May 4, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of San Francesco di Paola in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

The Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George led the solemn procession down Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Cav. John Napoli
Saturday evening I met up with my fellow Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George at Saint Francis of Paola Church (219 Conselyea St.) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the Traditional Solemn High Mass in honor of San Francesco di Paola, patron saint of Calabria and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Members of the St. Theresa Guild show their support
Starting from the Madonna della Neve clubhouse at 410 Graham Avenue, members of the Madonna della Neve Society, the San Cono Society, the San Rocco di Potenza Society, the Saint Theresa Guild, and the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and Columbiettes joined the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George and processed with society banners and a portrait of the saint to the packed Church. 
Members of the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and Columbiettes
Beautifully decorated with a Constantinian blue portière and flags of the Order, the Vatican and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, it was great to see so many people show up and celebrate their faith and heritage.
(L.) Andrew had the honor of carrying the Our Lady of the Snow standard. (R.) Rocco Manzolillo (second from left) with members of the St. Cono Society 
Solemn High Mass was sung by celebrant and homilist the Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio (Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Newark, New Jersey and Chaplain of the Order), Deacon Fr. Christopher Salvatori (SAC, Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Harlem, New York) and Subdeacon Teddy Thongratnachat. They were dutifully assisted by MC Lorenzo Tinio, Anthony Scillia, James Pierre and Michael MacDonald.
Our pal Michael with his beautiful family
During his sermon, Monsignor Ambrosio spoke at length about the ascetic life of the great saint, the importance of charity and the pernicious influences of materialism and secularism. 
The church was decked out with flags and a Constantinian blue portière
(Photo courtesy of Cav. Vincent Gangone)  
The Ordinary of the Mass and motets chanted by Music Director Art Manabat, Tony Rambla, Alex Wentworth and organist Nicholas Krasno were absolutely glorious. To everyone’s great joy, Neapolitan multiplatinum recording artist Patrizio Buanne sang a moving rendition of Ave Maria during Communion.
Flags of the Constantinian Order and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
After the Concluding Rites, Nicholas Krasno played Inno al Re—the national anthem of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, composed by Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816)—during the recessional procession back to the sacristy. Monsignor Ambrosio, escorted by Cavalieri Patrick O’Boyle and Vincent Gangone, soon returned with the first-class relic of San Francesco di Paola for public veneration. Extremely rare (due to the iconoclastic attack on the Church of Notre-Dame-la-Riche in Tours, France and desecration of the Saint’s incorrupt body by Huguenots in 1562), hundreds of devotees lined up to venerate the saint.
We arrive at beautiful Saint Francis of Paola Church
Departing church, we were invited back to Cav. Gangone’s house for a brief respite. Breaking out a couple of bottles of his father’s delicious homemade wine, we toasted our gracious host, the memory of Good King Francis II and recently departed Don Massimo Caufano. Before leaving, Monsignor Ambrosio blessed the Gangone’s beautiful home and Patrizio serenaded Vincent’s mother with a couple of sentimental Neapolitan ditties.
(L.) A large statue of San Francesco di Paola stands by the entrance.
(R.) A statuette of the saint was set up by the altar 
Refreshed, our party sauntered over to Frost Restaurant (193 Frost St.) for our celebratory dinner. Partygoers enjoyed a bountiful meal replete with Neapolitan delicacies, including involtini di melanzane and spaghetti con scungilli. Sated and happy, Patrizio led our jovial party in song, inviting to entire dining room to sing along.
(R.) Cav. Gangone presents the relic to Monsignor. (R.) Our good friend Anthony Scillia helps distribute the blessed prayer cards to attendees
Thank you President Vinnie Raymond and members of the Madonna della Neve Society; President Rocco Manzolillo and members of the St. Cono Society; members of the San Rocco Society of Potenza; members of the Saint Theresa’s Guild; members of the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus and Columbiettes; and all the other participants for your much appreciated help and support.
After Mass, devotees venerate the first class relic of San Francesco
Thank you Art Manabat, Tony Rambla, Alex Wentworth and Nicholas Krasno for your precious gift of sacred music. As always, you were fantastic.
Thank you to Patrizio Buanne for your outstanding performance during Mass (and dinner). It truly was a blessing and joy to hear you sing.
Thank you to the reverent and attentive altar servers. Lorenzo Tinio, Anthony Scillia, James Pierre and Michael MacDonald did an excellent job.
Hundreds await their turn to venerate the relic
Thank you Pastor Fr. Thomas Vassalotti, Fr. Rafael Perez, the staff and congregation at St. Francis of Paola Church and Divine Mercy Parish for your warmth, kindness and tremendous hospitality. It’s always a blessing to celebrate Mass at this incredible Church.
Special thanks to Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio for being our Celebrant, Fr. Christopher Salvatore for being our Deacon, and Teddy Thongratnachat for being our Subdeacon. It was an incredible honor to celebrate Mass with you.
Msgr. Ambrosio blesses the Gangone home
Thank you to Vincent Jr. for leading the procession and carrying the portrait of San Francesco di Paola. You did a fantastic job.

Thank you to my fellow Knights, His Excellency U.S. Delegate Cav. John M. Viola, Vice Chancellor Cav. Patrick O’Boyle, Cav. Thomas Crane, Cav. Anthony O’Boyle, and Cav. Charles Sant’Elia for your hard work and dedication. I would especially like to thank Cav. Vincent Gangone for a job well done. Vincent selflessly took point and laid the groundwork for this magnificent celebration. I am proud to serve with you and call you my friend.
We toast our gracious hosts
I apologize if I forgot anyone.
It was an honor and a privilege to celebrate our faith and culture together. God willing, we shall do it again next year. Evviva San Francesco!
There was no shortage of food and revelry at Frost Restaurant. 
I love Patrizio Buanne's custom made Salvatore Argenio shirt