November 30, 2016

Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Saint Andrew pray for us
November 30th is the Feast Day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, patron of fishermen and protector of Amalfi. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Andrew. The accompanying photo of the Saint was taken at the memorial mass for the deceased members of the Saint Andrew Society at Saint Michael's Church in New Haven, Connecticut. At the turn of the 20th century, large numbers of immigrants from Amalfi settled in New Haven, so its not surprising the veneration of the Saint is strong there. Viva Sant'Andrea!  
Prayer to Saint Andrew
O glorious Saint Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, Saint John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, Saint Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.

November 29, 2016

An Afternoon of Sicilian and Southern Italian Christmas Songs with Rosa Tatuata

Saturday, December 17th @ 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Whitestone Branch Queens Public Library
151-10 14th Road
Whitestone, NY 11357

Join Rosa Tatuata for an afternoon concert celebration of Christmas songs from Sicily and Southern Italy. Enjoy the festive music and folk instruments that have been a Christmas tradition for centuries and are still a vibrant and beloved part of modern day Christmas celebrations. Come meet our zampognaro: the Southern Italian bagpiper whose presence is identified with Christmas music throughout Southern Italy.

Also see:
Celebrating Spring at the Second Annual La Primavera Vinni Concert with Rosa Tatuata and LassatilAbballari

November 28, 2016

Feast of San Giacomo della Marca

Viva San Giacomo!
Photo Courtesy of Anthony Scillia
November 28th is the Feast Day of San Giacomo della Marca (St. James of the Marches), missionary and miracle worker. Counted among the many co-patrons of Naples, the austere friar preached tirelessly against greed and usury. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to St. James of the Marches. The accompanying photo was taken at St. James of the Marches R.C. Church in Totowa, New Jersey.
Prayer to St. James of the Marches
O God, you have given to the Church in St. James of the Marches a tireless missionary of your word, totally dedicated to the salvation of souls and the conversion of sinners. May his intercession help us to atone for our sins and to walk swiftly on the path of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God.

November 27, 2016

Photo of the Week: Medieval Fresco in the Duomo di Ravello

Traces of medieval frescoes adorn the transept of the Duomo di Ravello, Salerno
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Annual Neapolitan Baroque Crèche and Angel Tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Nov. 27, 2016—Jan. 6, 2017 (lighting daily at 4:30pm)

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York

The Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a long-established yuletide tradition in New York. The brightly lit, twenty-foot blue spruce—with a collection of eighteenth-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs among its boughs and groups of realistic crèche figures flanking the Nativity scene at its base—once again delight holiday visitors in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall. Set in front of the eighteenth-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid, with recorded Christmas music in the background, the installation reflects the spirit of the holiday season. The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.

Also see:
A Look at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Annual Angel Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche
A Look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Annual Angel Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche
Neapolitan Glory: Baroque Presepio at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 26, 2016

Christmas Amore with the Sicilian Tenors at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center

Saturday, December 3rd @ 7:30pm

Investors Bank Performing Arts Center
519 Hurffville Crosskeys Road
Sewell, NJ 08080

Three marvelous tenor voices combine for a unique interpretation of the world’s best music. Accompanied by a grand piano and presented with light-hearted fun, The Sicilian Tenors take the audience on a romantic journey from Hollywood to Broadway, Italy, and beyond in a concert event for all ages and musical tastes.

For more information visit

November 25, 2016

Feast of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria

Saint Catherine of Alexandria (c. 1650)
Workshop of Bernardo Cavallino
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 25th is the Feast Day of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria (Saint Catherine of Alexandria), virgin and martyr. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in her honor. The accompanying photo was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
Prayer to Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Glorious Saint Catherine, virgin and martyr, help me to imitate your love of purity. Give me strength and courage in fighting off the temptations of the world and evil desires. Help me to love God with my whole heart and serve Him faithfully. O Saint Catherine, through your glorious martyrdom for the love of Christ, help me to be loyal to my faith and my God as long as I live.

