May 31, 2019

Feast of the Madonna della Visitazione

The Visitation, ca. 1752, Francesco de Mura (Neapolitan, 1696-1782)
May 31st is the Feast of the Madonna della Visitazione, or the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of Enna, Sicily. The Feast commemorates the pregnancies of the Blessed Mother and Saint Elizabeth, and the cleansing of the unborn Saint John the Baptist from original sin. Following the Annunciation, Mary went to Judea to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zachariah. Childless and too old to conceive, Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant with John, the holy prophet and herald of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Elizabeth greeted Mary it is said the unborn John leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of the Visitation. The accompanying photo of The Visitation (ca. 1752) by Francesco de Mura (Neapolitan, 1696-1782) is part of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum's (Winter Park, Florida) notable collection.

Prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of the Visitation

Bestow upon Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace: that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn feast of her Visitation may bring us an increase of peace. Through our Lord.

Feast of Santa Maria Mater Domini

Evviva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
May 31st is the Feast Day of Santa Maria Mater Domini, patroness of Fraine, a commune in the Province of Chieti, Abruzzo. According to tradition, around the year 1000 the Virgin Mary appeared before a young deaf mute tending her flock near the Vicenne Forest. Curing the girl, Our Lady told her to call out to her parents. At first, not recognizing the voice (and busy at work) they ignored her calls. However, when they finally learned what had happened the overjoyed couple rushed to the woods with their daughter to give thanks and praise. The Blessed Mother called upon them to build a house of worship at the location of the miracle. The grateful family, with the support of the local clergy, did as they were instructed and built a Benedictine chapel. Completed in 1056, the Sanctuary was renovated several times over the centuries and continues to be a popular destination for pilgrims and devotees. To commemorate the occasion, I’m posting a Prayer to the Mother of God. The accompanying photo of Santa Maria Mater Domini was taken at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey.
Prayer to the Mother of God
O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to thy son and our God, that He may, for thy sake, enlighten and save our souls. Amen

May 29, 2019

Feast of Saints Cuono and Conello

Martirio di San Cuono e figlio
May 29th is the Feast Day of Saints Cuono and Conello, the Iconium Martyrs. Father and son are the protectors of Acerra, a town in Campania, just northeast of the city of Naples. They are invoked for bountiful crops and protection from natural disasters, such as drought, earthquakes and Mount Vesuvius. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer in Italian to Saints Cuono and Conello. The accompanying photo of the Martyrdom of Saint Cuono and Son by E. Fiore (1867) is located in the Cattedrale di Acerra (photo courtesy of San Cuono e Conello on Facebook).
Preghiera 
O gloriosissimi Martiri Cuono e Figlio, Nostri potenti Avvocati e Protettori, mercé la vostra potente intercessione fate che il clementissimo Iddio sia sempre propizio a noi Acerrani da Lui a Voi affidati: liberandoci da tutti i flagelli, che meritano i nostri peccati. E soprattutto Vi preghiamo impartirci le grazie necessarie per salvare le nostre anime e con Voi godere Iddio eternamente in Cielo

Sfilata dei Turchi e Festa di San Gerardo La Porta — Parade of the Turks and the Feast of Saint Gerard

Potenza, Basilicata
Potenza's annual Festa di San Gerardo La Porta (May 29th–30th) recalls the town's desperate defense against Saracen raiders and the miraculous intercession of their beloved patron. Mooring their galleys on the Basento riverbank, a band of corsairs made their way towards the unsuspecting townspeople of Potenza. Tradition has it that if not for the timely appearance of San Gerardo, flanked by angels, the town would have suffered the usual horrific fate met by so many other unfortunate victims of Moslem piracy across the Southern Italian seaboard—death or slavery. The sight of the celestial host before them caused panic among the marauding infidels, allowing the city's defense to organize and drive them off.
The Saint's intercession is celebrated with a magnificent parade called Sfilata dei Turchi or The Procession of the Turks. Dressed in picturesque costumes—Christian knights on horseback and Turkish pirates (including the Grand Vizier on a horse drawn carriage) complete with replica slave ships—march along the parade route. Children dressed in white (representing angels) and the effigy of San Gerardo La Porta follow them, to the crowd’s delight.
After the parade the celebrants are treated to jousting competitions and horse races.

In commemoration I'm posting a Prayer to San Gerardo La Porta.


