March 29, 2016

Via Crucis – The Way of the Cross 2016

Bensonhurst’s Good Friday Procession of the Dead Christ
A few early birds gather outside St. Bernadette's
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Thousands marched through the streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, this Good Friday (March 25th) in the annual Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, candlelight procession commemorating the Passion of Christ. Led by The Most Reverend Bishop Paul Sanchez, members of several Italian American societies and congregations participated, including Saint Athanasius, Saint Dominic, Regina Pacis, Saints Simon and Jude, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Saint Finbar, Saint Mary Mother of Jesus, Saint Bernadette and Saint Frances Cabrini.
Carrying banners, crosses, and statues of the Madonna Addolorata and the Dead Christ, devotees recited prayers and sang hymns during the nearly two-hour-long procession. Fortunately, we were blessed with terrific weather.
Rotating between the churches, this year Saint Mary Mother of Jesus had the honor of hosting the Benediction and prayer service. Bishop Sanchez concluded the outdoor ceremony in English and Italian with a solemn blessing with the Relic of the True Cross.
Before leaving, flowers from the statues were distributed among the women and children. We said our goodbyes and boarded our charted bus back to our parish.
I offer my heartfelt thanks to the organizers for a job well done. Special thanks to John Cordi and the Holy Name Society of Saint Bernadette for their hard work and dedication. As always, it was an honor to march with them.
Christ the Redeemer adorned with flowers
The Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows)
The Knights of Columbus served as Honor Guard
Devotees carry the statue of the Dead Christ through the neighborhood
Not far behind the Dead Christ, participants carry Our Lady of Sorrows
Members of the Italian-American Apostolate of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus Parish
Members of the Holy Name Society of Saint Bernadette
Members of St. Dominic's Church
Members of the St. Frances Cabrini Society of Brooklyn
Members of Gruppo Italiano Sant'Atanasio (G.I.S.A.)
Members of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Members of Santa Rosalia Regina Pacis
Red Mike Festival Band
Thousands gather outside St. Mary Mother of Jesus Church for the prayer service
Teaching the young our faith and traditions
Venerating our Lord and Savior

Grazie Easter Bunny!

The Easter Bunny must love me, he brought me Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, the debut CD Rhythms & Roots by Villa Palagonia (featuring Joe Ravo & Allison Scola), a Napoli fridge magnet, & Strega torrone!

March 28, 2016

Pasquetta – Little Easter 2016

In commemoration of the risen Christ's meeting (and subsequent dinner) with his disciples on the road to Emmaus, a small town outside Jerusalem, southern Italians celebrate Pasquetta, or Little Easter. Traditionally, family and friends would pack a lunch and take a short trip to the shore or countryside in remembrance of Christ’s journey. Because Easter Monday is not a national holiday here in the States and people have to work, its not always easy to organize a group outing. Nonetheless, I still try to keep the tradition whenever possible, even if it is by myself. Not letting the dreary weather deter me, I filled my picnic basket with a few Easter leftovers, some light reading material, and my sketchpad (in case inspiration strikes), and headed off to a dry, peaceful location to reflect on my many, many blessings. Buona Pasquetta!

March 27, 2016

Photo of the Week: Cristo Redentore di Maratea

Christ the Redeemer of Maratea on top of Monte San Biagio, Potenza, Basilicata. Standing 72 feet high, the Redeemer is one of the largest statues in Europe. Designed by Bruno Innocenti (1906-1996), it was completed in 1965.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Giordano

March 26, 2016

Holy Thursday Church Visitation and The Altar of Repose

The Altar of Repose inside the Shrine Church of St. Bernadette
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

After Holy Thursday’s evening Mass at the Shrine Church of Saint Bernadette in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, I joined some friends on their annual pilgrimage to venerate the Blessed Sacrament at Saint Francis Cabrini Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and Saint Finbar Church in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. 
Growing up, Church Visitation was not part of my family’s Holy Thursday tradition, but it remains a fairly common custom among practicing Italian Catholics. Needless to say, I was honored to be invited and jumped at the opportunity to partake in the edifying ritual.
Each church had its own beautifully decorated Altar of Repose, which in southern Italy represents the Holy Sepulcher, or Christ’s tomb. At each one, we made a donation, lit a few candles and said our prayers. In keeping with tradition, my friends also made offerings of potted wheat sprouts grown in the dark. Called sepulcru, the pallid plants symbolize life born in darkness and the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.
I’m extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate and experience something new. I look forward to doing it again next year and making the rite part of my own tradition.
The Altar of Repose inside St. Francis Cabrini Church
Pietà inside St. Francis Cabrini Church
The Altar of Repose inside St. Finbar

