June 29, 2017

Solemnity of San Pietro and San Paolo

Viva San Pietro e San Paolo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 29th is the Feast Day of San Pietro and San Paolo (Saints Peter and Paul), Apostles and Martyrs. Widely venerated across southern Italy, the saints are the principal patrons of Galatina (LE), Agropoli (SA), Miglionico (MT), Petronà (RC), and Lamezia Terme (CZ), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter and St. Paul. The accompanying photo of Saints Peter and Paul by Jusepe de Ribera (Játiva 1591-1652 Naples) was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Prayer to Saint Peter and Saint Paul

O holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, I choose you this day and forever to be my special patrons and advocates; thee, Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles, because thou art the Rock, upon which Almighty God hath built His Church; thee, Saint Paul, because thou wast fore-chosen by God as the Vessel of election and the Preacher of truth in the whole world. Obtain for me, I pray you, lively faith, firm hope, and burning love; complete detachment from myself, contempt of the world, patience in adversity, humility in prosperity, attention in prayer, purity of heart, a right intention in all my works, diligence in fulfilling the duties of my state of life, constancy in my resolutions, resignation to the will of God and perseverance in the grace of God even unto death; that so, by means of your intercession and your glorious merits, I may be able to overcome the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and may be made worthy to appear before the chief and eternal Shepherd of souls, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for endless ages, to enjoy His presence and love Him forever. Amen.

The Legacy of Pietro Montana

Victory With Peace by Pietro Montana
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
“My wish has been to send light into the darkness of men’s hearts, and to be the servant of a noble purpose . . . art is not a vague production, transitory and isolated, but a power, which must be directed toward the refinement and improvement of the human soul.”  — Pietro Montana, in an address before the Hudson Valley Association *
After stumbling upon Anthony de Francisci's Independence Flagstaff at Union Square, I was keen on discovering other monuments by Southern Italian artists in NYC. I did some digging and found several works. Unfortunately, for some of the artists I've been unable to obtain any biographical information except that they were Italian-Americans. 
I did, however, hit the jackpot at Freedom Triangle in Bushwick, BrooklynWhile taking a ride to Williamsburg with a friend we noticed an extraordinary statue of what appeared to be an angel. We pulled over to take a closer look. According to the plaque affixed to the fence protecting the monument from vandals the artist was Pietro Montana from Alcamo, Italy. "He's Sicilian," I told my friend as I started snapping pictures! Continue reading

Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Borough Park, Brooklyn

June 28, 2017

A Look at the 2017 Sons of San Paolino Giglio Lift, Franklin Square, Long Island

After Mass, there was a short procession through the fairgrounds 
Photos courtesy of Bobby Maida
Thanks Bobby for sharing your wonderful photos of the 2017 Giglio Feast of San Paolino di Nola in Franklin Square, Long Island. Evviva San Paolino! 
For more of Bobby’s event pictures visit www.bobseventphotos.shutterfly.com
Viva San Paolino!
(Above & below) Capo paranza Johnny Z is a whirlwind of passion & intensity
(Above & below) The Sons of San Paolino carry the giglio around the fairgrounds
Our pals John and Phil
(Above & below) A good time was had by all
The celebration finished with a magnificent fireworks show

An Author in Search of a Cause

Luigi Pirandello – the Instrument of Creation
Luigi Pirandello
By Niccolò Graffio
“Well, if you want to take away from me the possibility of representing the torment of my spirit which never gives me peace, you will be suppressing me: that's all. Every true man, sir, who is a little above the level of the beasts and plants does not live for the sake of living, without knowing how to live; but he lives so as to give a meaning and a value of his own to life.” – Luigi Pirandello: Six Characters in Search of an Author, 1921.
It has often been said that tragedy and comedy are two sides of the same coin. Indeed, most comedies seem to arise out of tragedies. The late stand-up comedian Richard Pryor is an excellent example of this phenomenon. For years he regaled audiences, both black and white, with tales of his childhood in the slums of Peoria, Illinois. Audiences would regularly howl with laughter at his stories of living in bone-crunching poverty, abuse at the hands of his elders, substance abuse and trying to avoid falling into the “tender mercies” of street gangs. One has to wonder, though, how many people would think all this funny if it happened to them, or how many others laughed simply because it was better than crying. Continue reading

Announcing the 82nd Annual Saint Mary of Carmen Festival, Nonantum, Massachusetts


