April 30, 2016

Feast of the Madonna Incoronata

Viva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
The last Saturday of April is the Feast of the Madonna Incoronata (Our Lady Crowned), an ancient tradition dating back to the beginning of the 11th Century A.D. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting Praise to the Queen of Heaven (Salvi Rigina), a traditional Marian prayer from Prayers and Devotional Songs of Sicily, edited and translated by Peppino Ruggeri.(1) The accompanying photo was taken at St. Rocco's Church in Glen Cove, New York.
According to legend, the Count of Ariano got lost while hunting in the forest near the River Cervaro in Foggia, Puglia. He took refuge in a nearby cottage when the woods turned unusually dark. At dawn the Count noticed a bright light shining through the trees. Drawn to the mysterious radiance, a vision of the Madonna appeared before him. Wearing a magnificent crown and levitating above a large oak tree the Blessed Mother revealed a statue of the Black Madonna perched in the branches. Awestricken, the Count promised to build a chapel to house her miraculous icon.
Soon after, a shepherd named Strazzacappa, who was grazing his oxen close by, was also drawn to the light. Immediately recognizing the vision as the Blessed Mother, the humble herdsman set up a makeshift votive lamp with his caldarella beneath the tree in her honor. It is said that the oil was not consumed by the flame.
The Count fulfilled his vow and news of the miracle spread far and wide. The shrine quickly became a popular destination for devotees and those making the pilgrimage to the nearby Sanctuary of the Archangel Michael at Monte Sant'Angelo in the Gargano peninsula. Today, after several renovations, the Basilica Santuario Madre di Dio Incoronata is a major religious center visited by thousands annually. The Black Madonna and a branch from the oak are still on display.
Praise to the Queen of Heaven

Hail to you Mary, Mother of Mercy
Life, sweetness, and spring of joy
In you we trust when in trouble or pain
To you we come when we are in tears
In affliction your comfort we obtain.

Hear our pleas, our sweet defender
Virgin Mother with all sorrow laden
To our God you prayers direct
Because our actions have no effect
The door of paradise open to all
When death for comes to call. Amen.

(1) Prayers and Devotional Songs of Sicily, edited and translated into English by Peppino Ruggeri, Legas 2009, p.139

Congratulations F.C. Crotone!

Photo courtesy of www.fccrotone.it
F.C. Crotone secured promotion to Serie A for the first time in its history Friday, drawing 1-1 at Modena. The Sharks (I Squali) are only the third club from Calabria to reach Italy's top flight. We wish them all the best and much success. Forza Crotone! 

April 28, 2016

Compra Sud — Peppino's Pizzeria Restaurant

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

Peppino's Pizzeria Restaurant
7708 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209


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.

Announcing the 90th Annual Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy, New York City


April 27, 2016

Evviva Maria! A Look at the 2016 Feast of the Madonna Della Misericordia in Brooklyn, New York

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
The sons and daughters of Fontanarosa gathered at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday to celebrate their patronal Feast of Maria SS. della Misericordia, or Our Lady of Mercy. Mass was celebrated in English and Italian with Msgr. Joseph Calise, who spoke at length about Pope Francis' Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and the importance of forgiveness.
After Mass, Our Lady was brought out to the expectant crowd with much fanfare. The statue was placed on a float and accompanied by a group of adorable children dressed as angels and Papal guards. Blessed with terrific weather, the procession sauntered through the neighborhood, stopping on occasion so parishioners could offer donations.
The festivities continued back in the church gymnasium, where we were treated to a magnificent luncheon with all our favorite southern Italian delicacies, including trippa alla napoletana and involtini di melanzane. In addition to the delicious food, partygoers enjoyed plenty of music, dancing and good company. The evening ended with a raffle drawing full of wonderful prizes.
I want to thank President Joe DiTalia and all the members of the Società di Maria SS. della Misericordia for their hard work and dedication to our community. Special thanks to Buffy Cipriano and her beautiful family for their warmth and hospitality. As always, they went above and beyond to make me feel welcome, and to my great surprise (and pleasure) they made me an honorary member of the society. I look forward to celebrating with them again next year. Evviva Maria!
The color guard were all smiles
During Mass, devotees present the crowns for the coronation
Msgr. Joseph Calise crowns the Madonna and Child with the triple diadem
After Mass, young men carry the statue to the float
Devotees pin donations on to the ribbons
At the head of the procession, young ladies carry the society banner
Members rally around the standard
President Joe DiTalia with members of the Board of Directors
The procession makes its way through the neighborhood
(Above & below) Young ladies collect donations & hand out prayer cards
Anthony's Italian American Marching Band
The procession returns to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
As always, the organizers did a fantastic job
The Papal Guard stood watch as the Blessed Mother was returned to the church
(Above & below) Revelers danced the tarantella
Guests enjoyed a sumptuous repast
Also see:
A Look at the 2015 Feast of Maria SS. Della Misericordia in Brooklyn, New York

