May 31, 2016

Feast of Santa Maria Mater Domini

Evviva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
May 31st is the Feast Day of Santa Maria Mater Domini, patroness of Fraine, a commune in the Province of Chieti, Abruzzo. According to tradition, around the year 1000 the Virgin Mary appeared before a young deaf mute tending her flock near the Vicenne Forest. Curing the girl, Our Lady told her to call out to her parents. At first, not recognizing the voice (and busy at work) they ignored her calls. However, when they finally learned what had happened the overjoyed couple rushed to the woods with their daughter to give thanks and praise. The Blessed Mother called upon them to build a house of worship at the location of the miracle. The grateful family, with the support of the local clergy, did as they were instructed and built a Benedictine chapel. Completed in 1056, the Sanctuary was renovated several times over the centuries and continues to be a popular destination for pilgrims and devotees. To commemorate the occasion, I’m posting a Prayer to the Mother of God. The accompanying photo of Santa Maria Mater Domini was taken at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey.
Prayer to the Mother of God
O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to thy son and our God, that He may, for thy sake, enlighten and save our souls. Amen

Learn Southern Italian Folk Dancing

Workshops with Michela Musolino
Michela Musolino
Celebrate the beginning of Summer by dancing! Wednesday Evenings in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and Thursday evenings in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Michela Musolino will be teaching workshops on Southern Italian Folk Dance. Each week, we dance a different dance from somewhere in the The South of Italy (you just KNOW one week is dedicated to Sicily...)  
Classes are 1 1/2 hours of fun and the fee is $15 per class. Bring 3 friends to dance with you and you dance for free.
Here is the info for the Wednesday in Scotch Plains classes: 
Thursday nights in Bloomfield:

Announcing the 2016 Festa di San Calogero in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Announcing the 2016 Festa di San Cono, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

For more info visit the San Cono Society on Facebook

May 29, 2016

Feast of Saints Cuono and Conello

Martirio di San Cuono e figlio
May 29th is the Feast Day of Saints Cuono and Conello, the Iconium Martyrs. Father and son are the protectors of Acerra, a town in Campania, just northeast of the city of Naples. They are invoked for bountiful crops and protection from natural disasters, such as drought, earthquakes and Mount Vesuvius. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer in Italian to Saints Cuono and Conello. The accompanying photo of the Martyrdom of Saint Cuono and Son by E. Fiore (1867) is located in the Cattedrale di Acerra (photo courtesy of San Cuono e Conello on Facebook).
O gloriosissimi Martiri Cuono e Figlio, Nostri potenti Avvocati e Protettori, mercé la vostra potente intercessione fate che il clementissimo Iddio sia sempre propizio a noi Acerrani da Lui a Voi affidati: liberandoci da tutti i flagelli, che meritano i nostri peccati. E soprattutto Vi preghiamo impartirci le grazie necessarie per salvare le nostre anime e con Voi godere Iddio eternamente in Cielo

Announcing the 2016 Festa di San Francesco di Paola in Ambler, Pennsylvania

Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi Concert in Madrid, Spain

Concert June 1, 2016 (8:00 PM)

Shigeru Kawai Center
Plaza Francisco Morano 3
Madrid, Spain

Maestro Longobardi performing unknown works of Neapolitan composers: Francesco Durante, Leonardo Leo, Giuseppe Sarti, Mattia Vento and G. Francesco de Majo.

Our mailing address is:
Neapolitan Music Society
37 Hendrick Avenue
Albany, New York 12204

Sfilata dei Turchi e Festa di San Gerardo — Parade of the Turks and the Feast of Saint Gerard

Potenza, Basilicata
Potenza's annual Festa di San Gerardo (May 29th) recalls the town's desperate defense against Saracen raiders. Mooring their galleys on the Basento riverbank, a band of corsairs made their way towards the unsuspecting townspeople of Potenza. Legend has it that if not for the miraculous appearance of San Gerardo La Porta, flanked by angels, the town would have suffered the usual horrific fate met by so many other unfortunate victims of Moslem piracy across the Southern Italian seaboard—death or slavery. The sight of the celestial host before them caused panic among the marauding infidels, allowing the city's defense to organize and drive them off.
The Saint's intercession is celebrated with a magnificent parade called Sfilata dei Turchi or The Procession of the Turks. Dressed in picturesque costumes—Christian knights on horseback and Turkish pirates (including the Grand Vizier on a horse drawn carriage) complete with replica slave ships—march along the parade route. Children dressed in white (representing angels) and the effigy of San Gerardo La Porta follow them, to the crowd’s delight.
After the parade the celebrants are treated to jousting competitions and horse races.

May 28, 2016

Remembering the Battle of Bitonto

Neobriganti Gather in Brooklyn, New York for the Eighth Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration
Revelers rally around our ancestral flag before dinner
Photos by New York Scugnizzo and Luca Lerario
By Cav. John Napoli
As part of our yearlong tricentennial celebration of the birth of HM King Carlo di Borbone (1716-1788) we decided to bring back our semipublic Battle of Bitonto Commemoration, a celebration of faith, culture and history. In the past we had trouble locking down commitments from participants or finding a suitable place to celebrate because of the Anniversary’s proximity to Memorial Day Weekend; however, thanks to our good friend Giuseppe Marrone, we finally found the perfect venue at Forno Rosso.
Admittedly, the numbers are still low (only about half our guests could make it), but I gave up the idea of having large festive celebrations long ago and resigned myself to smaller, more intimate gatherings of like-minded individuals to network and discuss important issues concerning our community, while still having a good time.
This year, friends and colleagues from the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza, the Comitati Due Sicilie USA, and the U.S. Delegation of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George came together to remember and honor the Great Restorer, Carlo di Borbone, and extoll the virtues of our Borbone Monarchs.
This year's invitation
Celebrants mingled and enjoyed a few cocktails before dinner. Some pamphlets about the pivotal battle were distributed and each guest received a small packet of prayer cards, buttons and a scapular. This year three lucky winners went home with door prizes. Marco and John each won a Concertos for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies CD (Hyperion, 1999), and Andrew carried off a first edition copy of Nino Zchomelidse’s Art, Ritual, and Civic Identity in Medieval Southern Italy (Penn State University Press, 2014).
Knowing how terribly disappointed I was at being unable to join my confratelli in Rome and attend the recent Confirmation of TRH Princesses Maria Carolina and Maria Chiara of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Cav. Charles Sant’Elia thoughtfully presented me with a copy of the program and a Constantinian Order handbook. They are very considerate keepsakes, which I will cherish forever. Charles was also kind enough to bring me back a beautiful handmade Argenio silk tie adorned with the crimson and gold insignia of the Constantinian Order of Saint George. It was an extremely generous gift that I will wear often and proudly.
Spirits high, we finally sat down for dinner. My dear friend Marcantonio Pezzano said grace, then we all raised our glasses and made a toast to our ancestors and the memory of the combatants. Throughout the night, the beer, wine, laughs and interesting conversation continued to flow freely.
For our first course, Chef Marrone treated us to a delicious assortment of Neapolitan delicacies. Each of us were given a large dish laden with Frittatina di maccheroni, Panzarotti Napoletani, Mulignan a fungitiell, Polpo alla griglia, Bruschetta and Insalata mista e CapreseThe antipasti was followed with a perfectly cooked Penne alla Sorrentina, al dente pasta served in a simple tomato sauce with basil, mozzarella and pecorino cheese. 
After a short breather, our pizza entrées were brought to the table. First we had the classic Pizza Margherita, a true Neapolitan culinary masterpiece. Then came Pizza ’nduja, a spicy Calabrese specialty made with the famous spreadable salumi from Calabria.
Our sumptuous repast was capped off with caffè, dessert and some shots of limencello and amaro, the perfect after dinner digestivi.
I cannot thank Chef Marrone enough for letting us hold our celebration in his restaurant. Giuseppe is a genuine friend and remarkable host. As always, the food was delicious and the service was great. He and his hardworking staff went above and beyond to make us feel at home and accommodated our every need. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
Special thanks to all the attendees, it was an honor and a privilege to celebrate with you and I look forward to doing it again next year. Viva ‘o Rre! 
Giorgio, Stephen, John, Andrew, Mike, Giuseppe, John, Marco and Charles
Some information about the battle and the Neapolitan Bourbons was on hand
Attendees received a small packet of prayer cards, buttons and a scapular
This year's door prizes 
Confratelli Cav. John Napoli and Cav. Charles Sant'Elia show their pride
Programs from the Confirmation of TRH Princesses Maria Carolina and Maria Chiara of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and a Constantinian Order handbook
Charles presented me with a beautiful handmade Argenio silk tie
The beer, wine and laughs continued to flow freely
Frittatina di Maccheroni, Panzarotti Napoletani, Mulignan a Fungitiell, Polpo alla Griglia, Bruschetta and Insalata Mista e Caprese
Perfectly cooked Penne alla Sorrentina
Pizza Margherita, a Neapolitan masterpiece
Pizza 'nduja, a spicy Calabrese specialty
For dessert we enjoyed chef Marrone's Coccole Con Nutella, deep fried sweet dough with Nutella, strawberries and powdered sugar
Luca, Giuseppe, Mike, John, Andrew, John, Giorgio, Stephen and Charles
pose for one last picture before calling it a night
Also see:
Super Saturday at Forno Rosso
Compra Sud — Forno Rosso
Downtown Brooklyn’s Newest Hotspot