June 27, 2017

A Look at San Vito Martire from the 2017 Feast in Mamaroneck, New York

Viva San Vito!
Photos courtesy of Cav. Charles Sant'Elia
Thanks Charles for sharing your wonderful photos of the statue of San Vito from Sunday's (June 25th) Feast of San Vito Martire celebrated at St. Vito – Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Mamaroneck, New York. Evviva San Vito!
A close-up of the base
Also see:
• A Look at the 2016 Feast of San Vito Martire in Mamaroneck, New York

Announcing the 128th Annual Feast of San Rocco di Potenza in New York City


June 26, 2017

Photo of the Week: Statue of Carolo Tertio at Montecassino Abbey

Statue of King Carolo Tertio (Charles III of Bourbon)
at Montecassino Abbey. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Around the Web — Gallicianò: Greek Culture in Calabria

Gallicianò. Photo courtesy of Calabria: The Other Italy
“Kalimera." A spry, older woman dressed in black warmly greeted us as we stepped out of the car and began to walk up the street to the main square of Gallicianò. She was like the town sentinel and greeter all in one, speaking perfect Italian to us, then lithely pulling a cell phone out of her pocket to call our guide in a language I didn’t understand at all.
Calòs ìrtete Gaddihicianò –  Welcome to Gallicianò
I was visiting a village at the very tip of Italy, on the edge of the Aspromonte Mountains in southern Calabria, the last bastion of Greek civilization in the region. Just forty people remain in Gallicianò, which today is officially a district of the larger community known as Condofuri. They speak grecanico (Grecanic), a language that hearkens back to ancient Greece, to Magna Graecia of southern Italy, founded in the eighth century BC. Continue reading

June 25, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Images of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus at Holy Name of Jesus Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage and cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.*
Detail of the Rosary I inherited from my
grandmother showing the Sacred Heart
Friday evening, with missal and Rosary in hand, I attended Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass for the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus at beautiful Holy Name of Jesus Church (245 Prospect Park West) in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Deeply devoted to the Sacred Heart, I wanted to offer reparation for my sins and deepen my relationship with our Lord and Savior.
Mass was sung by Celebrant and Homilist Fr. Stephen Saffron, Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm. Fr. Tomasz Szczepanczyk was the Deacon and Mr. James Barret was the Subdeacon. The sacred ministers were dutifully assisted by Daniel Maldonado (MC), Brian Hilley, Robert Jurman, John Leicmon, Ricardo Kinch and Matthew Wise. We concluded by praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart and the Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart.
The motets and Mass setting for this Liturgy were composed by organist and choir director David Adam Smith. They were gloriously chanted by Luthien Brackett (alto), Elizabeth Smith (alto), Ryland Angel (tenor), Art Bryan Manabat (tenor), Andrew Padgett (bass), and Jonathan Woody (bass).
Holy Name of Jesus Church in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Thank you Rev. Lawrence D. Ryan, Pastor and all the Parish staff and congregation for your warmth and welcoming hospitality. Special thanks to Cindy Brolsma and organizers for your hard work and dedication. Once again, it was a great joy to celebrate our faith together. 
The next Latin Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church will be celebrated on Sunday, August 6th at 5:00pm for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
* Quoted from the Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart
Also see:
Observing the First Sunday of Lent in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Celebrating the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Feast of San Guglielmo di Montevergine (da Vercelli)

The Vision of St. William of Vercelli by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro
June 25th is the Feast Day of San Guglielmo di Montevergine (St. William of Montevergine), hermit and abbot. Patron saint of Irpinia in Avellino, St. William was the founder of the Benedictine Williamites, the now defunct monastic Order of Mount Virgin. He built several monasteries in southern Italy, including that of Montevergine in 1119, and served as a trusted advisor to HRH King Ruggero II of Sicily

According to legend, while living as a hermit on a mountain near Atella in Potenza, St. William restored site to a blind man. News of the miracle brought unwanted attention and compelled him to leave and find a new place of solitude. Moving to Monte Virgiliano (named after the Roman Poet Virgil) he had a vision of the Blessed Mother holding the Divine Infant. With only his donkey, he started building a shrine in her honor on the site of an earlier temple to Cybele. One day while working, a wolf killed his donkey. St. William scolded the beast and commanded it to take the donkey’s place. The wolf obeyed the saint and started hauling timber and stone.
To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to St. William. The accompanying photo of The Vision of St. William of Vercelli (Visione di San Guglielmo da Vercelli) is by the great Neapolitan artist Domenico Antonio Vaccaro (1678-1745). 
Prayer to St. William
O God, Who hast set for us in Thy saints an example and a help to our weakness, to assist us to tread the path of salvation, grant us so to venerate the virtues of the blessed abbot William, that we may share in his prayers and follow in his footsteps. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God forever and ever. Amen.

