July 31, 2015

Bittersweet Move: The Translation of the Relic of San Vincenzo and Society Statues to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy, New York

(L-R) Craco Society members Phil Francavilla, and Joe and Mary Rinaldi, join San Rocco Society President Stephen LaRocca, and Project Manager of Most Precious Blood Church Bill Russo at St. Joseph's Church 
By Giovanni di Napoli 

Last Monday morning (July 27th) I joined members of the Craco Society and Saint Rocco Society of Potenza at St. Joseph's Church in Chinatown for the big move to Most Precious Blood Church in Manhattan’s historic Little Italy. Sadly, after nearly 90 years, St. Joseph's will be shutting its doors on August 1st as part of the latest wave of church closings

Thankfully, the societies made an agreement with the Archdiocese of New York to relocate the relic of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco and society statues (San Rocco and San Vincenzo) to Most Precious Blood. Naturally, we are very sad about the closing (we shared a lot of good times over the years and have some great memories), but we’re also extremely excited about our new home and optimistic our feasts will continue to grow in popularity. 

After seeing how much work needed to be done, I’m glad we decided to use Van Gogh Movers instead of moving everything ourselves (as I naively suggested). The crew was hardworking and professional, and did a fantastic job. Maybe if it was just the statues and relic we could have gotten the appropriate permits and carried them through the streets, but I didn’t realize how much other stuff (shirts, candles, banners, etc.) needed to be moved. 

Unfortunately, Most Precious Blood is half the size of St. Joseph’s, so available space was hard to come by. San Vincenzo will remain in storage in the choir loft until his new encasement by the altar is completed. The fate of St. Joseph’s other treasures remains uncertain.

After helping Steve set up San Rocco, I admittedly was a little choked up to see our glorious patron on display in his new home. I’m not sure if it will be permanent, but what a difference it is to see him in the light by the altar compared to the shadowy niche at the back of the church. It was a very gratifying experience, and I am proud to have been a part of it. 

I want to thank Bill Russo, Project Manager at Most Precious Blood Church, for his hard work and dedication. He was instrumental in the societies’ successful move. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome and support Bill and the Parish has given us. Special thanks to Stephen LaRocca, who has been a godsend to our community. Steve is an unsung hero who works tirelessly to maintain our southern Italian folkways and religious traditions, and when it comes to helping our community his importance cannot be overstated. I am blessed and honored to have him as a friend.
(Above and below) San Rocco is prepared for the move
A close-up of our beloved patron
The original 126-year-old San Rocco Society standard
San Rocco’s vacant niche
(left) The ornate reliquary of San Vincenzo Martire
(Right) A close-up of the first-class relic
A last look at San Vincenzo in his glass encasement at St. Joseph's
The relic and his accessories (sword, helmet, martyr's palm, etc.) are removed
The delicate 114-year-old statue is removed from the encasement
A rare view of the statue’s left side
A close-up of our beloved patron
San Vincenzo’s helmet and sword
It was sad to see San Vincenzo’s bare encasement
(Above & below) Alas, we may never see many of the other historic masterpieces again. (L-R) The Madonna delle Grazie & the Madonna della Stella
The apse mosaic depicting Christ Pantocrator and statues of the Holy Family
Steve and Bill with moving truck outside Most Precious Blood Church
San Rocco on display in Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo

July 29, 2015

A Look at the 105th Annual Feast of Saint Ann in Hoboken, New Jersey

Evviva Sant'Anna!
After Mass, Saint Ann is presented to the expectant crowd
A throng of revelers greet Saint Ann outside the church
Members of the Saint Ann's Guild
lead the procession through the neighborhood
A look at some of the neighborhood shrines devoted to Saint Ann
Our friends at Truglio's offered participants pizza, sandwiches and water
Members of the Saint Padre Pio Prayer group (left)
and San Rocco Society of Potenza (right) show their support
The gals from the Our Lady of the Snow Society joined the celebration
As always, it was great to see our buddies Marco, Frankie and Paul
Failla Memorial Home generously gave the participants sandwiches, ...
... pizza, and ...
... Italian Ices!
Father Nick cools off with some refreshing watermelon
The John Duke Band
Our friends from the Madonna Dei Martiri Society
offered everyone some delicious focaccia and cold water
San Giacomo greets Saint Ann outside the Monte San Giacomo Society Hall
Devotees pin donations on to the statue
and bring their children to be blessed by the saint
After a short break (and some delicious roast beef sandwiches, courtesy of the Monte San Giacomo society) the color guard are raring to go
San Giacomo joins the procession
Before returning to church, we stopped by the Santa Febronia Chapel to see the Madonna di Tindari and Santa Febronia, patroness of Patti, Sicily 
Back at church, San Giacomo and Sant'Anna are placed before the altar
Photos by New York Scugnizzo

July 26, 2015

Photo of the Week: The Horse Tamer

One of two equestrian statues outside the entrance to the gardens of the Royal Palace in Naples. The statues are copies of the Horse Tamers from St. Petersburg, Russia, and were a gift to King Ferdinand II of Naples from Czar Nicholas I during a state visit to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1846
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

July 23, 2015

Compra Sud — Ortobello Restaurant

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Ortobello Restaurant
6401 Bay Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11204
(718) 236-9810

* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

July 20, 2015

A Look at the Festa della Madonna del Carmelo

Scenes from the 2015 Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 
and San Paolino di Nola in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Viva Maria! Before Mass, the statue of the Blessed Mother is placed on a float with beautiful flower arrangements generously donated by devotees
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Viva San Paolino! Without a cloud in the sky, our beloved San Paolino di Nola stood sentinel over the fairgrounds high atop the giglio 
After Mass, devotees pinned donations on to the statue
Our pal Achille Pirro is raring to go
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio took part in the procession
(Above and below) During our three-hour procession through the neighborhood, we passed several festively decorated homes
It's always a pleasure to see our dear friends from the Our Lady of Snow Society
(Above and below) The procession passes Mount Carmel Triangle, a memorial for the original location of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
Back at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church,
Giglio Boys Jordan, Pat and Dom place flowers around the children's giglio
As always, Danny Vecchiano (left) and the Giglio Band did a fantastic job playing all our favorite festival songs
There was no shortage of delicious food to eat at the fairgrounds