April 26, 2016

"L'Ultima Tonnara-Mattanza" (The Last Tuna Massacre) at the Italian American Museum

A film by Prof. Emeritus Philip Singer
Mattanza fishermen landing giant bluefin tuna – Favignana, Italy
Thursday, April 28th, 6:30 P.M.
You are cordially invited to attend a screening of Dr. Philip Singer's award-winning documentary film entitled, "L'Ultima Tonnara-Mattanza (The Last Tuna Massacre)" at the Italian American Museum on Thursday evening, April 28th.
Dr. Singer will present a 23-minute edited DVD version of the two-hour documentary as well as excerpts from the larger DVD. The documentary is based on the 1966 tuna catch season in Favignana, an island off the coast of Sicily.  For each of the 22 days of preparation leading to the Mattanza there are 63 men from the village of Favignana, Sicily participating. The tuna are captured during Spring migration in a series of underseas nets that are slowly raised to the surface where they are gaffed and hauled aboard a boat. The film was awarded the Premio Pitre of the international study of anthropology - Giuseppe Pitre-Salvatore Salamone - Citta di Palermo.
For thousands of years, people living around the Mediterranean have fished for the giant bluefin tuna.
Because of over fishing by commercial boats, including Japanese, who consume about four-fifths of the world's bluefin tuna, extinction is a real possibility. Blame for the crisis is global. The fatty flesh is prized by Japanese for sushi.
As the bluefin tuna population has plummeted, the Favignana Mattanza ceased a few years after Dr. Singer's documentary.  An effort was made by a Rome marketing executive to costume the fishermen in uniform and reenact the Mattanza to attract tourists. The fishermen were not enthusiastic and have sought work off the island in industrial employment in Italian cities.
About the Presenter: 
Professor Emeritus Philip Singer, is a 91-year-old anthropologist filmmaker who has directed and produced over 60 documentaries around the world. His work has been reviewed in anthropological journals. His most recent documentary (2015) is titled, The Final Participant Observation -- Cultural Anthropologists Confront Their Own Aging and Mortality.
Light Refreshments Will Be Served
Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
(Corner of Grand and Mulberry Streets)
New York, NY 10013 

Suggested donation of $10 per person
For reservations, please call the Italian American Museum at 212-965-9000 or Email: ItalianAmericanMuseum@gmail.com

Announcing the 2016 Ferragosto in The Bronx


April 25, 2016

Feast of the Madonna delle Armi

Viva Maria!
Photo courtesy of Olivia Cerrone
By Giovanni di Napoli
April 25th is the Feast of the Madonna delle Armi, or Our Lady of the Cave.(1) She is the patroness of Cerchiara di Calabria, an ancient town in the province of Cosenza, in northeastern Calabria. The accompanying photos (courtesy of Olivia Cerrone) were taken at the Santuario Santa Maria dell Armi on the slopes of Mount Sellaro above Cerchiara. Built in the fifteenth century over the ruins of a Byzantine monastery, the sanctuary houses a sacred stone depicting the Blessed Mother and Child.
According to legend, in 1450 a group of hunters from nearby Rossano were tracking a stag through the oak woods of Mount Sellaro. As they closed in on their prey the animal ascended the rocky ridge and squeezed into a small cave in the side of the mountain. The huntsmen followed the deer into the crevice, but to their surprise the animal was nowhere to be found; instead they discovered two wooden tablets depicting the Holy Evangelists. Excited about their discovery the hunters decided to take the icons back to Rossano. Continue reading

Feast of San Marco Evangelista

Viva San Marco!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
April 25th is the Feast Day of San Marco Evangelista (St. Mark the evangelist), patron saint of notaries. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal protector of San Marco Evangelista (CE), San Marco Argentano (CS), Futani (SA), San Marco in Lamis (FG), Rionero in Vulture (PZ), and Pacentro (AQ), among others. In commemoration, I'm posting a prayer in honor of Saint Mark. The accompanying photo of San Marco was taken at the Basilica Santa Trofimena in Minori. 
Prayer to Saint Mark
O Glorious St. Mark, through the grace of God our Father, you became a great Evangelist, preaching the Good News of Christ. May you help us to know Him well so that we may faithfully live our lives as followers of Christ. Amen.