June 24, 2017

Feast of San Giovanni Battista

Viva San Giovanni!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 24th is the Feast of San Giovanni Battista, or Saint John's Day. In Southern Italy, Saint John's Eve (June 23rd) is traditionally celebrated with bonfires known as Saint John's Fire. The bonfires were part of an ancient purification ritual connected with the June solstice. Sometimes called "Summer Christmas," the Feast is a celebration of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, the herald of Jesus Christ. As my name day, the Feast has an additional special significance to me. Buon onomastico to my fellow Duesiciliani named Giovanni! To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint John the Baptist. The accompanying photo of the Battesimo di Cristo by Gerolamo Starace-Franchis (Napoli, notizie dal 1754 al 1783) was taken during my 2010 visit to the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Napoli.
Prayer to Saint John the Baptist
O God, You raised up Saint John the Baptist to prepare a perfect person for Christ. We call upon Saint John's intercession to properly prepare us with a true sense of repentance to receive Your grace and salvation. Make us faithful to truth and justice, as You did Your servant, John the Baptist, herald of Your Son's birth and death. Lord, may You increase Your life within us. Amen.

Solemn Mass for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles in East Harlem, New York

Thursday, June 29th @ 7:30PM – 9:00PM

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Pontifical Shrine
448 E 116th St.
New York, NY 10029

On Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 7:30 PM, we will celebrate Solemn Mass for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles. Please join us as we pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis and all the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles Peter and Paul in their mission to draw all people to Christ and his Church.

June 23, 2017

Feast of Santa Agrippina di Mineo

Evviva Santa Agrippina!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 23rd is the Feast Day of Santa Agrippina di Mineo, virgin and martyr. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Agrippina.* The accompanying photo was taken at an outdoor shrine on Battery Street in Boston's North End. Boston is home to many descendants of Mineo, Sicily, and they pay tribute to their patroness each August with a beautiful Feast in her honor.
Prayer to St. Agrippina
O glorious virgin and Martyr Agrippina your cruel executioner bound you to prepare you for martyrdom. Pray for us that our hearts will also be bound always to God's holy love, Let us pray fervently. May devotion to Saint Agrippina Endure for ever. Amen.

Also see:
• Celebrating a Hundred Years of Devotion to Santa Agrippina di Mineo in Boston, Mass. (Part 1)
• Celebrating a Hundred Years of Devotion to Santa Agrippina di Mineo in Boston, Mass. (Part 2)

Happy Birthday Princess Maria Carolina!

HRH was born in Rome in 2003
Photo courtesy of Camilla di Borbone delle Due Sicilie
Happy Birthday Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess of Palermo and Calabria! May God's love and affection be with you today and forever! Auguri!

The Neglected Genius: Giambattista Vico of Naples

Giambattista Vico 
b. June 23, 1668 — d. Jan. 22-23, 1744
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Niccolò Graffio
“I don’t believe in any science, but my imagination grows when I read Vico in a way that it doesn’t when I read Freud or Jeung.” – James Joyce (Ellman, Richard: James Joyce.2nd ed. pg. 693, New York: Oxford UP, 1983)
The simplest definition of history is the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. Though it is admittedly an oversimplification, one could argue that human history is created by basically two types of people: doers and sayers. The doers could also be termed “people of action”; those who make their mark by engaging in activities that significantly alter the world, for better or worse. Examples of this sort include Alexander of Macedon, Christopher Columbus, the Wright brothers and Albert Einstein.
Sayers, on the other hand, are those who, through the printed and/or spoken word, seek to alter the world around them by impressing their thoughts on others. Examples of this sort include Kong Qiu (Confucius), Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Paine and Karl Marx. Continue reading

June 22, 2017

Feast of San Paolino di Nola

Viva San Paolino!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 22nd is the Feast Day of San Paolino (Saint Paulinus), Bishop and Patron of Nola (NA). To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to San Paolino. The accompanying photo was taken at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 
Prayer to San Paolino
O Lord, You made Saint Paulinus renowned for his love of poverty and concern for his people. May we who celebrate his witness to the Gospel imitate his example of love for others. We ask 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.

