November 11, 2018

Feast of Saint Martin of Tours

Evviva San Martino!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 11th is the Feast Day of San Martino di Tours (St. Martin of Tours). Traditionally a time of feasting and revelry, the commemoration coincides with the Fall harvests and the drinking of new wines before the penitential season of Advent. Credited with introducing viticulture to parts of Gaul, St. Martin is the patron saint of wine makers. He is also the patron of soldiers, tailors, the poor and the town of Setingiano in Catanzaro, Calabria.
In Southern Italy the Feast is typically celebrated with wine tasting and regional delicacies, such as fried cod or zeppole. L'Estate di San Martino, or Saint Martin's Summer, denotes a period of unseasonably mild weather similar to our Indian Summer. Due to climate changes this is less pronounced than in the past, but some of the traditions associated with the seasonal cycle persist, including celebratory bonfires and winter food preparations. Many, however, celebrate with a simple glass of fortified wine and biscuits.
In celebration I'm posting a Prayer to St. Martin of Tours. The accompanying photo of St. Martin offering his crimson cloak to a naked beggar was taken at Most Precious Blood Church in Manhattan's Little Italy. The figures were part of the church's Neapolitan presepio exhibit in 2015.
Prayer to St. Martin of Tours
Dear well-beloved Saint, you were first a soldier like your father. Converted to the Church, you became a soldier of Christ, a priest and then a Bishop of Tours. Lover of the poor, and model for pagans and Christians alike, protect our soldiers at all times. Make them strong, just, and charitable, always aiming at establishing peace on earth. Amen