July 21, 2019

Feast of San Lorenzo da Brindisi

Viva San Lorenzo!
July 21st is the Feast Day of San Lorenzo da Brindisi, Apostolic Doctor of the Church. Born Giulio Cesare Russo (1559), he joined the Capuchins at the age of sixteen, taking the name Lorenzo. He excelled in theology and philosophy, and had a gift for languages, including Hebrew. Famous for his ecstatic sermons, his tears were often blotted up and used to cure the sick. While in Germany to establish Capuchin convents, Saint Lorenzo was made the chief chaplain of the Imperial Army. Crucifix in hand, he is credited with leading the severely outnumbered Christian forces to victory against the Ottoman Turks during the Battle of Székesfehérvár in Hungary (1601). An adept negotiator, the Popes often employed him in settling disputes between Christian Monarchs. Saint Lorenzo died in Lisbon on July 22, 1619 after the completion of his final diplomatic mission. At the behest of the people of Naples, he secured from King Philip III of Spain the dismissal of the oppressive Viceroy Don Pedro Téllez de Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in Honor of Saint Lawrence. The accompanying photo of The Glory of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi comes courtesy of Il Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali.
Prayer to Saint Lawrence
Lord, for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls gave Lawrence of Brindisi courage and right judgement. By prayers help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it. 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

Announcing the 81st Annual Saint Ippolito Festival in Leslie, Michigan


July 20, 2019

Feast of Sant’Elia Profeta

Viva Sant'Elia!
July 20th is the Feast Day of Sant’Elia Profeta (St. Elijah the Prophet), miracle worker and Father of the Carmelites. Patron saint of aviators he is the principle protector of Sant'Elia a Pianisi (CB), Buonabitacolo (SA), Maschito (PZ), Sperone (AV), and Peschici (FG), among others. In commemoration I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Elijah. The accompanying photo of Sant'Elia smiting the false prophets of Baal was taken at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church rectory in Newark, New Jersey.
Prayer to Saint Elijah 
O glorious St. Elijah, ever a mirror of sanctity and justice, while living in this valley of tears, obtain for us of God the grace to be your followers on earth, that we may one day be partakers with you in the everlasting glory in heaven. O great Patriarch of the Order of Mount Carmel, teacher of God's people and the defender of their Faith, disperse, we entreat you, the darkness of our intellect, obscured by our evil passions, and preserve in our hearts the Faith which is kept living by works of charity. O holy Patriarch of the Most high, taken into heaven in a chariot of fire, and who shall be the precursor of Christ, when He shall come in the splendor of his infinite majesty to judge the living and the dead, pray for us, that loving Him and sincerely serving Him on earth, we may have the great happiness of loving Him for all eternity in the blessed kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Feast of Santa Margherita di Antiochia

Evviva Santa Margherita! 
Photo courtesy of Marilena Giovanna
July 20th is the Feast of Saint Margaret of Antioch (Santa Margherita di Antiochia), virgin and martyr. She is the patroness of farmers, nurses and pregnant women. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, St. Margaret is invoked against infertility and for safe childbirth. In addition to the martyr’s palm, she is often depicted with a dragon. According to legend, the Devil in the guise of a great serpent appeared before Margaret to tempt and deceive her. Instead of succumbing to his treachery she simply made the sign of the cross and sent the fiend packing, recoiling in pain. Other versions of the story say she was swallowed whole by a dragon. Pressing her cross against the creature’s stomach she emerged unharmed, thus her association with pregnancies and labor. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Margaret. The accompanying photo was taken at the Parish of S. Margherita e S. Nicola del Pumpulo in Pastena, Salerno.
Prayer to Saint Margaret of Antioch
O God, grant us through the intercession of Thy holy virgin and martyr Margaret, undauntedly to confess the Faith, carefully to observe the chastity of our state of life, and to overcome the temptations of the world, the devil, and the flesh, and thereby escape the punishments of eternal damnation. Amen

July 17, 2019

Evviva Maria! Celebrating the 129th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Newark, New Jersey

Evviva Maria!
Sunday evening scores of devotees, including members of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, converged on the Ironbound District of Newark, New Jersey to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form was sung by newly ordained Fr. Damian Zahlocki, who was dutifully assisted by a slew of sacred ministers, altar servers, and the glorious parish schola.

Following the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, pilgrims processed the statue of Our Lady for a few hours through the working-class neighborhood. Accompanied by the Tony Neglia Festival Band, our cortège wended its way through the streets with great fanfare. Along the way, we were regularly greeted by spirited locals who generously offered participants cold water and refreshments.

Returning to the church, the statue (adorned with donations) was placed back on the beautifully decorated bye-altar. Fr. Damian concluded the ceremony with a benediction and the opportunity to venerate the relic of the Blessed Mother’s veil.

Adjourning to the rectory, guests were treated to a catered reception courtesy of the Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio, Chaplain of the Constantinian Order and Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
(L) The relic of the veil of the Blessed Mother. (L) The High Altar 
Dama Minervini & Cavs Napoli, Fratta, Gangone & Berardi with Fr. Zahlocki
After Mass, Our Lady is presented to the expectant crowd. Placed on a wagon, the statue was pulled through the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey 
The procession wends its way through the neighborhood 
(Above & below) Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian
Order of Saint George proudly served as honor guard
(Above & below) The procession stops so residents can offer donations 
(R) Along the procession route, devotees set up statues
and generously offer water to participants
(L) After the procession, the statue is returned to the bye-altar. (R) Standard of the defunct Our Lady of Mt. Carmel society of Waterville, New York
The Benediction
After the Benediction, devotees venerate the relic of the veil
Back at the rectory, Monsignor regales us with a few songs
Photos courtesy of Rosanna Minervini, Anthony Scillia and John Napoli

Feast of Santa Marina Vergine

Evviva Santa Marina!
July 17th is the Feast of Santa Marina, virgin of Bitinia (Bithynia). Widely venerated throughout southern Italy, she is the principal patroness of Filandari (VV), Polistena (RC), Casole Bruzio (CS), Ruggiano (LE), Santa Marina Salina (ME), Santa Marina di Milazzo (ME), and Cumia Inferiore (ME), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Santa Marina. The accompanying photo was taken at the 2014 Feast of Santa Marina in Inwood, Long Island.
Preghiera a Santa Marina
Salve, o Marina vergine
che avvinta al Redentore
soffristi il disonore
con tacito pudor.

Di santo ardore sfolgora
il nostro cuore triste
che per amor di Cristo
sopporti ognor dolor.

Pura innocente vergine
per gli altri penitenti
con la tua fiamma ardente
purgasti L'altrui error.

Sia gloria nell'empireo
al santo Genitore
al Figlio e all'Amore
in cielo, in terra ognor.

July 16, 2019

Celebrating the Feast of Santa Trofimena di Minori at the Sagra del Maiale in Bellmore, New York

The star of the show
Friends and family gathered at the Giordano family’s palatial homestead in Bellmore, Long Island Saturday afternoon for their highly anticipated Sagra del Maiale, or pig festival. The annual affair has been celebrated for some twenty years and after many invites, I finally got the opportunity to share in what turned out to be a remarkable day of fellowship, sunshine and a veritable smorgasbord of pork delicacies. 
Our gracious hosts, Alex and Andrew with a
heaping bowl of spring peas, prosciutto and onions
Chef Andrew and his phenomenal prosciutto-wrapped chicken livers 
Raffaele busted out a platter of delicious focaccia
Everybody loves Carmine's homemade mozzarella 
Freshly made mozzarella
The Constantinians broke out the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
A group shot with the fellas
The ladies showed us how it's done
Anna and Rosanna
The D'Ambrosio family relaxing by the pool
(Above & below) Festivities kicked off with several antipasti
Bruschetta topped with fresh ricotta, walnuts, basil and prosciutto
Lard bread
Assorted salumi 
Sweet and hot sopressata
Grilled vegetables  
Assorted pastries
After the wine and peaches, we enjoyed some
Vecchio Amaro del Capo and Jägermeister
(Above & below) After dinner and drinks, guests sang their hearts out  
Karaoke hooligans performing their favorite songs
A good time was had by all
The party ended with a little dancing and a big bonfire

Feast of the Madonna del Carmine

Viva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
July 16th is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Queen of Naples and Patroness of the Carmelite Order. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The accompanying photo of the miraculous statue of the Madonna del Carmine was taken at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem, New York.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Most blessed and immaculate Virgin, ornament and splendor of Mount Carmel, thou who regardest with particular goodness those who wear thy scapular, benignly look upon me also, and cover me with the mantle of thy maternal protection. Fortify my weakness with thy strength, illuminate the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, increase Faith, Hope and Charity within me, adorn my soul with such graces and virtues that it may be always precious to thee and thy divine Son; assist me in life, console me at the hour of death with thy most loving presence and present me to the most august Trinity as thy son and devout servant, to eternally praise and bless thee in heaven. Amen.

Photo of the Week: Madonna in Glory with Angels and Saints by Onofrio Avellino

Madonna in Glory with Angels and Saints by Onofrio Avellino,
Santuario della Madonna del Carmine, Sorrento
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

July 15, 2019

The Feast of Santa Rosalia (Il Festino)

Viva Santa Rosalia!
July 15th is the feast day of Santa Rosalia, patroness of Palermo, Sicily. The celebration recalls her intercession on behalf of the Palermitani and the lifting of the plague of 1625. Each year since the miracle, the relics of la Santuzza, or Little Saint, as her Sicilian devotees affectionately call her, are paraded through the crowded streets of Palermo on an ornate chariot. [She is also fêted on September 4th, her Liturgical feast day.]
According to tradition, Rosalia was born of noble birth in Palermo in 1130, the same year Roger II was crowned King of Sicily. Like most of the island’s inhabitants at the time, she was a Byzantine Rite (Greek Rite) Catholic. Renouncing her life of privilege and comfort the pious maiden devoted herself to prayer and solitude, living the ascetic life of a hermit in a remote cave on Mount Pellegrino, where she died in 1166. 
Centuries later, in 1625, a terrible plague broke out in Palermo causing much death and suffering. She appeared in a vision to a local hunter and revealed the location of her remains on the mountain. In a nearby cave the huntsman discovered her relics with an inscription on the wall that read: 
I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses, and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.
Carried in procession, Rosalia's relics were translated to Palermo. Three days later, on July 15th, the plague miraculously ended and the city was saved.
In celebration, I'm posting a prayer to Santa Rosalia. The accompanying photo of Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-stricken of Palermo by Flemish master Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Van Dyck was in Palermo during the plague and his paintings of the "Little Saint" were in great demand.
Prayer to Saint Rosalia
Father in heaven, we thank You for the communion of saints so that we can draw near to You through the prayers of St. Rosalia. Through her prayers help us to remember that our destiny is heaven. As St. Rosalia gave up all things in this world for the sake of Your Kingdom, through her prayers may we love more fully Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who together with You and the Holy Spirit are one God forever and ever. O God, our Father, mercifully look upon Your people who come to You and grant through the intercession of St. Rosalia, who turned away from earthly delights to the joys of contemplation, that we may be delivered from all harm here on earth and one day be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. St. Rosalia, confessor and virgin, we pray to God for our families and friends. Through your powerful prayers, may we obtain health, life, and eternal salvation. I also pray today for this special need and intention (make your intention known). O glorious virgin and confessor, St. Rosalia, I promise henceforth to remember and follow your example of faith and love. Pray for me and mine. Amen.