March 22, 2016

A Prayer for Brussels

St. Gudula, Patroness of Brussels, pray for us
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of the March 22nd Islamic State terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium. May Saint Joseph, Saint Michael, Saint Hubert, and Saint Gudula protect and watch over you.
A Prayer to St. Joseph, patron Saint of Belgium
Gracious St. Joseph, protect me and my family from all evil as you did the Holy Family. Kindly keep us ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Lady, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you. Amen.
Also see: Solidarité

Celebrating Our Seventh Anniversary

Highlights include (top) becoming a board member of the St. Rocco Society of Potenza in NYC; meeting the Royal Family of the Two Sicilies during the Investiture Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral; venerating the first class relic of St. George at Holy Innocents Church in NYC; (bottom) translating the statue and first class relic of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy, NYC; organizing our annual commemoration of the Battle of Bitonto; and carrying the statue of San Gennaro on his Feast Day in Little Italy, NYC 
Seven years ago today we launched our group blog, a collaborative effort between like-minded individuals passionate about the history, heritage, and culture of southern Italy and her diaspora communities. Warmly received, our readership continues to increase, as does our ambition to grow and improve. Over these years I’ve learned a lot, met so many interesting people (e.g. the Royal Family of the Two Sicilies), and made several new friends along the way. The experience has been very rewarding, much better than I could have ever imagined! Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this grand adventure of ours.
Name Change
To our readers who have inquired about the recent changes to our website, I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that our mission has stayed the same. We remain an information and opinion blog devoted to our ethnos. The reasons for the change were simple. The old name caused some confusion and unintentionally suggested we were affiliated with the Grécistes in France, which we are not. We also felt the new name was a little more apropos in respect of our target audience. As sticklers for accuracy have repeatedly told me, not all southern Italians are descended from Magna Greacia, but all are descended from il Regno. Obviously, no disrespect was meant to our Greek and Grécistes friends, who remain an important and valued source of inspiration to us and our cause.
Technical difficulties
Unfortunately, it seems after seven years I’m still not as web savvy as I would like to be. An unforeseen downside to changing names meant all our internal links were broken due to the new URL. We are painstakingly working on fixing this problem, but it’s taking longer than expected. We appreciate your patience during this process and apologize for any inconvenience.
Pray Pal
On a different note, we are now accepting donations in the form of prayers. If you like what we do and want us to continue doing it, please say a prayer for us. Your generosity and thoughtfulness are greatly appreciated.
Have a Blessed Holy Week and joyous Easter. Buona Pasqua!

March 21, 2016

Photo of the Week: Portal of the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of the Portal of the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, Napoli

March 18, 2016

Brief Excerpts From “Scholia To An Implicit Text” by Nicolás Gómez-Dávila

Rereading Nicolás Gómez-Dávila's (1913-1994) Scholia To An Implicit Text,* I felt compelled to share a few of his aphorisms, which he simply called sentences. Since I cannot reprint the entire book here, I settled on a few select quotes to give our readers a small taste of the profound thought and originality of this great reactionary thinker and writer. I highly recommend this book.
The reformers of society persist today in decorating the cabins of a sinking ship. (p. 83) 
Modern education yields intact minds into the hands of propaganda. (p. 87) 
Modern artists are so eager to be different from one another that such eagerness groups them into a single species. (p. 101) 
A leftist Catholic is right when he discovers in the bourgeois the rich of the parables, but lapses into error when he identifies the militant proletariat with the poor of the Gospel. (p. 113) 
To distract people while exploiting them, foolish despotisms choose circus fights, whereas sly despotisms prefer electoral contests. (p. 119) 
Progress is ultimately reduced to taking away from man what ennobles him in order to sell him cheap what debases him. (p. 137) 
Liberalism has not fought for the freedom of the press but for its irresponsibility. (p. 161) 
The illiterate were eliminated, only to multiply the ignorant. (p, 179) 
A reactionary does not long for the vain restoration of the past but for the unlikely breach between the future and this sordid present. (p. 183) 
The modern world shall not be punished. It is the punishment. (p. 195) 
Hierarchies are heavenly. In hell, all are equal. (p. 203)
Even though we are forced to yield to the stream of collective nonsense sweeping us along, let us not allow it to melt us into its mire. (p. 213) 
I do not belong to a perishing world. I prolong and transmit a deathless truth. (p. 223) 
Freedom is the right to be different—equality is its forbiddance (p. 263) 
The true reactionary is not a dreamer of bygone times but a hunter of sacred shadows upon the eternal hills. (p. 265)
And finally, just to poke a little fun at myself:
Who quotes an author shows that he was unable to assimilate him (p. 105)
* Scholia To An Implicit Text by Nicolás Gómez-Dávila, Bilingual Selected Edition, Villegas Editores, 2013 

March 16, 2016

A Look at the 2016 Festa di San Giuseppe in Paterson, New Jersey

Evviva San Giuseppe! 
Photos courtesy of Anthony Scillia
Thank you Tony for sharing your wonderful pictures of la Festa di San Giuseppe at St. Gerard Majella RC Church with us. It looked like a terrific day and everyone had a great time. 