November 23, 2016

Feast of Santa Felicita

Evviva Santa Felicita!
November 23rd is the Feast Day of Santa Felicita Martire (St. Felicity the martyr), patron saint of widows and grieving parents. Principal protectress of Torricella Peligna (CH), Collarmela (AQ) and Isca sullo Ionio (CZ), she is commonly known as the mother of the Seven Martyrs whose Feast is celebrated on July 10th. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in her honor. The accompanying photo of silver miniature was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Dated 1762, the prized statuette was copied after Giacomo Serpotta's (b. 1652 Palermo–d. 1732 Palermo) stucco figures of Augustinian nuns in Sant'Agostino, Palermo.
Prayer to St. Felicitas
All-powerful, ever-living God, turn our weakness into strength. As you gave your martyrs St. Felicitas and her sons the courage to suffer death for Christ, give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you. Grant 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 Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples at Europeana Regia

The Europeana Regia project took place over the course of 30 months, from January 2010 to June 2012. With the collaboration of five major libraries located in four countries and the support of the European Commission, this project made it possible to digitise more than 1000 rare and precious manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. All of them were once part of three great royal collections that are currently dispersed and which represent European cultural activity at three distinct periods in history: the Bibliotheca Carolina (8th and 9th centuries), the Library of Charles V and Family (14th century) and the Library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples (15th and 16th centuries). These manuscripts are now fully accessible on the websites of the partner libraries and have also been included in Europeana.
The library assembled in the 15th century by the Aragonese kings of Naples is the third component of the Europeana Regia project.
* Thanks to Jeff Matthews for bringing this magnificent resource to our attention with his latest blog entry at Naples: Life, Death & Miracles 
Also see:
Free Download of The Restoration of Ancient Bronzes: Naples and Beyond From The Getty
Download Hundreds of Free Art Publications from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 22, 2016

Feast of Santa Cecilia

Evviva Santa Cecilia!
November 22nd is the Feast Day of Santa Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr. Patroness of music and musicians, Saint Cecilia’s Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season in southern Italy. Traditionally celebrated with music and concerts, it is also customary to enjoy le pettole di Santa Cecilia, a fried dough specialty sometimes sprinkled with sugar or stuffed with anchovies, capers and codfish. In commemoration, I'm posting A Prayer to Saint Cecilia. The accompanying photo of The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia is by Bernardo Cavallino (ca.1616-1656), courtesy of the Museo di Capodimonte in Napoli.
A Prayer to Saint Cecilia
O glorious saint, who chose to die instead of denying your King, we pray you please to help us as His fair praise we sing. We lift our hearts in joyous song to honor Him this way. And while we sing, remember-ing, to sing is to doubly pray. At once in our hearts and in our tongues we offer double prayer sent heavenward on winged notes to praise God dwelling there. While in our hearts and tongues we try with song to praise God twice, we ask dear saint, to help us be united close to Christ! Amen.

November 21, 2016

A Prayer for the San Antonio Police Department

San Michele Arcangelo
Villa San Michele, Anacapri, Capri
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the San Antonio Police Department and family and friends of Detective Benjamin Marconi, who was murdered in cold blood November 20th in San Antonio, Texas. May Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron Saint of Police Officers, protect and watch over you.
Prayer for Policemen
O Almighty God, Whose great power and eternal wisdom embraces the universe, watch over all policemen and law enforcement officers everywhere. Protect them from harm In the performance of their duty to stop crime, robbery, riots and violence. We pray, help them keep our streets and homes safe, day and night. We commend them to your loving care because their duty is dangerous. Grant them strength and courage In their daily assignments. Dear God, protect these brave men and women. Grant them your almighty protection, Unite them safely with their families after duty has ended. Please God, grant us this wish. Amen
Also see:
A Prayer for the Des Moines Police Department
A Prayer for the Baton Rouge Police
A Prayer for Policemen

Photo of the Week: Sculpted Lions Supporting the High Pulpit in the Duomo di Ravello

Six magnificent marble lions support Niccolò di Bartolomeo da Foggia's ornate 13th-century pulpit in the Duomo di Ravello (Photo by New York Scugnizzo) 

November 20, 2016

Neapolitan Crèche at the Art Institute of Chicago

Photo courtesy of Art Institute of Chicago
November 22, 2016 — January 8, 2017

Art Institute of Chicago
(Gallery 209)
111 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603

After its widely popular debut in 2013, our spectacular 18th-century Neapolitan crèche returns once again this holiday season. One of the very few and finest examples of such a work outside of Naples, the crèche is an intricate Nativity scene that reflects the vitality and artisanship that the city is still known for. The Art Institute’s crèche features over 200 figures—including no less than 50 animals and 41 items of food and drink—all staged in a spectacular Baroque cabinet with a painted backdrop. Elaborate, complex, and wondrous, the Neapolitan crèche is a rare example of the genre and a once-in-a-lifetime acquisition for the Art Institute.