Prayer to San Gerardo La Porta


Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the examples of San Gerardo La Porta may effectually move us to reform our lives; that while we celebrate his festival, we may also imitate his actions. Look upon our weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our own deeds weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of San Gerardo protect us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May 26, 2019

Feast of San Filippo Neri

Viva San Filippo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
May 26th is the Feast Day of San Filippo Neri (Saint Philip Neri), the Apostle of Rome. Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, a society of secular clergy, he is the patron saint of joy and protector of Roseto Valfortore, a small town in the Province of Foggia in Apulia. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Philip Neri. The accompanying photo was taken at The Oratory Church of Saint Boniface in downtown Brooklyn.
A Prayer to St. Philip Neri
O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen.

May 25, 2019

Festa della Madonna delle Milizie di Scicli

La Battaglia de Milici 
Every year on the last Saturday in May, the town of Scicli (a Baroque jewel in the province of Ragusa, Sicily) celebrates the Festa della Madonna delle Milizie and the miraculous triumph of Count Roger of Hauteville over the Saracens in 1091. 
The feast commemorates the divine intercession of the Blessed Mother on behalf of the Norman forces at a critical point in the battle. Overwhelmed by the paynim's superior numbers and fearing defeat, Count Roger invoked the aid of the Virgin. Mounted on a white charger and dressed in full military regalia, the apparition of Our Lady appeared on the field-of-battle in the district of Milizie and lead the Normans to victory. The triumph was of great importance for the eventual Christian reconquest of the island.
As part of the jubilant festivities the Sciclitani dress in period costumes (Christian and Moslem) and parade an equestrian statue of the Madonna through the bustling streets with much fanfare. Among the local delicacies served for the occasion is a delectable cream puff shaped like a turban called testa di turco, or Turkish heads. 
In commemoration I'm posting a Prayer to Our Lady.

O Mother of Perpetual Help

O Mother of Perpetual Help
To thee we come imploring help.
Behold us here, from far and near,
To ask of thee our help to be;
Behold us here, from far and near,
To ask of thee our help to be.

Perpetual help we beg of thee;
Our souls from sin and sorrow free;
Direct our wandering feet aright,
And be thyself our own true light;
Direct our wandering feet aright,
And be thyself out own true light.

And when this life is o'er for me,
This last request I ask of thee:
Obtain for me in heaven this grace,
To see my God there face to face;
Obtain for me in heaven this grace,
To see my God there face to face.

Feast of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi

Evviva Santa Maria Maddalena!
May 25th is the Feast day of Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (Firenze 1566–1607), Mystic and Carmelite nun. One of the co-patrons of Naples, she is invoked against bodily ills and sexual temptation. Known as the “ecstatic saint,” due to the frequency she fell into ecstasy, she is credited with many miracles. In commemoration, I’m posting a prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. The accompanying photo of the Madonna with Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Andrew Corsini was taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Carmine in Sorrento, Campania.
Prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, pray that we will make a commitment to seek the presence of God in prayer the way you did. Guide us to see the graces God gives us as gifts not rewards and to respond with gratitude and humility, not pride and selfishness. Amen

May 24, 2019

Celebrating the 2019 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey (Part 2)

Procession and Luncheon
Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
SUNDAY, May 19th — A look at the Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. (See part 1, Mass and Procession)
High Mass was sung by Fr. Anthony Mastroeni
at the Chapel of Our Lady of Tears
(Above & below) After Mass, the procession
circled the monastery three times
(L) With great pageantry, members of the Congregazione
Maria Ss. del Sacro Monte carry the statue of the
Madonna del Sacro Monte. (R) The Tony Neglia Band 
(Above & below) Pilgrims walk along the monastery path
 The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George
and 
the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
After the procession, the celebration continued at the picnic grounds
Our friends from the Sandu Manghesi del Cliento Club 
The very popular zeppole stand 
Products from Cilento, Salerno were available
Revelers enjoyed a festive luncheon
Sausage and peppers
Cavatelli
Marinated sliced pork and peppers
Zeppole
The ladies enjoyed a very competitive game of “pass the provolone,”
a humorous take on “hot potato,” where the winner gets the cheese
This year the menfolk played "pass the prosciutto"
Also see:
Celebrating the 2019 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey (Part 1)
Celebrating the 2018 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey
Celebrating the 2017 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2015 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2014 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2013 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey

May 23, 2019

Celebrating the 2019 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey (Part 1)