April 24, 2016

Photo of the Week: Romanesque Bell Tower of the Duomo di Salerno

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of the 12th century bell tower of the Cattedrale di Salerno (Cathedral of San Matteo)

Announcing the 2016 Feast of Santa Rita da Cascia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

April 23, 2016

Feast of San Giorgio

Viva San Giorgio!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
April 23rd is the Feast Day of San Giorgio di Lydda (St. George of Lydda), patron saint of valor, chivalry and soldiers. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal protector of Reggio Calabria (RC), Modica (RG), Ragusa (RG), Prizzi (PA) and Barano d'Ischia (NA), among others. In commemoration of the great warrior saint I'm posting a Prayer to Saint George. The accompanying photo was taken at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary and Saint Stephen's Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Invocation of Saint George
Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit. Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end. Amen

April 22, 2016

Ponderable Quote From "The History of the Italian Revolution, First Period: The Revolution of the Barricades (1796-1849)" by Patrick Keyes O'Clery

The Revolution, once triumphant in France, its leaders resolved to force it upon all Europe. They wished to repeat the triumph of Islam, and spread their new doctrines by the sword. First Belgium was over-run, revolutionized and plundered. Then almost simultaneously they poured into Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. To the Italian people they proclaimed that they had come as deliverers, to restore them their freedom. Piedmont was conquered, the Austrians were driven from the north, Genoa and Venice saw their ancient republics destroyed, the Pope was deprived of the Legations, and subjected to a fine of thirty million francs, with the object of embarrassing the temporal government. Every gallery of art in Italy was plundered for the museums of Paris, war contributions were levied on all sides; while Jacobin apostles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity organized the short-lived Ligurian, Cis-Alpine, Etrurian, and Parthenopean Republics. Yet it is quite certain that all this was accomplished by French generals and French political agents, without consent and against the will of the Italian people. The Revolutionists of Italy were a mere handful, compared to the whole nation.
* The History of the Italian Revolution, First Period: The Revolution of the Barricades (1796-1849) by Patrick Keyes O'Clery, Andesite Press, 2015, p. 74-75 [Originally published London: R. Washbourne, 1875]

April 20, 2016

Most Precious Blood Church Heritage Profile: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Maria SS. del Carmine 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
at Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Frank Tamburello

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a name associated with devotion to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus of Nazareth. Her veneration under this title is very widespread among the Italians of Southern Italy and Sicily. Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was brought by Italian immigrants to the United States. Many churches are dedicated to her honor, and there is hardly an Italian Catholic church that does not bear her image. 
History of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 
Tradition suggests that a community of Jewish hermits lived at the top of Mount Carmel near Haifa in Israel, from the time of the Prophet Elijah (Elias) who according to the Scriptures, lived in a cave there. In the thirteenth century, the Christian order of the Carmelites was founded on Mount Carmel (although legend has it that the Prophet Elijah himself founded the order). The Prophet Elijah is considered the Patron Saint of the Carmelites, and a statue of Elijah defeating the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18) was erected near the monastery. Another tradition states that the order was founded by San Bertoldo of Calabria. 
Prefixed to the Carmelite Constitution of 1281 was the claim that from the time when Elijah and Elisha had dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, priests and prophets, both Jewish and Christian, had lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence adjacent to the site of the fountain of Elisha, in an uninterrupted succession. 
Various problems with the invading Muslims made the Carmelite brothers unable to live on Mt. Carmel in prayerful solitude. From about 1238, they began to move to Europe. Some went to Sicily, some to Naples. St. Louis, King of France, a Crusader, welcomed the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to his country. In 1242 the Carmelites arrived in England under the sponsorship of Richard De Grey and Richard of Cornwall. 
The Origin of the Scapular 
On July 16, 1251, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to an English Carmelite monk Simon Stock, and gave him the brown garment known today as the scapular, which has become associated with the Carmelite order. 
Byzantine Tradition 
The Byzantine icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, venerated at the monastery in Israel, was brought to Naples and enshrined in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine by the Carmelites who left the mountain. This icon is called in Italian “La Bruna” (the Dark One) because the smoke from years of devotional candles and incense darkened the features of the Madonna and Child. Thousands of Italian emigrants made vows to the Virgin of Mount Carmel to ensure safe passage from the Port of Naples to the New World at this basilica. 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New York 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem
The Southern Italian immigrants, brought their devotion to the Virgin of Mount Carmel with them to the New World, especially to New York, where many of them contributed to the building of a shrine in her honor. In 1881 a beautiful church was dedicated to her on 115th St. in East Harlem, together with a traditional statue of the Madonna made in Italy and donated by a devotee from Salerno. 
Papal Coronation 
In 1904, Pope St. Pius X conferred the special privilege of solemn papal coronation upon the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a rare privilege granted only three times before in North America: Guadalupe, Mexico; Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada; and Prompt Succor, New Orleans, Louisiana. Pope St. Pius X contributed a large emerald of his own to the crowns of the Madonna and Child in New York. 
Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Most Precious Blood Church, NYC 
Document from church archives
Records at Most Precious Blood Church indicate a Mutual Aid Society under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel had been in existence at least since 1896, with a statue of the Madonna belonging to the Society venerated by members of the Italian congregation. In 1896 the original statue was removed from the church by the Society, and replaced with another. 
In 1975, another Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was founded by Brother Matthew Morreale under the pastorship of Father Marion Cascino. In October 1976, however, by general consensus of the Franciscan friary and Parochial Chapter, Most Precious Blood Church broke connections with the second Society. 
By 1977, the Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was housed in a basement apartment at 174 Elizabeth Street (near Spring St.), and from July 13 to July 16, 1978, sponsored its first annual Procession and Bazaar at Most Precious Blood Church under the pastorship of Rev. Adolph Giorda. 
There had always been a connection with the parishioners of Most Precious Blood Church and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem. Groups of devoted women made vows to the Virgin for various intentions. They would walk barefoot from Little Italy to the Shrine on 115th Street, following traditional Italian devotional custom, on her feast day July 16, to fulfill their vows. 
Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood
113 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013