Sacred imagery reenacting the Nativity has its roots in fourth-century Rome but by the 13th and 14th centuries, in part due to its association with St. Francis of Assisi, such scenes had become a permanent feature of Neapolitan churches. During the 18th century, the period from which most of the figures of the Art Institute’s crèche date, these relatively simple tableaux underwent a transformation into highly dramatic and theatrical renderings. Traditional sacred elements of Nativity scenes—the Holy Family, wise men, angels, and shepherds—were combined with profane aspects not of Bethlehem but of contemporary Neapolitan life—rowdy tavern scenes and bustling street activities—in dazzling displays of artistic techniques. Churches, wealthy citizens, members of the nobility, and the royal family all competed to commission the most complex presentations of this popular art form from leading artists and artisans, the same people who were creating monumental sculptures and altars for churches and palaces. These artists rendered figures in oil-painted terracotta to achieve the most realistic expressions in crèches and constructed painstakingly detailed costumes of luxurious fabrics that mimicked the fashions of the time. The Art Institute’s crèche represents the pinnacle of this artistic practice, born of the centuries-old tradition of Nativity scenes yet bursting with the energy of 18th-century Neapolitan life.

Due to the fragility of the original silk costumes and exquisite embroidery, the Neapolitan crèche can only be on view for a few weeks every year. Don’t miss your chance to revel in Baroque artistry this season!


November 19, 2016

Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Evviva Santa Elisabetta d'Ungheria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 19th is the Feast Day of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, patron saint of nurses, the poor, the homeless and widows. Living a life of prayer and sacrifice, her compassion towards the sick and the poor endeared her to the whole of Christendom. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. The accompanying photo was taken 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 Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Our father in heaven, Your servant, Saint Elizabeth brought care to the sick, food to the hungry and hope to the hopeless, grant us thy blessing that we may follow in her footsteps with love and joy in our hearts. Amen.

November 18, 2016

Brooklyn Paper Radio Interviews Neapolitan Multiplatinum Recording Artist Patrizio Buanne

Patrizio Buanne with Brooklyn Paper Radio hosts Vince DiMiceli and Gersh Kuntzman (Photo courtesy of John Napoli)
Tune in to Brooklyn Paper Radio for the exclusive interview with international recording sensation Patrizio Buanne.

Brooklyn Paper radio is recorded and podcast live every Thursday at 4:45 pm — for your convenience — from their studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, on, on iTunes, on Mixlr, and of course, on Stitcher.

Find Patrizio on Facebook or listen to him on YouTube:

Also see:
Hanging With Patrizio Buanne in New York City's Historic Little Italy
Patrizio Buanne Brings Down the House at the Highline Ballroom in New York City
Neapolitan Multiplatinum Recording Artist Patrizio Luanne Honored in New York City

I Giullari di Piazza to Perform "La Cantata Dei Pastori" at the Theatre for the New City

December 16th-18th (Friday & Saturday at 8PM; Sunday at 5PM)
December 21st & 22nd at 8PM

Theatre for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $25

Reservations: 212-254-1109 or

Come back in time to Southern Italy with I GIULLARI DI PIAZZA, the renowned Italian music/theater/dance company, when they present their traditional Southern Italian "La Cantata dei Pastori" (The Shepherd's Cantata), a musical family holiday delight, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Streets). Five performances, December 16th & 17th at 8PM; December 18th at 5PM; December 21st & 22nd at 8PM.

Join the 14-member cast of specialists in Southern Italian instruments, music and dance, playing such characters as La Befana, the Good Witch of Christmas, Mary and Joseph, the Archangel Gabriel (on stilts), Devils, Demons, and the hilarious commedia dell'arte characters who enact this beloved story of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, and the triumph of good over evil.

Also see: The Song of the Shepherds in NYC

November 17, 2016

Missa Cantata for the Feast of Santa Lucia at Most Precious Blood Church in NYC

For More info vsit Facebook

Thomas Aquinas on the Rite of Mass: Lecture Coming Up in NYC

On Saturday, December 3rd, at the Catholic Center at New York University, Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. will give a set of lectures titled: “The Rest is Said in Praise to God: Thomas Aquinas on the Rites of the Mass.” Throughout his writings, St. Thomas Aquinas offers profound insights into the liturgy that draw on the thought of his predecessors while offering new insights into the mysteries of the Church’s liturgy. These lectures will draw on the commentaries on the Mass that may be found in his Scriptum on the Sentences of Peter Lombard and the Summa theologiae.