Congratulations to our friends at the San Giuseppe Santa Croce Camerina Society for another successful feast. They do a great job preserving our cultural and religious traditions. Special thanks to the Knights of Columbus from the Joseph F. Lamb Council for their much appreciated support. Evviva San Giuseppe!
Check out the latest Tweets from Anthony Scillia at Tony Mangia (@TonyMangia) | Twitter or visit his personal blog At the Table with Tony or follow him on Instagram
The Joseph F. Lamb Assembly 4th Degree Color Corp
The Tony Neglia Band getting ready for the procession
The Santa Croce Camerina Society's Tavola di San Giuseppe
Our pal Tony looking sharp in his full
Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Color Corp Regalia
(Above and below) The auction of the Sicilian delicacies
on La Tavola di San Giuseppe was a huge success 
Delicious macaroni & meatballs for lunch
(Above and below) Zeppole di San Giuseppe

March 15, 2016

Celebrating Spring at the Second Annual La Primavera Vinni Concert with Rosa Tatuata and LassatilAbballari

Phil Passantino and Domenico Porco look on as Michela Musolino recalls the Myth of Persephone, Demeter and Hades
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Last Thursday (March 10th), the old gods were evoked at Father Demo Hall (25 Carmine Street, NYC) in celebration of the arrival of spring. Excited to shed their winter garb, revelers packed into the auditorium anticipating being whisked away to ancient Enna, the “navel” of Sicily, and site of Ceres’ Rock, the ruins of the old temple. Mother Nature did her part (perhaps a little too well), with temperatures soaring to an unseasonable 79 degrees. 
Festivities kicked off with Rosa Tatuata, an ensemble of extremely talented and versatile musicians, featuring vocalist Michela Musolino. Audience members were shown a few basic pizzica steps and encouraged to let loose. Cursed with two left feet, I was content to just sit back and watch the graceful young ladies lose themselves in the music and throes of dance.
Revelers danced with wild abandon
Naturally, with spring being the season of new beginnings, their set included many traditional songs from southern Italy about budding romances and courtship. The impressive setlist included many crowd favorites, such as Riturnella and Mamma vi l'haiu persu lu rispettu.

For their finale, Rosa Tatuata brought the house down with a fiery rendition of Renato Carosone’s ‘O Saraceno.
Charlie Rutan, Michael Delia and Michela Musolino
The night being young and the party just getting started, our musical journey continued with LassatilAbballari, a spirited folk group visiting from Palermo, Sicily, as part of the North American leg of their 2016 Danzando l’Europa (Dancing Europe) Tour. 
Entering the hall from behind the audience, their performance began with a couple of rousing songs from Galicia, Spain. Leading the troupe with his gaita gallega, the traditional pipes from Galicia, frontman Michele Piccione and the band took to the stage to thunderous applause. 
Multi-instrumentalists Barbara Crescimanno with frame drum and Michele Piccione with his gaita gallega
In addition to original tarantella compositions and songs from southern Italy, the band’s vast repertoire interestingly includes a wide range of traditional music and dance, spanning Europe from the Balkans to Ireland.
Charlie joins the ladies for a dance
Treated to a few soulful tunes from Spain and Bulgaria, I was struck by a haunting number from the British Isles meant to coax the wind to fill the sails of the fishing boats. Percussionist Barbara Crescimanno led the audience in a traditional chain dance, winding across the dance floor beneath the atmospheric string lights.
Michele with lute, guitarist Ciccio Piras and accordionist Marco Macaluso
True to their name, a composite of two Sicilian words that translates to “let them dance,” LassatilAbballari kept the music coming and the dance floor hopping. For nearly two hours the jovial quintet brought us back-and-forth from Sicily, Calabria and other far off lands.
The evening was a whirlwind of fun
For the grand finale, Rosa Tatuata joined them onstage and the dance floor for an exuberant Tammurriata, a traditional dance from Campania.
After the show, my friends and I decided to have a late dinner. Craving pizza, we took a short stroll from the Hall to our pal Ciro's pizzeria, Song' e Napule at 146 West Houston Street. Catching up with the maestro (and relishing a few of his signature pies) we talked about food, politics, calcio and, of course, the phenomenal show. 
Flautist Benedetto Basile and Barbara with sea shells
Unfortunately, do to our community’s mad dash to assimilation and cultural homogenization, it’s not everyday we get to experience authentic, traditional southern Italian music and dance. We are eternally grateful to the musicians who keep our cherished folkways alive. Special thanks is in order to Michela Musolino for her hard work and dedication. Her passion and tireless efforts to promote southern Italian culture is an inspiration to us all.
The celebration continued at Song' e Napule with our buddies Ciro, Marcantonio Pezzano and Andrew "Ciacci" Giordano of the Black Cats NYC