May 3, 2018
Feast of the Madonna di Castello
May 3rd is the Feast of the Madonna di Castello, one of the so-called "Seven Sisters of Campania,” an appellation given to the region's major Marian devotions under different titles. Patroness of Somma Vesuviana, she gets her title from the castle built on the summit of Mount Somma by Charles of Anjou in 1269. The fête is the culmination of the famed “Celebration of the Mountain,” which begins on the Saturday after Easter with bonfires and torchlight processions (the “Saturday of Fires”). The festivities for Mamma Pacchiana (of the people), as the miraculous image is affectionately called, harken back to the restoration of the statue, which was heavily damaged during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1631. According to tradition, Our Lady appeared in a dream to the paralyzed daughter of the procrastinating artist commissioned to restore the statue. She commanded the girl to rise and place the neglected statue on her father’s worktable. The next morning, the astonished artist got the message and promptly completed the job. In celebration I’m posting a prayer to the Madonna di Castello. The accompanying photo is from the 2018 calendar from the Santuarrio di S. Maria a Castello.
Prayer to the Madonna di Castello
O Holy Virgin, Mother of Jesus and I, listen to my fervent prayer and grant me that I am among those you love and keep in your heart. Purify, Virgin of Castle, my soul from every sinful desire; turn away from me all that is displeasing in your pure eyes. You know my needs because you are the Mother of the needy; you have always manifested the power of your maternal protection, hear my prayer. I promise to live in a Christian way and to spread your devotion. Bless, O Mother, my family and my work, and do not abandon me at the hour of death. Madonna di Castello, pray for me. Amen