Death of Ruggero d'Altavilla (Roger I of Sicily)

Ruggiero il Normanno (Roger II)
The facade of the Palazzo Reale di Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Dextera Domini fecit virtutem. Dextera Domini exaltavit me. (The right hand of God gave me courage. The right hand of God raised me up) – The inscription on Roger's shield following his victory at Cerami (Quoted from The Normans in Sicilyby John Julius Norwich)
June 22, 1101 Marks the death of Ruggero d'Altavilla (Roger de Hauteville).
The Norman arrival in Southern Italy began in the eleventh century. According to tradition, in 1016 a group of pilgrims drove away a band of Moslem raiders plaguing the Lombard Principality of Salerno. Grateful and impressed with the Normans' martial prowess the Lombards invited them to stay. Word quickly spread through the halls of Normandy about the opportunities for soldiers-of-fortune and it wasn't long before the rival lords of Southern Italy were employing Norman freebooters in their wars. Continue reading

Announcing the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in East Harlem, New York

June 21, 2017

Happy Summer!

Apollo with lyre
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
In celebration of the summer solstice, or midsummer, I would like to share a poem by Vittorio Clemente from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism (A Trilingual Anthology) edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, p.38.
The accompanying photo of Apollo was taken at The Naples National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli) during my 2010 visit to Napoli. In addition to being the god of music, poetry and prophecy, Apollo was, of course, the god of the sun.
Golden days of summer,
     facing the sun,
facing the sea, delighted, and            content.
Days spent eavesdropping on the       wind,
mindful of words whispered in secret.

Words I'd unravel; listening, alone,
for the voice of the world, the nothing beyond,
alone, while my nimble heart took flight
for untold trysts and destinations.

Perhaps for the very edge of the world,
where Our Lady of the Mariners
trims white roses in the morning.

And to find myself here, again, eyes
like a boy's, quick and bright, seeing, upon
the lace of waves, roses ride to shore...

(Translated by Anthony Molino)

Announcing the 2017 Festa Della Madonna Delle Grazie, Ridgewood, New York

Announcing the 2017 Feast of San Silverio in Dover Plains, New York


June 20, 2017

Feast of San Silverio

Evviva San Silverio! 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
June 20th is the Feast Day of San Silverio, Pope, martyr and protector of the island of Ponza. San Silverio is also the co-patron of Frosinone (FR) and Scerni (CH), where he shares his patronage with Sant’Ormisda and San Panfilo di Sulmona, respectively. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to San Silverio.(*) The accompanying photo was taken during the 2014 Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Prayer to San Silverio
O Glorious San Silverio, pastor of the Universal Church and hero of the Faith, you were blessed with the courage to die in witness to Christ and the Gospel. Through your example, may we be filled with the courage to profess our faith in Jesus Christ, and to serve Him with generosity in our neighbor. Amen
* Prayer courtesy of the San Silverio Society of Dover Plains, New York. For more about the society visit http://sansilverioshrine.org

Photo of the Week: Statue of Lotario Tertio at Montecassino Abbey

Statue of Holy Roman Emperor Lotario Tertio (Lothair III)
at Montecassino Abbey. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

Solemn High Latin Mass for the External Solemnity of the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Little Italy, New York

Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist and All Night Prayer Vigil for Nascent Life

June 19, 2017

Corpus Christi Mass and Procession at Our Lady of Peace Church in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Celebrating Solemn High Latin Mass for the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Photo essay by New York Scugnizzo
(Above & below) Sunday's Eucharistic Procession
makes its way around the parish
The monstrance is carried aloft so the Host is exposed for veneration
(Above & below) Three station altars with flowers were set up along the route
Kneeling in adoration, incense is burned before the Eucharist
A brief blessing before continuing on to the next station 
Acolyte's carry candles and a censer
The choir chanted for the length of the procession
We returned to Our Lady of Peace Church for the Benediction
Also see:
Faith and Family, My Easter Traditions
Celebrating the External Solemnity of the Epiphany at Our Lady of Peace Church in Gowanus, Brooklyn