Mass and Procession
Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
SUNDAY, May 19th — A look at the Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. (See part 2, Procession and Luncheon)
HE Cav. John M. Viola & the O'Boyle men affix the new crowns to the statue
A close-up of one of the new crowns acquired in Naples
A tin medallion of the Madonna and child from Naples
The confraternity's celestial blue mozzettas
Vesting prayers for La Congregazione Maria Ss. del Sacro Monte
di Novi Velia Salerno di Jersey City, New Jersey
HE Cav. John M. Viola (second from right) of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George with Cavalieri Carmine Berardi, Fr. Michael C. Barone, David D'Alessandro, Vincent Gangone, & Vito Totino of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre
(Above & below) Processing to the Chapel of Our Lady of Tears
(L) High Mass was celebrated at the chapel. (R) A group of adorable flower girls pose with the statue of the Madonna del Sacro Monte
A look inside the chapel and a close-up of the Weeping Madonna of Syracuse with map of Sicily and southern Italy
(Above & below) Cavalieri & Dame joined hundreds of pilgrims at the Mass
(Above & below) After Mass, the statue
was carried around the monastery three time
Our friends from Brooklyn Latin Mass taking part in the procession
Also see:
Celebrating the 2018 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey
Celebrating the 2017 Feast of the Madonna del Sacro Monte in Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2015 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2014 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey
A Look at the 2013 Festa della Madonna del Sacro Monte at Holy Face Monastery, Clifton, New Jersey

May 22, 2019

Feast of Santa Rita da Cascia

Evviva Santa Rita!
May 22nd is the Feast Day of Santa Rita da Cascia, the “Saint of the impossible.” Widely venerated across southern Italy, she is one of the co-patrons of Naples. She is also invoked against smallpox, infertility, difficult marriages and lost or impossible causes. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Rita. The accompanying photo was taken at the 2016 Feast of Santa Rita at St. Athanasius Church in Bensonhurst Brooklyn.
St. Rita Prayer of the Roses
O Blessed Saint Rita, my powerful advocate, behold me prostrate before thy Divine Spouse, Jesus, thy Lord, thy God, and thy All. Behold me recalling His favors to thee, that thou mayst plead for me. May this blessed Rose, sweet with the memories of thy daily acts of love before the image of the Crucified Savior, and of the wonders wrought for thee in thy dying moments, give me confidence that thou in Heaven wilt plead that I, too, may share in the good things God has in store for thy clients. Saint Rita, mystical Rose of every virtue, pray for us.

Il Maggio di San Giuliano: The Marriage of Trees and the Feast of Saint Giuliano the Martyr

San Giuliano di Sora
Saint Paul's Church, Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of Anthony Scillia
By Giovanni di Napoli
Remote Accettura lies in the rugged Southern Italian hinterland of Matera, a province in the region of Basilicata, also called Lucania. The small hilltop town boasts one of the oldest festivals in Italy, il Maggio di Accettura.
Some say the Maggio, or May Festival, predates the classical era by at least a millennia. Others, because of its similarities with the Germanic Maypole, claim the Lombards introduced it. Whatever its origins, like many other holidays, the ancient fertility rite has been repurposed for the Christian observance. In a medley of traditions, "The Marriage of Trees," as the ancient ritual is known, is now happily associated with Accettura's patron saint, San Giuliano di Sora and the celebration of Pentecost. Continue reading

May 21, 2019

Feast of the Madonna Della Fontana

Viva Maria!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
May 21st is the Feast Day of the Madonna della Fontana (Our Lady of the Fountain), patroness of Spilinga, a small town in the Vibo Valentia Province of Calabria. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer in Italian to Our Lady of the Fountain. The accompanying photo was taken at the outdoor chapel next to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey during the 2016 Feast of the Madonna della Fontana and St. Michael the Archangel.
Preghiera a Maria SS. Della Fontana    
O Vergine Maria, tesoriera di grazie, Voi che state rinchiusa in umile grotta, da cui concedete ai fedeli che vi invocano con fede e devozione moltissime grazie fate che noi non perdiamo mai la fede che ci fa sperare le più elette benedizioni dal Cielo e ci conforta in questa valle di lacrime.


Proteggeteci o Madre, affinché la mano del Pargoletto Gesù che Voi stringete fra le Vostre braccia si tenda verso di noi Vostri devoti per difenderci da tutti i pericoli della vita presente e così possiamo un giorno, sorretti dal Vostro potente patrocinio, cantare le Vostre glorie nel Regno dell'Amore. Così sia.

May 20, 2019

Photo of the Week: The Neapolitan Fisher Boy by Vincenzo Gemito

Il Pescatore by Vincenzo Gemito at the Museo Civico
in the Maschio Angioino, Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo