December 8, 2021

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary Immaculate, ora pro nobis
Deus, qui per immaculátam Virginis Conceptionem dignum Fílio tuo habitáculum præparásti: quæsumus; ut, qui ex morte ejúsdem Fílli tui prævísa, eam ab omni labe præservásti, nos quoque mundos ejus intercessióne ad te perveníre concédas. Per eúmdem Dóminum.
December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorating Our Lady being conceived free from the stain of original sin by virtue of the merits of her son Jesus Christ. A holy day of obligation, it is also the patronal feast day of these United States of America and the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to the Immaculate Conception in Latin and English. The accompanying photo of the gilt bronze and silver statue of Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (ca. 1680), probably after a model by Lorenzo Vaccaro, was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Buona Festa dell'Immacolata!
Prayer to the Immaculate Conception
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy dwelling for Thy Son, we beseech Thee that Thou, Who, by the death, forseen by Thee, of the same Thy Son, didst preserve her from all stain, wilt grant us also, by her intercession, to come to Thee pure in heart. Through the same.

December 7, 2021

Celebrating the Second Annual Sanfedisti Feast of San Nicola di Bari in Brooklyn, New York

A makeshift shrine to San Nicola with icon, statue, various prayer cards,
candles, and holy water was erected at the head of the table
After Holy Mass Sunday afternoon, members and friends of the Fratelli della Santa Fede (Brothers of the Holy Faith) gathered at Amunì Ristorante (7217 3rd Avenue) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to celebrate the 2nd Annual Sanfedisti Feast of San Nicola di Bari, patron saint of sailors, children and repentant thieves.

Heartfelt thanks to all who partook in the festivities and made our day of faith, food and fellowship in honor of the glorious wonderworker a huge success.

It was a great pleasure meeting our new friend Alexis from the Italian Mass Project of New York. Her passion for the faith and Italian culture is truly inspirational. We encourage everyone who is interested in maintaining our time-honored traditions to reach out to her and support this exciting new initiative.

We’d be remiss not to mention the generosity of Ernie Rossi at E. Rossi & Co. (193 Grand St.) in Manhattan. A true pillar of our community, Ernie kindly donated a statue of San Nicola and tombola set for the party.

Last but not least, special thanks to Chef Vincent Dardanello for warmly welcoming us into his cozy Sicilian restaurant and treating us to another phenomenal dinner. A true maestro, Vincent unfailingly goes above and beyond to make all our celebrations as special as possible.

As always, it was a tremendous honor and privilege to celebrate our faith and culture together. God Bless you all. Evviva San Nicola!

(R) Andrew and John. (L) Merry Partygoers enjoying the festivities
John and Maria
Fabio and Rosalia
Maria and Rita
Loreto and Tony
Maria and Anthony
Mixed seafood salad
Carciofi fritti
Rigatoni with pignoli, cauliflower and toasted breadcrumbs
Classic lasagna
Stuffed calamari
Milanesa de Pollo
Braciola di maiale al forno
Homemade cannoli with crushed pistachios
Babà Napoletano al rum
(Above & below) Raffle prizes included painted ceramic limoncello cups
Small decorative plates highlighting the grandeur of the Gulf of Naples
Scalloped plate honoring the Region of Calabria
Amunì ★★★★★
Una Vera Esperienza Siciliana
7217 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11209
718-833-7833 |

Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary Immaculate, ora pro nobis
Deus, qui Unigéniti tui Matrem ab origináli culpa in sua Conceptióne mirábiliter præservásti: da, quæsumus; et sua nos intercessióne munítos, corde mundos fácias suæ interésse festivtáti. Per eúmdem Dóminum.
December 7th is the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day of prayer, fasting and partial abstinence from meat in preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer in Latin and English. The accompanying photo of the gilt bronze and silver statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (ca. 1680), probably after a model by Lorenzo Vaccaro, was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Buona Festa dell'Immacolata!


O God, Who didst wondrously of Thine only-begotten Son from original sin in her own conception, grant, we beseech Thee that Thou mayest Mae us strengthened by her intercession, to keep her festival with clean hearts. Through the same.

