April 30, 2016

Congratulations F.C. Crotone!

Photo courtesy of www.fccrotone.it
F.C. Crotone secured promotion to Serie A for the first time in its history Friday, drawing 1-1 at Modena. The Sharks (I Squali) are only the third club from Calabria to reach Italy's top flight. We wish them all the best and much success. Forza Crotone! 

April 28, 2016

Compra Sud — Peppino's Pizzeria Restaurant

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

Peppino's Pizzeria Restaurant
7708 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209


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

April 27, 2016

Evviva Maria! A Look at the 2016 Feast of the Madonna Della Misericordia in Brooklyn, New York

Evviva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
The sons and daughters of Fontanarosa gathered at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday to celebrate their patronal Feast of Maria SS. della Misericordia, or Our Lady of Mercy. Mass was celebrated in English and Italian with Msgr. Joseph Calise, who spoke at length about Pope Francis' Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and the importance of forgiveness.
After Mass, Our Lady was brought out to the expectant crowd with much fanfare. The statue was placed on a float and accompanied by a group of adorable children dressed as angels and Papal guards. Blessed with terrific weather, the procession sauntered through the neighborhood, stopping on occasion so parishioners could offer donations.
The festivities continued back in the church gymnasium, where we were treated to a magnificent luncheon with all our favorite southern Italian delicacies, including trippa alla napoletana and involtini di melanzane. In addition to the delicious food, partygoers enjoyed plenty of music, dancing and good company. The evening ended with a raffle drawing full of wonderful prizes.
I want to thank President Joe DiTalia and all the members of the Società di Maria SS. della Misericordia for their hard work and dedication to our community. Special thanks to Buffy Cipriano and her beautiful family for their warmth and hospitality. As always, they went above and beyond to make me feel welcome, and to my great surprise (and pleasure) they made me an honorary member of the society. I look forward to celebrating with them again next year. Evviva Maria!
The color guard were all smiles
During Mass, devotees present the crowns for the coronation
Msgr. Joseph Calise crowns the Madonna and Child with the triple diadem
After Mass, young men carry the statue to the float
Devotees pin donations on to the ribbons
At the head of the procession, young ladies carry the society banner
Members rally around the standard
President Joe DiTalia with members of the Board of Directors
The procession makes its way through the neighborhood
(Above & below) Young ladies collect donations & hand out prayer cards
Anthony's Italian American Marching Band
The procession returns to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
As always, the organizers did a fantastic job
The Papal Guard stood watch as the Blessed Mother was returned to the church
(Above & below) Revelers danced the tarantella
Guests enjoyed a sumptuous repast

April 24, 2016

Photo of the Week: Romanesque Bell Tower of the Duomo di Salerno

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of the 12th century bell tower of the Cattedrale di Salerno (Cathedral of San Matteo)

April 22, 2016

Ponderable Quote From "The History of the Italian Revolution, First Period: The Revolution of the Barricades (1796-1849)" by Patrick Keyes O'Clery

The Revolution, once triumphant in France, its leaders resolved to force it upon all Europe. They wished to repeat the triumph of Islam, and spread their new doctrines by the sword. First Belgium was over-run, revolutionized and plundered. Then almost simultaneously they poured into Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. To the Italian people they proclaimed that they had come as deliverers, to restore them their freedom. Piedmont was conquered, the Austrians were driven from the north, Genoa and Venice saw their ancient republics destroyed, the Pope was deprived of the Legations, and subjected to a fine of thirty million francs, with the object of embarrassing the temporal government. Every gallery of art in Italy was plundered for the museums of Paris, war contributions were levied on all sides; while Jacobin apostles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity organized the short-lived Ligurian, Cis-Alpine, Etrurian, and Parthenopean Republics. Yet it is quite certain that all this was accomplished by French generals and French political agents, without consent and against the will of the Italian people. The Revolutionists of Italy were a mere handful, compared to the whole nation.
* The History of the Italian Revolution, First Period: The Revolution of the Barricades (1796-1849) by Patrick Keyes O'Clery, Andesite Press, 2015, p. 74-75 [Originally published London: R. Washbourne, 1875]

April 20, 2016

Most Precious Blood Church Heritage Profile: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Maria SS. del Carmine 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
at Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Frank Tamburello

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a name associated with devotion to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus of Nazareth. Her veneration under this title is very widespread among the Italians of Southern Italy and Sicily. Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel was brought by Italian immigrants to the United States. Many churches are dedicated to her honor, and there is hardly an Italian Catholic church that does not bear her image. 
History of Our Lady of Mount Carmel 
Tradition suggests that a community of Jewish hermits lived at the top of Mount Carmel near Haifa in Israel, from the time of the Prophet Elijah (Elias) who according to the Scriptures, lived in a cave there. In the thirteenth century, the Christian order of the Carmelites was founded on Mount Carmel (although legend has it that the Prophet Elijah himself founded the order). The Prophet Elijah is considered the Patron Saint of the Carmelites, and a statue of Elijah defeating the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18) was erected near the monastery. Another tradition states that the order was founded by San Bertoldo of Calabria. 
Prefixed to the Carmelite Constitution of 1281 was the claim that from the time when Elijah and Elisha had dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, priests and prophets, both Jewish and Christian, had lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence adjacent to the site of the fountain of Elisha, in an uninterrupted succession. 
Various problems with the invading Muslims made the Carmelite brothers unable to live on Mt. Carmel in prayerful solitude. From about 1238, they began to move to Europe. Some went to Sicily, some to Naples. St. Louis, King of France, a Crusader, welcomed the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to his country. In 1242 the Carmelites arrived in England under the sponsorship of Richard De Grey and Richard of Cornwall. 
The Origin of the Scapular 
On July 16, 1251, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to an English Carmelite monk Simon Stock, and gave him the brown garment known today as the scapular, which has become associated with the Carmelite order. 
Byzantine Tradition 
The Byzantine icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, venerated at the monastery in Israel, was brought to Naples and enshrined in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine by the Carmelites who left the mountain. This icon is called in Italian “La Bruna” (the Dark One) because the smoke from years of devotional candles and incense darkened the features of the Madonna and Child. Thousands of Italian emigrants made vows to the Virgin of Mount Carmel to ensure safe passage from the Port of Naples to the New World at this basilica. 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in New York 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem
The Southern Italian immigrants, brought their devotion to the Virgin of Mount Carmel with them to the New World, especially to New York, where many of them contributed to the building of a shrine in her honor. In 1881 a beautiful church was dedicated to her on 115th St. in East Harlem, together with a traditional statue of the Madonna made in Italy and donated by a devotee from Salerno. 
Papal Coronation 
In 1904, Pope St. Pius X conferred the special privilege of solemn papal coronation upon the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a rare privilege granted only three times before in North America: Guadalupe, Mexico; Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada; and Prompt Succor, New Orleans, Louisiana. Pope St. Pius X contributed a large emerald of his own to the crowns of the Madonna and Child in New York. 
Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Most Precious Blood Church, NYC 
Document from church archives
Records at Most Precious Blood Church indicate a Mutual Aid Society under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel had been in existence at least since 1896, with a statue of the Madonna belonging to the Society venerated by members of the Italian congregation. In 1896 the original statue was removed from the church by the Society, and replaced with another. 
In 1975, another Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was founded by Brother Matthew Morreale under the pastorship of Father Marion Cascino. In October 1976, however, by general consensus of the Franciscan friary and Parochial Chapter, Most Precious Blood Church broke connections with the second Society. 
By 1977, the Society of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was housed in a basement apartment at 174 Elizabeth Street (near Spring St.), and from July 13 to July 16, 1978, sponsored its first annual Procession and Bazaar at Most Precious Blood Church under the pastorship of Rev. Adolph Giorda. 
There had always been a connection with the parishioners of Most Precious Blood Church and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Harlem. Groups of devoted women made vows to the Virgin for various intentions. They would walk barefoot from Little Italy to the Shrine on 115th Street, following traditional Italian devotional custom, on her feast day July 16, to fulfill their vows. 
Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood
113 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013

April 18, 2016

Photo of the Week: The Ghost Town of Craco

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of the abandoned town of Craco vecchio (old Craco) in Matera, Basilicata

April 13, 2016

Most Precious Blood Church Heritage Profile: The Healing Saints, Cosmas and Damian

I Santi Anargiri e Medici, SS. Cosma e Damiano
Saints Cosmas and Damian
at Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Frank Tamburello
Saints Cosmas and Damian, were martyrs and twin brothers. They distinguished themselves as physicians who took no fees for their services, and are often referred to as “The Moneyless Ones” (in Italian “Gli Anargiri.”) Cosmas and Damian were the twin sons of the widow Theodota, and along with their three brothers Anthimos, Leontios, and Eupropios, they were beheaded for their faith at Cyrus in Syria, and were buried there.   
Besides using their skills for the healing of diseases they sought to spread the Christian faith. After many tortures they died about 287 in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. The fame of their healing miracles spread over the whole world, and there are many churches, sanctuaries, and hospitals erected in their honor. They are usually portrayed as young men dressed in eastern garb with palm branches and other symbols of the medical profession, sometimes wearing the crowns of martyrdom.
There is great devotion to the “Santi Medici” in the various regions of Southern Italy and Sicily, among Catholics of both the Roman and Byzantine-Greek Rites. There are several famous celebrations in honor of the Doctor Saints. The most noted are in the towns of Bitonto, Riace, Alberobello, Sferracavallo, and San Cosmo Albanese. In the United States, the most famous is in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the Roman Rite their feast falls on the 26/27 of September, and in the Greek Rite, November 1. At Most Precious Blood Church, the Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian is celebrated on the first Sunday in October.
Saints Cosmas and Damian at Most Precious Blood Church   
During the Feast, the statues are
moved to the altar for veneration
Devotion to the Healing Saints, Cosmas and Damian at Most Precious Blood Church is intimately connected to the immigrants from San Cosmo Albanese, a town of seven or eight thousand people near Cosenza in Calabria. It is the original home of the founding parishioners, many of whom could trace their ancestry to the Byzantine Rite Christian refugees who fled Albania between the 15th and 18th centuries as a result of the Ottoman Empire's invasion of the Balkans and forced conversions to Islam.
In 1903, an immigrant parishioner by the name of Cosimo Seremba gave paintings of the saints to the Church, and raised enough money to purchase wooden statues from a Naples supplier. About a meter high, the statues of Saints Cosmas and Damian in Most Precious Blood Church are similar to those still venerated in San Cosmo Albanese. The Society of SS. Cosma e Damiano, plans the annual feast day Mass and Reception at Most Precious Blood Church in October under the guidance of George Minisci.

Shrine Church of Most Precious Blood
113 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013

April 11, 2016

Photo of the Week: The Town of Castelmezzano and the Lucanian Dolomites

Grazie mille Andrew Giordano for sharing your wonderful photo of Castelmezzano and the Dolomites in Potenza, Basilicata

New Music (April 2016)

New music that may be of interest to our readers

Terra Sangue Mare

Release Date: April 5, 2016
Audio CD: $20.00
Number of Discs: 1

Available at http://www.michelamusolino.com/store

For more info visit http://www.michelamusolino.com/home

Rhythms & Roots by Villa Palagonia

Release Date: March 13, 2016
Audio CD: $15.00
Number of Discs: 1

Available at http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/villapalagonia

For more info visit https://villa-palagonia.com

April 9, 2016

The Search for our Ancestry (XXIII)

Why Research Your Ancestors?
By Angelo Coniglio 
I’ll break from my review of on-line genealogy sites to discuss thoughts elicited by a fellow writer who has expounded on his lack of interest in the origins of his European ancestry.  He engagingly wrote “None of my ancestors ever looked back with anything like nostalgia. As far as they were concerned, it was ‘good riddance’ to the Old Country and the quaint customs of impressments, bonded servitude and nothing to eat.”  He continued: now, several generations removed from the terror of it, I still have no desire to seek my roots” and he finds “secret satisfaction in being the descendant of refugees who were nobodies.”
I share some of those feelings, but I must address a widespread misconception that genealogy is useful only if it results in the knowledge that one’s ancestors were rich, or noble, or famous, or all three.  If finding ‘famous ancestors’ is your sole reason for doing genealogical research, you are likely to be disappointed.  The great preponderance of souls who have inhabited this earth have been neither “members of the U.S. Senate, nor generals on horseback, nor millionaire entrepreneurs,” so don’t be surprised if you find none in your family tree.
Ancestral ‘celebrity searches’ can have an undesired effect.  As a novice researcher, you may go on-line and find ‘trees’ posted by others that purport not only to show your ancestors, but that one or more of your ancestral lines descends from a prince, a famous author, or other luminary.  You must ‘do your homework’ and corroborate each connection to the princely supposed ancestor, by confirming the sources of the information.  If you don’t, the presumed connection to glory is worthless. 
I was the ninth and last child of Sicilian immigrants who came to America over one hundred years ago.  My father was a laborer, my mother a housewife (what else would she be, with nine kids?)  I didn’t know it as a child, but my historical and genealogic studies have shown me that they lived in an impoverished land where the ruling classes intentionally and relentlessly excluded the common folk from education.  To survive, like most ordinary folk, they had to work at backbreaking labor in the fields or the sulfur mines.  Their rights were virtually nonexistent.   Women married as young as thirteen, to bear children every two years until their mid-forties, or later.  If a woman’s husband died young, she immediately had to remarry, to provide a father for her children; then she commenced having a child every other year with her second husband.
So, what had I to gain from researching the escapees from such a wretched life?  I gained the knowledge that my ancestors, and my wife’s as well, trace back to mid-1700s Sicily.  That my Coniglio ancestors back to my great-great-great-great grandfather were born in tiny Serradifalco (The Mountain of the Hawk), dead center in the island of Sicily.  I found that Gaetano Coniglio was not only the name of my eldest brother, but of four of my direct ancestors.  I learned that my father had more than the one brother that I had known of, and that ‘Pa’, like I, was a seventh son.  I learned that my father, and his father before him, worked in the fetid sulfur mines from before dawn ‘til after dusk.  And that as the near-caste system required, my father married the daughter of a sulfur miner.
My investigations revealed that on my mother’s side, one ancestor was an abandoned child, left in the town’s ‘foundling wheel’, who beat the overwhelming odds against such children and survived to marry, and to generate over six hundred descendants (that I know of).  I learned that none of the three hundred direct ancestors I have identified, of my wife or myself, before our own parents, could read or write.
So, even though my ancestors were ‘nobodies’, I’m glad to have found out about them and their lives.  I feel that not only their genes, but their experiences as well, have shaped me and my living relatives into what we are today.  I’m proud of their perseverance, and the fact that my family, which descended from such simple folk, continues to emulate their examples of strength and resolve.
Coniglio is the author of the book The Lady of the Wheel, inspired by his Sicilian research.  Order the paperback or the Kindle version at http://bit.ly/SicilianStory    
Coniglio’s web page at http://bit.ly/AFCGen has helpul hints on genealogic research.  If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at genealogytips@aol.com

April 6, 2016

Compra Sud — Song' e Napule Pizzeria

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

Song' e Napule Pizzeria
146 W Houston Street
New York, NY 10012





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

April 4, 2016

Photo of the Week: The Annunciation by Renato Rossi

The Annunciation by Renato Rossi, hand painted ceramic tiles on the facade of the Confraternity of Annunziata and Rosario (next door to the Chiesa San Giovanni) in Vietri sul Mare. Photo by New york Scugnizzo

April 3, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of San Francesco di Paola with Pizza and Paulaner

Pizza and beer are a match made in Heaven
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
What better way to celebrate the Feast of San Francesco di Paola then with some pizza and beer? For me it can’t be any beer, it has to be Paulaner, which by all accounts was first brewed in 1634 by monks from the Order of Minim. Named in honor of their founder, Paulaner is a corruption of Paola, the town in Calabria where San Francesco was born. As patron Saint of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, pizza seems like the obvious choice, but then again when is this beloved Neapolitan staple not the right choice? Evviva San Francesco! 
(L-R) My "Parthenope" bottle opener and a close up of the Paulaner label

April 1, 2016

New Books (April 2016)

Some new and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at Amazon.com

My Three Sicilies: Stories, Poems, and Histories by Joseph A. Amato

Publisher: Bordighera Press
Publication Date: February 5, 2016
Paperback: $17.00
Language: English
Pages: 198

Read description

The Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile, edited by Nancy L. Canepa

Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Paperback: $13.33
Language: English
Pages: 544

Read description

Nine Sicilian Plays by Luigi Capuana, translated by Santi Buscemi

Publisher: Edwin Mellen Press
Publication Date: February 15, 2016
Hardcover: $199.95
Language: English
Pages: 460

Read description

Click here to see more books