While focusing on the traditional and innovative aspects of Thomas’s liturgical thought within his 13th century context, these lectures aim to help us to enter more deeply into the liturgy as experienced in its various forms today. The first lecture takes place at 1:00 pm, the second at 2:30 pm, and Mass will be offered at 3:45 pm. Refreshments will be available before the first and second lectures. The event will take place at the Catholic Center at NYU (238 Thompson Street, New York, NY), and are part of The Wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas series sponsored by the Thomistic Institute at NYU ( To register for the lectures, which are free and open to the public, visit


November 16, 2016

Holy Door Pilgrimage and Votive Mass for Our Lady of Ransom at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

(L-R) Cav. William Yapp, Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Rev. Msgr. Robert T. Ritchie, Rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral; Chaplain, Cav., Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio, Cavalieri John Napoli, Charles Sant'Elia, Vincent Gangone and Anthony O’Boyle, Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George (Photo by Cav. Patrick O'Boyle)
Monday, November 14th, New York City — Led by our esteemed Vice Chancellor Patrick O'Boyle my confratelli and I had the great privilege of serving as honor guard at the missa cantata votive Mass for Our Lady of Ransom and conclusion of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy with celebrant Fr. Leonard Villa at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Sponsored by the Regina Caeli (#423) and Agnus Dei (#12361) Councils of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Stephen Saffron, Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Church in Brooklyn and Chaplain of the Regina Caeli Council, was the homilist. The first Latin Mass celebrated at the Cathedral in almost twenty years, there were easily a thousand faithful in attendance.
(L) Fr. Saffron delivers his sermon from the marble pulpit (Photo by Cav. Gangone). (R) Cavalieri Gangone, Sant'Elia and O'Boyle in the private chapel next to the sacristy (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)
For more photos visit The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny 

Feast of San Giuseppe Moscati

Evviva San Giuseppe!
November 16th is the Feast Day of San Giuseppe Moscati, the "Holy Physician of Naples." Born on July 25th, 1880 in Benevento, Giuseppe was the seventh of nine children of Rosa (née de Luca, Marchesi dei Roseto) and Francesco Moscati, a magistrate from Santa Lucia di Serino. He studied medicine and surgery at the University of Naples, graduating summa cum laude in 1903. In 1906, during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, he risked his own life evacuating patients from the crumbling Riuniti Hospital in Torre del Greco.
With the outbreak of WWI, Dr. Moscati volunteered his services and cared for thousands of wounded soldiers. After the war, he returned to his practice in Naples caring for the poor at the Hospital for the Incurables. Not only did he refuse payment from his impoverished patients, Dr. Moscati would often give them money for their prescriptions. He tragically died on April 12th, 1927 at the age of 46. Beatified on November 16th, 1975 by Pope Paul VI, he was canonized just sixty years after his death on October 25th, 1987 by Pope John Paul II. He is the patron saint of physicians and bachelors. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer to Saint Giuseppe Moscati. 
Prayer to Saint Giuseppe Moscati
Dear St. Joseph Moscati, true model of Christian doctors, in the exercise of your medical profession, you always took care of both the body and soul of every patient. Look on us, who have recourse to your heavenly intercession, and obtain for us both physical and spiritual health, and a share in the dispensation of heavenly favors. Soothe the pains of our suffering people; give comfort to the sick, consolation to the afflicted and hope to the despondent. May our young people find in you an ideal, our workers an example, the aging a comfort, the dying the hope of eternal salvation. To all of us be a pattern of industriousness, honesty and charity; so we may comply with our Christian duties and glorify God our Father. Amen.

November 15, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of San Martino di Tours

Evviva San Martino!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Friday after work, a few of us met at Most Precious Blood Church in Manhattan’s Little Italy to celebrate the Feast of San Martino di Tours (Nov. 11th), patron saint of the poor, vintners, tailors and soldiers. The unseasonably mild weather, known as l’estate di San Martino, or Saint Martin’s Summer, was short lived as temperatures unexpectedly dropped as the sun went down.
Warming up inside, we lit some candles and prayed for our ancestors, loved ones and other petitions. I made my usual rounds to the church's various shrines to the saints and said my intercessory prayers to San Rocco, San Gennaro, San Michele Arcangelo, et al.
Luckily, back in 2015 the Church commissioned the construction of a magnificent Neapolitan presepe (aptly named the Nativity of Mercy) in anticipation of the Holy Doors and the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Inspired by Caravaggio’s masterpiece, The Seven Acts of Mercy (circa 1607), San Martino features prominently among the many beautiful figures. 
Handcrafted by the renowned La Scarabottola workshop in Naples, the great saint is shown sharing his crimson mantle with a naked beggar. According to tradition, San Martino cut his cloak in two to save the beggar from freezing to death. Later that night, he dreamt of Jesus wearing the severed garment and when he awoke the next morning the cloak was fully restored.
After church we made our way to Ribalta for our celebratory dinner. Located at 48 E 12th Street, the eatery is easily one of New York City’s best Neapolitan pizzeria restaurants. And thanks to its friendly service and accommodating atmosphere, Ribalta is fast becoming one of our favorite meeting places for our more casual get-togethers. 
Michael and Rosanna
show their Due Sicilie pride
Traditionally a celebration of new wines and earthly bounty, we enjoyed the holiday with a few bottles of Aglianico and some classic Neapolitan fare, such as Gnocchi alla Sorrentina and Pizza Margherita. Since I don’t eat meat on Fridays, I had some grilled octopus with potatoes and the Scialatielli alle Vongole.
Coincidently, it was also the anniversary of the execution of the great counter-revolutionary hero Michele Pezza, better known as Fra Diavolo (Nov. 11th, 1806). Naturally, we raised our glasses and paid homage to his memory, recalling his many exploits and acts of daring. 
After a few drinks, it was only a matter of time before someone broke out the Bourbon flag. A hotbed of neo-Bourbonism, a few shouts of “Viva o’ Rre!” rang from across the restaurant when some other night owls spotted us taking pictures.
Many thanks to my confratelli and consorelle for another very enjoyable evening, it is always an honor and a privilege to celebrate our faith and culture together. Forza e onore!
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Pastiera Napoletana
Also see:
Celebrating the Feast of Santa Teresa d'Avila and the 99th Anniversary of Fatima
Celebrating the Feast of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Celebrating the Feasts of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Madonna di Ripalta in NYC

November 14, 2016

Photo of the Week: 13th-Century Pulpit by Niccolò di Bartolomeo da Foggia in the Duomo di Ravello

In the nave of the Duomo di Ravello is a 13th-century pulpit by the great Niccolò di Bartolomeo da Foggia. Commissioned by Nicola Rufolo, the pulpit is decorated with polychrome mosaics, inlays and an eagle serving as the lectern. The plat-form stands on six twisted columns, supported on the backs of six majestic lions. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Sicilian Tenors at the Bijou Theatre

Saturday, December 10th @ 8pm—10pm

Bijou Theatre Bridgeport
275 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604

Tickets available at Eventbrite

Three marvelous tenor voices combine for a unique interpretation of the world’s best music. Accompanied by a grand piano and presented with light-hearted fun, The Sicilian Tenors take the audience on a romantic journey from Hollywood to Broadway, Italy, and beyond in a concert event for all ages and musical tastes.

Purchase tickets online or call 203-258-8205 and ask for Jen. For more information, email

For more information visit

November 13, 2016

Feast of Saint Frances Cabrini

America's first saint
November 13th is the Feast Day of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, patron saint of immigrants. The first United States citizen to be canonized, she came to America on March 31, 1889 at the urging of Pope Leo XIII to help Italian immigrants. She founded numerous institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the uneducated and the sick, including the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Mother Cabrini. The accompanying photos were taken at the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in Washington Heights, New York.
Prayer to Mother Cabrini
Almighty and Eternal Father, Giver of all Gifts, show us Thy mercy, and grant, we beseech Thee, through the merits of Thy faithful Servant, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, that all who invoke her intercession may obtain what they desire according to the good pleasure of Thy Holy Will. (here name your request) St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, beloved spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, intercede for us that the favor we now ask may be granted.

November 12, 2016

Congratulations Thomas On Your Confirmation

November 10, 2016
Congratulations Thomas on your confirmation. It was an honor and a privilege to be your sponsor. May your faith and love in God grow stronger every day.

Compra Sud — Fortunato Brothers Café

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

Fortunato Brothers Café
289 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

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.

November 10, 2016

Feast of Sant'Andrea Avellino

Evviva Sant'Andrea!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 10th is the Feast Day of Sant'Andrea Avellino (Saint Andrew Avellino), patron saint of stroke victims and against apoplexy. He is also the protector of Castronuovo di Sant'Andrea (formally Castronuovo), a small town in the Province of Potenza in Basilicata, where he was born in 1521. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer to Saint Andrew Avellino. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church (35-60 158th Street) in Flushing, New York.
Prayer to Saint Andrew Avellino Against Sudden Death 
I. O most glorious saint, whom God has made our protector against apoplexy, seeing that thou thyself didst die of that disease, we earnestly pray thee to preserve us from an evil so dangerous and so common. Pater, Ave, Gloria. 
Verse  By the intercession of St. Andrew, stricken with apoplexy.   
Response  From a sudden and unprovided death deliver us O Lord. 
II. O most glorious saint, if ever by the just judgment of God we should be stricken with apoplexy, we earnestly beseech thee to obtain for us time enough to receive the Last Sacraments and die in the grace of God. Pater, Ave, Gloria. 
V.  By the intercession of St. Andrew, stricken with apoplexy. 
R.  From  a sudden and unprovided death deliver us, O Lord. 
III. O most glorious saint, who didst endure, before dying, a terrible agony, through the assaults of the devil, from which the Blessed Virgin and St. Michael delivered thee, we earnestly beseech thee to assist us in the tremendous moment of our death.  Pater, Ave, Gloria. 
V.  By the intercession of St. Andrew, stricken with apoplexy. 
R.  From a sudden and unprovided death deliver us, O Lord. 

The Lion, the Emblems and the Wardrobe

Some of Gabriele d'Annunzio's Renaissance and Baroque Secrets in the Vittoriale
Photo courtesy of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
A lecture by Alessandro Giammei, Princeton University

Tuesday, November 15th @ 6:30PM

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
New York University
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

Italy's most famous late-modern poet, novelist, war hero, and viveur was also a collector (and forger!) of medals, a peruser of antique illustrated books, and an exquisite interior decorator. Such peculiar qualities made Gabriele d'Annunzio an extraordinary re-user and re-inventor of Renaissance and Baroque word-image devices called emblems and imprese. However, this sophisticated line of work has been ignored or misunderstood by scholars, by readers, and by the many devotees that today repeat (and even retweet) his memorable mottos ignoring their erudite 17th century humanistic origins. Through the analysis of decorated stationary, bookplates, and furniture - most notably, of a wardrobe - Prof. Giammei will take a tour among d'Annunzio's emblematic masterpiece: his villa in Gardone, a mysterious theatre of modernized verbal and visual allegories that still awaits to be deciphered.


Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò has been offering for years an intense calendar of events in many different cultural and social fields, such as art exhibits, concerts, lectures, screenings and previews, literary presentations and awards, and other events open to the public, all of which pertinent to Italian culture and made available - in English - for an American audience. Unless stated otherwise, all events are FREE and open to the general public. It is not possible to reserve seats and seating will take place on a first-come first-serve basis. Casa Italiana reserves the right to change the program without notice.

Also see: "Gabriele d'Annunzio: Living Life as a Work of Art" at NYU's Casa Italiana

November 9, 2016

Feast of Sant’Agrippino di Napoli Vescovo

St. Agrippinus pray for us
November 9th is the Feast Day of Sant’Agrippino di Napoli (Saint Agrippinus of Naples), third-century bishop and protector of Naples and Arzano (NA). Believed to have been the sixth Bishop of Naples, he was the city’s first in a long line of patrons. Many miracles have been attributed to Sant’Agrippino, including the sinking of a saracen flagship as it attacked the city.* His relics, along with the bodies of Saints Eutiche and Acuzio (companions of San Gennaro), rest beneath the high altar in the Duomo di San Gennaro in Naples. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to Sant'Agrippino.
Prayer to Saint Agrippinus of Naples
God our Father, enable us who honor the memory of Saint Agrippinus, bishop and protector of Naples, to share with him in the joy of eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
* “In the time of Pope John XII the Saracens beseiged Naples. Lacking any human aid, the Neapolitans prayed to their patron saints Januarius and Agrippinus. The saints caused the largest Saracen ship to sink, and the other ships fled.” — The Cronica di Partenope: An introduction to and Critical Edition of the First Vernacular History of Naples (c. 1350) by Samantha Kelly, Brill 2011, p. 241

Michéal Castaldo Announces 2016–2017 East Coast Christmas Concert Tour

Michéal Castaldo announces his 2016–2017 East Coast Christmas Concert Tour, including six locations in the U.S. and Canada:
November 26, Merry Christmas – Buon Natale at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, in Staten Island, NY (Box Office, Brown Paper Tickets, 1-800-838-3006, Event #2628132), sponsored by Kearny Bank, Sempre Avanti, and Woodpecker Press.
December 4, Home For Christmas at St. Brigid’s/Our Lady of Hope Chapel in Westbury, NY (Box Office, Brown Paper Tickets, 1-800-838-3006, Event #2563580), sponsored by Comitato Italiano of St. Brigid.
December 10, Songs of Angels Italian Christmas Hymns and Carols at Saint Ann Catholic Church in Hoboken NJ (Box Office, Brown Paper Tickets, 1-800-838-3006, Event #2563594), sponsored by Monte San Giacomo Club, Finesse Auto Body, and New York City Olive Oil Coop.
December 18, Fourth Annual Italian Christmas Concert at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT (Box Office, 203-753-0381 x130), sponsored by Jerry Padula Esq.
December 28, Natale for Lisa at Cedarview Church in Paris, Ontario, Canada (Box Office, 1-519-442-4448), sponsored by Teatro Verde. 
January 8, 2017, Natale Nel Cuore—Christmas in Our Hearts at Holy Cross Church Tampa Bay, FL (Box Office, 941-729-3891), sponsored by Paula & Tony Timpano.
Castaldo’s concerts fill the hearts of audiences with the spirit of the holidays. Accompanied by the Castaldo String Quartet, he performs classic Advent and Christmas carols from his chart-topping, best-selling album, “Extravergine: Christmas in the Mediterranean.”
On November 4, Castaldo is releasing a new digital single, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” a Christian Advent hymn, in English and Latin. He will perform his new release at all of his upcoming concerts. Castaldo’s beautiful and monastic drone-inspired rendition of this holiday hymn embodies the Christmas spirit.
During the 2015 holiday season, Castaldo published his first Christmas Music Folio, entitled Extravergine: A Mediterranean Christmas Folio (in Italian, Natale nel Mediterraneo) which offers sacred, liturgical Christmas carols in Italian and Latin in lead sheet form. Both the CD and music song book will be available at all of his concerts and are also available on Amazon and other online music retail outlets.
For more information about the tour dates, call 1-877-642-7271. For more information about Michéal Castaldo, visit
Press contact: To request an interview with the artist, contact Majestic Castle Music at 877-642-7271 or For media requests, contact Charlotte Jayne at 631-256-6515 or

November 8, 2016

The Search for our Ancestry (XXX)

DNA and Family Trees
By Angelo Coniglio
Contrary to what many believe (and to the disappointment of the ill-informed), DNA tests, in and of themselves, cannot take a sample of one’s genetic material and magically produce a list of ancestors by name and date, going back generation upon generation.   
The key to developing that kind of ‘personal ancestry’ is to have hundreds (or thousands, the more the merrier) of donors have their DNA tested, and then compared. The actual ‘family tree’ enhancement comes not from the DNA tests, but from knowledge that may have been compiled by conventional means (I call it ‘paper genealogy’) by one or more donors with matching DNA. 
I’ll use some examples from 23andMe to augment my discussion. Other DNA-testing venues are similar.  When you register on 23andMe, you (voluntarily) provide important information about yourself: your current residence; ancestral villages; and common family and ancestral surnames.  After your DNA is analyzed, 23andMe adds items to your list: ‘Ancestry’ – the geographical place where most of your ‘ancestral composition’ occurred about 500 years ago (mine is ‘Southern Europe’); and codes for the ‘maternal haplogroup’ and ‘paternal haplogroup’ representing some of your ancestors’ whereabouts 5,000 to 25,000 years ago (my haplogroups are, respectively, ‘H3’ and ‘I2b1’).
In addition to classifying a donor by ‘ancestral composition’ of 500 years ago, and identifying his/her ‘haplogroups’ from the distant past, 23andMe provides a list of ‘DNA Relatives’ identified as ’23andMe patrons with a relationship to you.’  This is a list (coded by the participants for privacy) that shows your ‘estimated’ relatives who are in the 23andMe database, from the closest to the most distant. The closest one shown in my case is a ‘1st cousin’ (actually, my great niece, whose percentage of shared DNA is about the same as that of a first cousin). The most distant (#729 on my list) is identified only as a ‘distant cousin’.
Next to each name in the list is the voluntary information that person entered – and here’s the rub: some give (as I do) their own full, uncoded names, as well as a number of ancestral origins and family surnames; others, presumably to protect their privacy, give no name, no ancestral towns, no surnames. Why anyone joins a DNA service and then shares no information is beyond me, because it is that very information which one uses to see whether there are any obvious reasons for assuming a relationship. 
Each person in the list, whether they have given much, or only minimal information, can be contacted through 23andMe. I can simply send a message, asking the person to start a protected and private conversation with me, through 23andMe; or I can request that the person share their genome (genetic blueprint) with me. The person can then elect to share their health and genealogical information; or only their genealogical information, or they can decline to share anything.
Those who agree to share information can be selected for comparison,which shows a bar graph of the 23 chromosome pairs, highlighting those segments of certain chromosomes that are an exact match to mine. A measure of DNA length is the ‘centiMorgan’ (cM). Most venues consider matching segments of 7 cM or longer as significant: that is, showing a genetic relationship between two people. Based on the total length of DNA segments shared, the match will be identified as ‘1st Cousin’, ‘5th-8th Cousin’, ‘Distant  Relative’, and so on. These relationships are general. “First Cousin’ means ‘this person shares the same amount of DNA with you as a first cousin would’  In actuality then, the match might be your great-niece or great-nephew, or a great-aunt or great-uncle, who share the same amount of DNA as a first cousin. 
If two close relatives had their DNA compared, there would be a large number of long segments that matched, in most of the chromosomes. The more distant the relationship, the fewer and shorter the matching segments would be.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research. Order the paperback or the Kindle version at    
Coniglio’s web page at has helpul hints on genealogic research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at

A Celebration of Mother Frances Cabrini and the Italian American Experience in Stamford, CT

November 6, 2016

Craco and the Briganti

Carmine Crocco
Reprinted from the November 2016 Craco Society Bulletin
Thomas Frascella, Esq., and president of the San Felese Society of New Jersey has been writing an illuminating history of Basilicata. In his research he has come across several mentions of Craco during the briganti era after the Italian Unification.
He recently shared an excerpt from the autobiography of Carmine Crocco (the bandit known as Donatello or Donatelli). Crocco (1830 Rionero in Vulture-1905 Portoferraio), always a controversial figure, has begun to appear in a new light by historians who are involved in a “Revisionism of the Risorgimento.” 
His book, Come divenni brigante (How I became a brigand) provided a short mention of actions around Craco but gives us some added details that may help explain the background to the massacre of 16 men that took place there on Nov. 24, 1861 by government forces. 
The section in the book (pg. 69) about Craco is as follows: 
Somewhere around the 6th of November give or take. Leaving Salandra we headed for Craco where we met half way a procession of women and children led by a priest with his cross. They came to ask for clemency for their country (village) and this clemency was given to them…., From Craco after having crossed the river Agri we arrived in Aliano.” 
Thomas Frascella interprets this incident as a factor in the government’s action later in the month. He feels. “... the fact that the town was spared by the insurgents put it on the Piedmont list for action.” 
Frascella’s writings about the period from October 1861, when Carmine Cracco joined forces with General Jose Borjes to try to foment an uprising in Basilicata and restore the Bourbon king, provide added insight about the succeeding events which are also mentioned in the town of Craco’s history, Note Storiche sul Comune di Craco. 
Although Carmine Crocco and General Borjes had spared Craco in the beginning of November, it appears that a splinter group of brigands returned to the town on November 14th and found support amongst some of the townspeople. 
Prof. D’Angella in Note Storiche presents this account of that incident (pg. 75 English version): 
“The brigands found in Craco many supporters of the Bourbons, including brothers Gaetano and Giovanni Arleo, Antonio Miadonna (husband of Rosa Grossi), the Santalucia family, the Rev. Giuseppe Colabella and others.” 
This set the stage for the reprisal and execution of the 16 men by the government forces on November 24th that is well documented in the book. 
Following that, we know from the “Briganti List” that was preserved by Archimedes Rigirone in the papers of the Archivio Privato Rigirone there was an additional naming of individuals from Craco as outlaws. 
Tom Frascella suggests in his writings, which can be found on the San Felese Society of New Jersey website, that the actions of the government during this period and subsequent decisions in the next decades was an underlying cause of the great migration of Southern Italians to America at the turn of the 20th century. So, the importance of this little known period by Italian-Americans takes on a new light and helps explain some of the factionalism between northern and southern regions.