April 30, 2017

Saint Padre Pio Comes to America

May 6th — October 1st, 2017

The U.S. tour of the relics of Padre Pio on the occasion of his 130th birth anniversary and the 15th anniversary of his canonization.

Donations raised during this tour will be donated to build the Via Crucis in Pietrelcina where Padre Pio received his first signs of the stigmata!

For more information about tour schedules, please contact the local Cathedral/Parish.

For additional information, call 203-416-1471 or send an email to info@saintpiofoundation.org.


Click here to see full tour schedule

April 29, 2017

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

April 28, 2017

Requiescat in Pace, Don Massimo Cuofano

Photo courtesy of the Fondazione Francesco II di Borbone
It is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the death of Don Massimo Cuofano on April 28, 2017. A champion of faith and community, he now joins Good King Francis II in the house of the Lord. Forever grateful for your work, we will continue your mission and fight the good fight. You will be sorely missed confratello, requiescat in pace.

Pray for Don Massimo Cuofano

Don Massimo Cuofano with HRH Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Dear friends, we urge you to please keep in your thoughts and prayers Don Massimo Cuofano, who is gravely ill. Don Massimo is one of the founders of the Fondazione Francesco II di Borbone, a prayer group devoted to the beatification of HM King Francesco II of the Two Sicilies, as well as the undertaking of cultural and charitable works to help benefit the people of southern Italy.
We hope and pray for your recovery, confratello. May San Rocco, San Giuseppe Moscati, Santi Cosma e Domiano, and Good King Francis watch over you.
A Prayer for Don Massimo
Almighty and Eternal God, You are the everlasting health of those who believe in You. Hear us for Your sick servant don Massimo Cuofano for whom we implore the aid of Your tender mercy, that being restored to bodily health, he may give thanks to You in Your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

April 27, 2017

Chef Giuseppe Marrone Takes the Helm at ACQUA Restaurant and Wine Bar at Peck Slip, NYC

ACQUA's new Executive Chef Giuseppe Marrone
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
We wish our dear friend Chef Giuseppe Marrone much success on his new venture as Executive Chef and Managing Partner of ACQUA Restaurant and Wine Bar in Manhattan’s historic South Street Seaport.
Arancini di riso alla Napoletana
Stopping by after work with a few friends, we were treated to the same fine dining and Neapolitan hospitality we’ve grown accustomed to while he was in charge of Brooklyn’s Forno Rosso. Sadly, the “Red Oven” just isn’t the same without him, but now I know where my new go-to spot in Lower Manhattan is going to be.
Located at 21 Peck Slip, ACQUA’s relaxed ambience is perfect for a casual meal or a romantic interlude. Gerardo and the wait staff were attentive, friendly and provided excellent service. The food, of course, was delicious.
For starters, we enjoyed some savory arancini di riso alla Napoletana, a paper cone filled with small Neapolitan rice balls served hot from the fryer. They came with a side of dipping sauce, which was good, but I prefer mine plain.
Next, Giuseppe served his outstanding polpo alla griglia. Charred just right, the tender and chewy grilled octopus nestled in a bed of arugula, cherry tomatoes and lemon was very tasty and quite enjoyable.
Polpo alla griglia
After the polpo, the maestro presented his classic pizza Margherita. A Neapolitan masterpiece, the tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil pie was crispy and aromatic. He brings the love and devotion demanded from Naples’ national dish.
Pizza Margherita
Tempted to try the day’s special—ravioli con ‘nduja (ravioli with spicy Calabrese pork sausage)—I opted instead for the chef’s daily homemade gnocchi del giorno. Perfectly cooked, the delectable dumplings and calamari were glazed in a mouthwatering saffron sauce. I do not regret my choice.
Gnocchi with calamari and saffron
Naturally we capped off our meal with coffee and dessert, but first we toasted chef Marrone’s genius and boundless hospitality with a healthy glass of amaro, my preferred after-dinner digestif. This was followed with some piping hot espresso, panna cotta ai frutti di bosco, tiramisu and a bowl of nutty biscotti.
Panna cotta ai frutti di boscotiramisu and nutty biscotti
Chef Marrone’s ambitious vision for ACQUA has me salivating. Plans of adding a clam bar, offering some live entertainment and starting a Napoli fan club are in the works. OK, maybe I imagined the latter idea, but I’m convinced his energy and professionalism will take this delightful eatery to an even higher level.
ACQUA Restaurant & Wine Bar ★★★★★
21 Peck Slip @ Water Street
New York, New York 10038
Tel 212.349.4433