Feast of Sant’Ambrogio

Sant'Ambrogio, ora pro nobis
Deus qui pópulo tuo ætérnæ salútis beátum Ambrosium minístrum tribuísti: præsta, quæsumas; ut, quem Doctórem vitæ habúimus in terris, intercessórem habére mereámur in cœlis. Per Dóminum.
December 7th is the Feast of Sant’Ambrogio (St. Ambrose), Confessor and Doctor of the Church. Protector of the Sicilian towns of Cerami in Enna and Buccheri in Siracusa, St. Ambrose is also, inter alia, the patron saint of bee keepers, candle makers and students. In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to St. Ambrose in Latin and English. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Michael's Church (29 Wooster Place) in New Haven, Connecticut. Evviva Sant'Ambrogio!
Prayer to St. Ambrose
O God, Who didst give blessed Ambrose to Thy people to be a minister of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him as our intercessor in heaven whom we have as a teacher of life on earth. Through our Lord.

December 6, 2021

Feast of San Nicola di Bari

San Nicola di Bari, ora pro nobis
December 6th is the Feast of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, patron saint of children and sailors. His generosity and love for young ones is the inspiration for the modern day Santa Claus. 
Born in the Lycian city of Patara in the third century, Saint Nicholas dedicated his life to God and served as Bishop of Myra until his death in 343 AD. Many miracles were attributed to him and his tomb became a popular destination for pilgrims. The Saint's bones also exuded manna, a clear liquid that was reputed to have miraculous healing properties. 
In 1087, after Myra fell under the control of the Seljuk Empire, Barese mariners spirited his relics back to Bari before they could be desecrated. The translation of his relics to the Basilica di San Nicola was cause for celebration and each May 9th, with great fanfare, the Barese reenact his arrival by taking a statue and icon of the Saint out to sea and back again. The miracle of the manna continues to this very day and holy water infused with the precious liquid is distributed to the faithful. 
In celebration, I'm posting A Prayer For Children. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Dominic RC Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. Evviva San Nicola di Bari!
A Prayer For Children
God, our Father, we pray that through the intercession of Saint Nicholas you will protect our children. Keep them safe from harm and help them grow and become worthy of Your sight.
Give them strength to keep their Faith in You, and to keep alive their joy in Your creation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

Photo of the Week: The Miraculous Icon of San Nicola at the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Puglia

The Miraculous icon was donated to the Basilica in 1327 by King Stefan Uroš III of Serbia, known as Dečanski. The images of the King, his son Stefan Dušan, and his second wife Theodora of Bulgaria are depicted in the lower corners
Photo by Andrew Giordano

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in East Harlem, New York

December 5, 2021

Feast of St. Nicholas at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in New York City

Anniversary of the Death of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil

2 December, 1825 — 5 December, 1891
In memory of Dom Pedro the Magnanimous, Second Emperor of Brazil, we pray for the happy repose of his soul. 

Eternal rest grant unto His Majesty, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Upcoming Tridentine Masses at The Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents in NYC (December 6th — 12th)

The Shrine & Parish Church of the Holy Innocents
128 West 37th Street, NYC 100018

• Monday, December 6th - St. Nicholas, Bishop & Confessor, 3rd Class - Low Mass, 6:00 p.m.


The close the Year of St. Joseph, a Triduum of prayer in his honor will be held on December 6, 7, and 8 following the 6:00 p.m. Mass.

The Triduum will take the place of the usual daily evening devotions. 
You are also encouraged to privately pray the 30 Days Prayers to St. Joseph beginning on Thursday, December 9 up to and including Friday, January 7, 2022. Prayer leaflets for this purpose are available near the bulletins in the rear of the church.

• Tuesday, December 7th - St. Ambrose, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor with Commemoration of Feria, 3rd Class, Low Mass, 6:00 p.m.

Advent Alert: On three Tuesdays of Advent (December 7, 14, 21), Father Peter Stravinskas will be leading us in a lectio divina, prayerful study of Sacred Scripture, of the relevant biblical passages dealing with the coming of the Messi- ah. The talks will follow the 6:00 p.m. Mass and will be held in the Parish Hall.

