of Italian nation building. Continue reading

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

www.frankandsal.com

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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

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

The Lessons of Abu Tabela

Paolo di Avitabile
Oct. 25, 1791—March 28, 1850
By Lucian
Paolo di Avitabile was born in Agerola, near Amalfi. He was a Neapolitan soldier who reached the rank of Lieutenant and was recommended for promotion and decoration by General Delaver after displaying great courage and being wounded twice during the siege of Gaeta. Unfortunately, in his case, the General was ignored and Avitabile was instead transferred to a light infantry division under the same rank. He resigned in disgust at his treatment, but went on to become a successful mercenary in the east, and eventually became the governor of Wazirabad and then Peshawar. He was also a scholar and engineer, and worked closely with Lehna Singh Majithia, the renowned Sikh engineer. After his adventurous career he returned with his fortune to his homeland in Naples, where he married a local girl but then died under suspicious circumstances.
Although Avitabile was interesting and successful, you may be wondering why he is special enough to be remembered as a significant figure in Southern Italian history, especially since he became a mercenary and political figure outside of his European homeland. The answer is because Paolo di Avitabile was also known as the legendary figure Abu Tabela. Continue reading

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 23, 2015

Feast of San Giovanni da Capestrano

Viva San Giovanni!
October 23rd is the Feast Day of San Giovanni da Capestrano, patron Saint of military chaplains and jurists. He is also the protector of Capestrano, a commune in the Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo), where he was born in 1386. 
San Giovanni is revered as the "soldier saint" for his role in the valiant defense of Belgrade against the Ottoman Turks in 1456. With his fiery sermons, he helped raise a peasant army and assisted John Hunyadi, the heroic White Knight of Wallachia, in breaking the siege and routing the invaders. 
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in honor of St. John of Capistrano. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Tea at Trianon.
Prayer to St. John of Capistrano
Lord, you raised up Saint John of Capistrano to give your people comfort in their trials. May your Church enjoy unending peace and be secure in your protection. 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

The Emperor of Philadelphia

No man in the history of the City of Philadelphia was more loved, hated, admired, feared and despised than Mayor Francis L. Rizzo, Sr.
Monument to Mayor Frank Rizzo
By Niccolò Graffio
“The streets of Philadelphia are safe.  It’s only the people who make them unsafe.” – Frank. L. Rizzo
“The City of Brotherly Love” began as a settlement founded by William Penn in 1682.  The previous year, Penn had received a charter from King Charles II of England to establish what would eventually become the Pennsylvania Colony.  Penn, a Quaker, had experienced religious persecution in England and was desirous of founding a colony in the New World where there would be absolute freedom of worship.  His “Holy Experiment” included the building of a city this farsighted soul believed would one day form, as he put it, “…the seed of a nation.”
The City of Philadelphia was officially established by Penn with the Charter of 1701. Penn derived the name of the city from the Greek philos (“love” or “friendship”) andadelphos (“brother”). At this time the city’s inhabitants were mostly settlers from the British Isles, as well as some Germans, Finns, Dutch and slaves from Africa. True to Penn’s vision, many religious minorities settled the area. In addition to Quakers, Mennonites, Catholics, Pietists and even some Jews helped to build the early city. As it grew, Philadelphia began to emerge as an important regional commercial center, facilitating trade between the Caribbean and British colonies in the northeast. Continue reading

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