Festa della Madonna delle Milizie — The Feast of Our Lady of the Militia

Scicli, Sicily
Every year on the last Saturday in May, the town of Scicli (a Baroque jewel in the province of Ragusa, Sicily) the locals celebrate the miraculous triumph of Count Roger of Hauteville over the Saracens in 1091. 
The festival commemorates the divine intercession of the Blessed Mother on behalf of the Norman forces at a critical point in the battle. Overwhelmed by the paynim's superior numbers and fearing defeat, Count Roger invoked the aid of the Virgin. Mounted on a white charger and dressed in full military regalia the apparition of Our Lady appeared on the field-of-battle, leading the Normans to victory. The triumph was of great importance for the Christian reconquest of the island.
As part of the jubilant festivities the Sciclitani dress in period costumes (Christian and Moslem) and parade an equestrian statue of the Madonna through the bustling streets with much fanfare. Among the local delicacies served for the occasion is a delectable cream puff shaped like a turban called testa di turco, or Turkish heads. 
A painting immortalizing the battle can be found inside the Chiesa Sant'Ignazio, Scicli's beautiful eighteenth-century Duomo.

May 27, 2016

A look at the 2016 Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri

Viva Maria!
Photos courtesy of Robert Kearney
Thank you Robert for sharing your wonderful pictures of the Feast of Our Lady of the Audience (May 22nd). Each year devotees gather at Holy Rosary Church in Kansas City, Missouri to celebrate the Feast of the Madonna dell'Udienza, patroness of Sambuca, Sicily. Festivities included live music, refreshments and the highly anticipated rose petal shower, where celebrants ritually wipe the face and arms of the Blessed Mother and Child with cotton balls and rose petals.
Holy Rosary Church was packed for the celebration
(Left) Donations are pinned onto the Altar Society Standard
Our Lady of the Audience departing Holy Rosary Church
After Mass, the statue is processed around the neighborhood
Upon her return, the Madonna is placed beneath a canopy
and showered with rose petals 
A close-up of the canopy
Devotees swab the statue with cotton balls
and rose petals to collect the Blessed Mother's blessings
Afterward, celebrants enjoyed some refreshments in the church hall
Also see: 
• A look at the 2015 Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri 
• A look at the 2014 Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri 
• A look at the 2013 Feast of Our Lady of the Audience, Kansas City, Missouri

Save the Date!

Announcing the 2016 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte, Clifton, New Jersey

May 26, 2016

Evviva Santa Rita! A Look at the 2016 Feast of St. Rita of Cascia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Evviva Santa Rita!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Sunday's Feast of Saint Rita of Cascia was a huge success as hundreds gathered at St. Athanasius Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for the festivities. Mass was celebrated by Msgr. David Cassato, who blessed the parishioners and the sea of roses filling the pews.

After Mass, members of the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata carried the statue of St. Rita through the neighborhood singing hymns and praying. Thankfully the thunder storms in the forecast never arrived and we had picture perfect weather for the procession.

Afterward, we returned to the auditorium for some coffee, dessert and an all-around good time. Blessed loaves of bread were distributed to all attendees.

Thank you President Lucrezia Nardulli, Vice President Josephine DiDonna and the rest of the Association for your hard work and dedication. It is always a pleasure to celebrate our faith and culture with you. Evviva Santa Rita!
Members of the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata carry St. Rita into the nave. The statue is displayed next to the altar with baskets of blessed loaves of bread, which were distributed to participants
Msgr. David Cassato blesses the roses
After Mass, Josephine and Lucrezia carry the statue out of church
and begin the procession through the neighborhood 
The procession wends its way through the neighborhood
Devotees pray and sing hymns to St. Rita
(Above & below) Members take turns carrying our beloved patroness
(Above & below) The procession saunters back to St. Athanasius Church
Back at St. Athanasius, participants pose for a group picture
Salvatore and Oronzo are ready to party
St. Rita was set up for veneration in the auditorium
It's always great to see our friends Marcantonio and his mom, Teresa
(Above & below) Just some of the delicious goodies partygoers enjoyed
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