• Wednesday, December 8th - Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1st Class - Low Mass 8:00 a.m. and High Mass 6:00 p.m. Patronal Feast Day of the United States of America. Holy Day of Obligation

This year, Holy Innocents will publicly observe the Hour of Grace on Wednesday, December 8, from 12 noon until 1:00 p.m. in the Lower Church Hall! It will consist of the Recitation of Psalm 51 three times, the praying of a meditative Scriptural Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, a meditation upon the Passion, silent adoration, and benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Request of Our Heavenly Mother for the Hour of Grace:
1. To be started from 12 noon until 1 p.m. (one full hour of prayer);
2. During this hour the person making the Hour of Grace either at home or in a church must put away all distractions;
3. Begin the Hour of Grace by praying three times the 51st Psalm (below) with outstretched arms;
4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God, adoring the Sacred Host, meditating upon the Passion of Jesus, saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in your own way or by using favorite prayers, singing hymns, etc.

• Thursday, December 9th - Feria of Advent, 3rd Class - Low Mass, 6:00 p.m.

• Friday, December 10th - Feria of Advent with Commemoration of St. Melchiades, 3rd Class - Low Mass 6:00 p.m.

• Saturday, December 11th - St. Damasus, Pope & Doctor with Commemoration of Feria, 3rd Class - Low Mass, 1:00 p.m.

Young Adult Series hosted by Juventutem NYC

Sacred Art Conference in Honor of St. Nicholas 

"How lovely are Thy tabernacles!"

On Saturday, December 11th, 2021 at Holy Innocents.

1:00 PM --- Holy Mass
2:00 PM --- Conference begins in Parish Hall downstairs with a series of edifying talks by three Catholic scholars, followed by an Advent social with refreshments. Seven Italian Baroque paintings of St. Nicholas will be exhibited for private devotion.

All attendees must register by December 10th at


The war on Christmas has grown more intense lately. Some simply leave Christ out of Christmas. Others don’t care about it, and still others attack Him in ugly and blasphemous ways and even rent bill-boards with such blasphemous messages as: “Keep the merry dump the myth!”; “Make Christmas great again – skip Church!” and God is described as “sadistic” and Jesus as, “a useless savior.” Let’s respond with our own message of love for the Holy Family!

To counter the attacks from atheists against the Infant Jesus, Holy Innocents will hold a Christmas centered Public Rosary Rally on Saturday, December 11 to honor the Infant Jesus. The Rally will begin at 12 noon in front of Macy’s Department Store on Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets in Herald Square. It will conclude in time for the 1:00 p.m. Latin Mass. Restoring Christmas to America will help lead our nation back to God. And what better place to gather for this demonstration? We hope you will join us.

• Sunday, December 12th - Third “Gaudete” Sunday of Advent, 1st Class - Low Mass 9:00 a.m. and Chant Mass 10:30 a.m.

Source: December 5, 2021 Bulletin

Rorate Mass in New Brunswick, New Jersey

December 4, 2021

Feast of Santa Barbara Vergine e Martire

Santa Barbara, ora pro nobis
December 4th is the Feast of Santa Barbara of Nicomedia, Virgin and Martyr. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, she is invoked against lightning, fire and diseases. Patron saint of miners and artillerymen, she is also the principal patroness of Sommatino (CL), Paternò (CT), Gravà (CT), Tremestieri Etneo (CT), Castellana Sicula (PA), Villaggio Mosè (AG), Malò (ME), Francavilla di Sicilia (ME), Davoli (CZ), Amaroni (CZ), Salento (SA), and Corleto Monforte (SA), among others.

In celebration, I'm posting a prayer to St. Barbara. The accompanying photo was taken at the Museo del Duomo in Ravello. Evviva Santa Barbara!

Prayer to Saint Barbara

O God, Who didst adorn Thy holy virgin and martyr Barbara with extraordinary fortitude in the confession of the Faith, and didst console her in the most atrocious torments; grant us through her intercession perseverance in the fulfillment of Thy law and the grace of being fortified before our end with the holy sacraments, and of a happy death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Novena to Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia, ora pro nobis

Pray novena for nine consecutive days, December 4th to December 12th, in preparation of the Feast celebrated on December 13th.