April 13, 2016

Most Precious Blood Church Heritage Profile: The Healing Saints, Cosmas and Damian

I Santi Anargiri e Medici, SS. Cosma e Damiano
Saints Cosmas and Damian
at Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Frank Tamburello
Saints Cosmas and Damian, were martyrs and twin brothers. They distinguished themselves as physicians who took no fees for their services, and are often referred to as “The Moneyless Ones” (in Italian “Gli Anargiri.”) Cosmas and Damian were the twin sons of the widow Theodota, and along with their three brothers Anthimos, Leontios, and Eupropios, they were beheaded for their faith at Cyrus in Syria, and were buried there.   
Besides using their skills for the healing of diseases they sought to spread the Christian faith. After many tortures they died about 287 in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. The fame of their healing miracles spread over the whole world, and there are many churches, sanctuaries, and hospitals erected in their honor. They are usually portrayed as young men dressed in eastern garb with palm branches and other symbols of the medical profession, sometimes wearing the crowns of martyrdom.
There is great devotion to the “Santi Medici” in the various regions of Southern Italy and Sicily, among Catholics of both the Roman and Byzantine-Greek Rites. There are several famous celebrations in honor of the Doctor Saints. The most noted are in the towns of Bitonto, Riace, Alberobello, Sferracavallo, and San Cosmo Albanese. In the United States, the most famous is in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the Roman Rite their feast falls on the 26/27 of September, and in the Greek Rite, November 1. At Most Precious Blood Church, the Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian is celebrated on the first Sunday in October.
Saints Cosmas and Damian at Most Precious Blood Church   
During the Feast, the statues are
moved to the altar for veneration
Devotion to the Healing Saints, Cosmas and Damian at Most Precious Blood Church is intimately connected to the immigrants from San Cosmo Albanese, a town of seven or eight thousand people near Cosenza in Calabria. It is the original home of the founding parishioners, many of whom could trace their ancestry to the Byzantine Rite Christian refugees who fled Albania between the 15th and 18th centuries as a result of the Ottoman Empire's invasion of the Balkans and forced conversions to Islam.
In 1903, an immigrant parishioner by the name of Cosimo Seremba gave paintings of the saints to the Church, and raised enough money to purchase wooden statues from a Naples supplier. About a meter high, the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Most Precious Blood Church are similar to those still venerated in San Cosmo Albanese. The Society of SS. Cosma e Damiano, plans the annual feast day Mass and Reception at Most Precious Blood Church in October under the guidance of George Minisci.

Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood
113 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013

Also see:
Evviva i Santi Medici!
A Look at the 111th Annual Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Little Italy, New York

April 11, 2016

Photo of the Week: The Town of Castelmezzano and the Lucanian Dolomites

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of Castelmezzano and the Dolomites in Potenza, Basilicata

New Music (April 2016)

New music that may be of interest to our readers

Terra Sangue Mare

Release Date: April 5, 2016
Audio CD: $20.00
Number of Discs: 1

Available at http://www.michelamusolino.com/store

For more info visit http://www.michelamusolino.com/home

Rhythms & Roots by Villa Palagonia

Release Date: March 13, 2016
Audio CD: $15.00
Number of Discs: 1

Available at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/villapalagonia

For more info visit https://villa-palagonia.com