Announcing the 2017 Festa di San Francesco di Paola in Ambler, Pennsylvania


April 26, 2017

Evviva San Giorgio! Celebrating Saint George's Day in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Evviva San Giorgio!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Early Sunday Morning my friends from the St. Rocco Society and I made our way to Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday and the Feast of San Giorgio Martire at Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary and St. Stephen RC Church. One of my favorite churches in Brooklyn, it's always a pleasure to visit.
Home to many old statues from bygone southern Italian societies, this magnificent house of worship is still a vibrant parish, which hosts the solemn Feast of the Madonna Addolorata, patroness of Mola di Bari, and the Feast of San Giovanni Battista, co-patron of Pozzallo, Sicily. However, on this clear and cool Spring day we were there to see the statue of San Giorgio Martire, protector of Testaccio in Barano, d’Ischia. 
An annual tradition among my friends—who for various reasons have a special devotion to the warrior saint—I was blessed and honored to partake in their edifying pilgrimage. As a devotee and Knight of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George it is a holy day of obligation for me, so I was delighted to attend Mass with them, share in their joy and exalt our glorious patron together. Evviva San Giorgio!
Before Mass, devotees took turns venerating San Giorgio.
The St. was given a beautiful bouquet of flowers by the LaRocca Family
(L.) Side-altar with the Madonna del Carmine, San Giorgio & Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. (R.) Side-altar with Sant'Anna, Santa Restituta and Santa Lucia
(L.) Side-altar with Santa Rita da Cascia and Santa Rosalia. (R.) Santa Maria del Lauro, Madonna Assunta di Monte di Procida and the Madonna della Lettera 
(L.) Side-altar with San Michele Arcangelo, Madonna dei Miracoli and Sant'Angelo Martire. (R.) Side-Altar with Santa Maria di Porto Salvo di Gallico Marina, the Madonna dell'Arco, and Santa Cándida Martire
(L.) The new statue of San Giovanni Battista. (R.) Madonna Addolorata
(L.) Santo Stefano primo martire. (R.) Recently restored statue of San Rocco
Beautifully decorated High Altar
(L.) Cross with veil and flowers. (R.) A close-up of the Risen Christ. Alleluia!

Mass in Honor of the Madonna dei Miracoli in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Evviva Maria!
April 30th @ 10AM

Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary & St. Stephen RC Church
108 Carroll Street
Carroll Gardens, Bklyn., NY 11231

After Mass Sunday morning at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and St. Stephen's RC Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, we spoke for a bit with Pastor Msgr. Guy Massie, who kindly informed us (after learning about our interests in southern Italian cultural and religious practices) that there will be a Mass this Sunday, April 30th at 10 AM in honor of the Madonna dei Miracoli. Among the many sacred images on display at the church is a framed portrait of the Madonna dei Miracoli, patroness of Collesano, Sicily. It sits on a side-altar with the statues of San'Angelo Martire, patron saint of Licata, Sicily, and San Michele Arcangelo.

For more on our visit to Sacred Hearts — St. Stephen's Church click here.

April 25, 2017

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.

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

Missa Cantata in Honor of the Madonna Dell' Incoronata di Puglia in East Harlem, New York

April 24, 2017

Olivia Kate Cerrone’s Book Launch at the Italian American Museum in NYC’s Little Italy

Olivia Kate Cerrone
Congratulations to our old friend Olivia Kate Cerrone on the recent publication of her new book, The Hunger Saint (Bordighera Press 2017), a historical novella set in post WWII-era Sicily about young Ntoni and the carusi, child-aged sulfur minors.
Olivia gave a wonderful presentation Thursday evening at the Italian American Museum in NYC’s historic Little Italy, reading excerpts from the book, discussing her years of research and answering everyone’s questions during the Q&A session.
While mingling with guests and enjoying some wine and cheese at the afterparty, we caught up with Olivia and discovered she is working on a new novel about the exploration of identity, set in Boston.
We also learned she will be speaking again on Thursday, April 27th (6PM) at I AM Books, the country’s first Italian American bookstore, in the heart of Boston’s iconic North End. If you are in area, we highly recommend going to the event.
We wish you all the best Olivia, and much success for the future. Bona fortuna e 'a Maronna t'accumpagna!

Photo of the Week: San Giorgio e il Drago at Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele in Capri

St. George and the Dragon at Dr. Axel Munthe's Villa San Michele in Anacapri, Capri
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

April 23, 2017

Feast of the Madonna delle Galline

Evviva Maria!
The Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Madonna delle Galline, or Our Lady of the Hens. Protectress of Pagani, a small town in the Province of Salerno, the Feast commemorates the discovery of the miraculous Marian icon. According to popular tradition, a brood of rasping chickens brought to light with their persistent scratching a wooden tabletop with the image of the Madonna del Carmine painted on it. Dating back to the 8th or 9th century, it is believed that the table was hidden by a group of monks looking to save it from the iconoclastic destruction of marauding Saracens. Discovered in the 16th century, eight miracles, including the healing of a cripple, has been attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mother through the sacred image. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The accompanying photo of the restored Madonna delle Galline with St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, St. Costanza and St. Agatha interceding to liberate the souls of Purgatory comes courtesy of Diocesi Nocera Inferiore – Sarno. Attributed to Giovanni Vincenzo Forli (c.1580–c.1625), the painting is enshrined above the High Altar inside the Santuario della Madonna delle Galline in Pagani.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity (make your request). O star of the sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother. O holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to aid me in my need; there are none that can withstand your power. O show me herein you are my Mother. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (three times) Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (three times)

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, 2017

Celebrating Pasquetta at the Our Lady of the Snow Sagra della Pizza Chiena (Pizza Rustica Festival)