O St. Lucy, you preferred to let your eyes be torn out instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul; and God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with another pair of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the protector against eye diseases. 

I come to you for you to protect my eyesight and to heal the illness in my eyes.

O St. Lucy, preserve the light of my eyes so that I may see the beauties of creation, the glow of the sun, the color of the flowers and the smile of children.

Preserve also the eyes of my soul, the faith, through which I can know my God, understand His teachings, recognize His love for me and never miss the road that leads me to where you, St. Lucy, can be found in the company of the angels and saints.

St. Lucy, protect my eyes and preserve my faith. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

O Glorious St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. 

Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most lovable Lord, save us from all infirmities of the eyes and the danger of losing them.

Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our life in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendor of the Celestial Homeland. Amen.

St. Lucy, pray for us and for the most needy, to Christ our Lord. Amen.

* The accompanying photo is an ex-voto for a grace received 

Lecture on the Crisis in the Church and Society and How Tradition Respond with Composer Mr. David J. Hughes at Holy Innocents Church, New York

December 3, 2021

Feast of San Francesco Saverio

San Francesco Saverio, ora pro nobis

December 3rd is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Jesuit Priest, Missionary, Mystic and Miracle Worker. Co-founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Francis Xavier is, inter alia, the patron saint of missionaries and Navarre, Spain. In celebration, I’m posting the Prayer of St. Francis Xavier for the Conversion of Infidels. The accompanying photo, courtesy of Anthony Scillia, was taken at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Evviva San Francesco Saverio!

Prayer of St. Francis Xavier for the Conversion of Infidels

Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that Thou alone didst create the souls of infidels, framing them to Thy Own image and likeness; behold, O Lord! how, to Thy dishonor, Hell is daily replenished with them. Remember, O Lord! Thy Only Son, Jesus Christ, Who suffered for them, most bountifully shedding His Precious Blood: suffer not, O Lord Thy Son and our Lord to be any longer despised by infidels; but rather, being appeased by the entreaties and prayers of the elect, the Saints, and of the Church, the most blessed spouse of Thy Son, vouchsafe to be mindful of Thy mercy, and forgetting their idolatry and infidelity, cause them also to know Him Whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord, Who is our health, life, and resurrection, through Whom we are freed and saved, to Whom be all glory forever. Amen

Neapolitan Music for Christmas

Looking for some last-minute stocking stuffer ideas? Wrap up your Christmas shopping with a culturally rewarding gift. I highly recommend these CDs featuring 17th and 18th century Christmas music from Naples.

Peppe Barra: La Cantata Dei Pastori

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Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Christmas I

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Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Christmas II

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Christmas in Naples

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All are available at

Annual Angel Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 23, 2021 – January 9, 2022

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, New York

Exhibition Overview

The Met continues a longstanding holiday tradition with the presentation of its Christmas tree. The magnificently lit, twenty-foot blue spruce looms over a vivid eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene, surrounded by an abundant array of lifelike figures with silk-robed angels hovering above. The scene describes in detail the Mediterranean harbor town's multicultural population.

The installation is set in front of the eighteenth-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall.

Please note: There are no tree-lighting ceremonies scheduled this year.

For more info visit

Upcoming Traditional Latin Masses at Most Holy Redeemer Church in New York City

December 2, 2021

Il Presepio Della Solidarietà at the Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere in Staten Island, NY

On Display from December 10th to January 9th

The 9/11 Solidarity Crèche

We are the proud custodians of this gift of friendship and solidarity from the Naples, Italy Chamber of Commerce to The New York City Fire Department in honor of the victims of 9/11 and the brave Firefighters, Police and EMS workers that made the ultimate sacrifice. 

You are invited to visit this magnificent 120+ piece nativity display and share the magic of the holiday season Italian Style. 

The Nativity Scene Cultural Program: Celebrating the Neapolitan Presepio, A Christmas Tradition in the Italian American Community by Anita Sanseverino & Lou Barrella

Tuesday, December 7th at 7:00 pm


Explore the origins of the Neapolitan Presepio tradition and its endurance by talented artisans who create this art form, both of old and of today. This lecture and video presentation will feature photos taken in the shops of Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in churches and homes throughout the metropolitan area. They portray a variety of expression that keeps the Presepio a vibrant symbol of Christmas.

The Italian Cultural Foundation at Casa Belvedere

Preserving the Past, Enriching the Future

79 Howard Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10301

T. 718-273-7660 • E.

Outdoor Rosary at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in East Harlem, New York

The Pipes of the Mezzogiorno

Zampogna at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
The bagpipes are an ancient instrument, dating back thousands of years; they're even mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 4:21). Here in America we normally associate the bagpipes with the Irish and Scottish, who have a long and storied tradition with this wonderful instrument. However, many Americans, even those of Italian ancestry, are unaware that Italy has an ancient bagpipe tradition of its own. Ironically, this tradition is not in the North where there was more Celtic influence, but rather in the South, with its ancient Hellenic heritage.

Each year, beginning at the feast of the Immaculate Conception right through the Christmas season, peasant musicians, called pifferari e zampognari (fifers and pipers), make their way from town to town playing traditional songs. The pifferari e zampognari are so much a part of the Christmas tradition in Southern Italy that they have become customary characters, almost as obligatory as the Magi, in the elaborate Neapolitan presepio or Nativity scene (another venerable Southern Italian folk art dedicated to the Christmas season).
Pifferari e zampognari with the
Holy Family by Susy Gatto
While the zampognari may not be as well known outside the Mezzogiorno as say the canzone napoletana (Neapolitan song) or the percussion-based tammurriata, it is still an important part of Southern Italy's vast and impressive musical heritage. The unmistakable sound of the zampogna, as the instrument is known, fills the air bringing great joy to the Christmas celebration. This is best described by Jeff Matthews at Around Naples Encyclopedia:
"...Just as the songs of carolers on a snowy evening mean something to me, the zampogna and ciaramella [a double-reed oboe-like instrument] mean the same thing to a Neapolitan – a beauteous mixture of home, warmth, family and love, and like beauty, it is very difficult to describe, but when it happens, you know. The circumstances have to be just right: walking alone on a crisp December evening, caught up in a moment of childhood melancholy, when the cutting sound of the zampogna sweeps over you like a flash of light and you see the two pastoral figures playing music in the streets, these shepherds that Christian tradition links so intimately to the birth of the Saviour; that one transcendent simple instant becomes timeless and it is Christmas, for the shepherds are standing there as if they had just stepped away from the side of the Child for a moment to go and spread good tidings."

~ Giovanni di Napoli, Buon Natale! 

(L-R) Pifferari e zampognari by Antonio Caruso
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Further reading:
Zampogna (Neapolitan Bagpipes) by Jeff Matthews, Around Naples Encyclopedia
The Neapolitan Presepe by Jeff Matthews, Around Naples Encyclopedia
Zampogna and Zampognari, Made in South Italy Today

Advent: Day of Recollection with Fr. John A. Perricone in Bayside, New York

December 1, 2021

December by Michele Sovente

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Reprinted from Dialect Poetry of Southern Italy: Texts and Criticism (A Trilingual Anthology) edited by Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 1997, p.275.


Cora caruta ammiezo
'i ffoglie 'i dicembre
quanno addisegna 'u cielo
vie storte senza na ràreca.
Chello ca nun se rice
s' 'u pporta nu camje
ca 'ncoppa 'i pprete s' appenne.
Acqua moppeta rinto
'i ssajttelle, cu ttanta streppuni
e rrote carute, 'a faccia
'i ll' acqua nisciuno 'a sape.
'I ffoglie a dicembre addiventano
serpienti e liuni



A tail fallen among
December leaves
when the sky draws
crooked roads leading nowhere.
What isn't said
is taken away by a truck
scrambling up stony paths.
Water swirling
in the cesspits, with so many cores
and tires fallen in, no one
knows the face of the water.
The leaves in December become
snakes and lions.

(Translated by Luigi Bonaffini)