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
I cut my Pasquetta outing a little short Easter Monday in order to attend the highly anticipated Sagra della Pizza Chiena (Pizza Rustica Festival) at the Our Lady of the Snow Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I didn’t want to go empty handed, so I went home to whip something up. Since I’m not much of a baker, instead of attempting to make pizza chiena, I prepared my signature frittata di maccheroni, which is what I traditionally have for Pasquetta.
Seeing as it was their inaugural affair, I was unsure of what to expect, but upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to see such a fantastic turnout. I’m guessing about fifty people showed up, most bearing their own version of pizza rustica (also called pizza chiena or pizza gain). Considering the event was relatively unadvertised (besides us, I only saw NIAF and We the Italians publicize it), I think this was a pretty good size gathering. 
In fact, despite being promoted primarily by word of mouth, the event did draw several notable Italian American personages, including our friend HE Cav. John M. Viola, President and Chief Operating Officer of NIAF and the ebullient Dolores Alfieri from The Italian American Podcast. Letizia Airos and film crew from i-Italy were on hand as well to capture the festivities.
Also joining the fun were members of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, the Federazione delle Associazioni della Campania USA, the Monte San Giacomo Society, the San Cono Society and the San Rocco Society of Potenza, among others. 
The food was placed on three large folding tables and served buffet style beneath the protective statue of the Madonna della Neve, the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and a fanciful mural of Sanza, a pastoral town in the province of Salerno. A couple of people, like myself, brought different types of dishes for a little variety.
Once everyone settled in, Our Lady of the Snow Society President Vinnie Raymond warmly greeted us and introduced event organizer Patrick O’Boyle, who talked a little about his “I Love Pizza Gain a.k.a. Pizza Chiena” Facebook group and the history of pizza rustica. Traditionally the pie was eaten on Holy Saturday because the Lenten fast was over and people could once again eat eggs, dairy and meat.
After Pat, Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey was asked to say a few words. Monsignor recalled some delightful childhood memories of Pasquetta and the leisurely picnics he enjoyed with his family. He concluded by saying grace.
Following the benediction, partygoers mingled and delved into the bountiful repast. Still a little full from Sunday’s feast (not to mention the leftovers I had for lunch earlier in the day), I had room for only a little taste. With so many options to choose from, I tried to mix it up, sampling the calzone di cipolla (onion pie), pastiera Napoletana—the quintessential Neapolitan Easter dessert—and, of course, some pizza chiena.
Needless to say everything was delicious, but hands down Elena Loguercio’s rafaiul cu sanguinaccio was my favorite. I’m salivating now just thinking about it. The fried pastry stuffed with a rich chocolate and pig’s blood pudding was absolutely phenomenal. Even though I was full, as far as I’m concerned there’s always room for sanguinaccio. 
The celebration continued into the night with revelers circulating and dancing to the fast paced rhythms of the Neapolitan tarantella spun by DJ Marilena Giovanna.
We cannot thank enough President Vinnie Raymond and all the members of the Our Lady of the Snow Society for their warmth and hospitality. You made us feel right at home. Thank you to all the people who cooked and contributed to the party. It was an honor and a privilege to celebrate our culture with you. Special thanks to Elena Loguercio and Patrick O’Boyle for organizing the magnificent event. Your hard work and dedication to our community serves as an inspiration to us all.
(L.) Vinnie Raymond, President of the Our Lady of the Snow Society
(R.) Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio
Organizer, Elena Loguercio
Celebrating our rich Duesiciliano heritage
Participants prepare the dishes so everyone can get a taste
Guests help themselves to a variety of southern Italian delicacies
Our good pal Carmine Percontino (left) and members from the
Monte San Giacomo Society of Hoboken NJ
Our friends from the Our Lady of the Snow Society
HE Delegate Cav. John Viola (second from left) with Knights, postulants and friends of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George
(Above and below) Just some of the many delicious goodies we enjoyed
My "world-famous" frittata di maccheroni with mushrooms and asparagus
Hands down, my favorite dish was Elena's incredible Rafaiul cu sanguinaccio
It seems I wasn't the only one who got Salvatore Argenio presents this Easter. Our friend Rosanna got a beautiful leather and silk satchel enblazoned with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from the San Carlo theatre
Partygoers danced the tarantella
Also see: 

The Hunger Saint – Book Presentation by Olivia Kate Cerrone at I AM Books

Thursday, April 27 @ 6PM

I AM Books
189 North Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113

The Hunger Saint (Bordighera Press 2017) is a historical novella about a young boy’s survival from the sulfur mines of rural Sicily. Set in post WWII-era Italy, this book reflects upon the religious, cultural, social and economic factors that helped normalize the practice of child labor abuse in Italy. The carusi, the child-aged sulfur miners of Sicily, were documented as working as young as six years old. The Hunger Saint draws from years of historical research, along with the oral histories of former miners living in Sicily today.

Free Admission


April 20, 2017

Compra Sud — Bamonte’s Restaurant

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

Bamonte’s Restaurant
32 Withers Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

(Between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street)

Find Bamonte's Restaurant on Facebook

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 2017 Festa di San Marziale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania