January 30, 2017

Photo of the Week: The Madonna Immaculate with God the Father, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Jerome

The Madonna Immaculate with God the Father, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Jerome by Severo Gerace (d. 1541), Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo, Napoli
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

January 24, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of Saint Agnes in Midtown Manhattan

San Michele Arcangelo smiting Satan
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
“What is needed is not a revolution in the opposite direction, but the opposite of a revolution.” — Joseph de Maistre
As thousands of demonstrators streamed past St. Agnes Church (143 East 43rd St.) to attend what they were calling a Women’s March in Midtown Manhattan Saturday morning, I joined my friends and 200 other pilgrims inside the beautiful house of worship for the patronal Feast of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. Solemn High Mass in the extraordinary form was celebrated by the Reverend William J. Elder, the Reverend Christopher M. Cullen and Mr. Daniel Maldonado. His Excellency, the Most Reverend John J. O’Hara was the homilist. Sacred music and hymns were masterly performed by Music Director Mr. Heitor Caballero and the Schola Cantorum of Saint Agnes.
HE, the Most Reverend John J. O’Hara
During Mass we prayed for our new president, the success for the upcoming March for Life Rally in D.C., and the misguided souls who would choose to silence it.

Afterward, I visited the various shrines to the saints and made my petitions and intercessory prayers for the sake of my ancestors and loved ones. I also asked San Michele Arcangelo, San Francesco d’Assisi, Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, et al. to aid us in our struggle against the forces of chaos and for the re-establishment of order.
Energized by the recent turn of events, my friends and I marched against the tide of humanity spilling out from Grand Central Terminal and found a relatively quiet spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and discuss upcoming events and future courses of action. Observing the tantrum taking place around us, we knew that we still have a long way to go before our civilization is put on the right path again. Let us rise to the challenge. 
Madonna and Child and a copy of Jusepe de Ribera's Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria (sans Santa Anna and San Giuseppe)
Sant'Agnese and San Francesco d’Assisi bearing stigmata

January 23, 2017

Photo of the WeeK: San Paolo by Ignazio Marabitti

San Paolo by Ignazio Marabitti, Duomo di Siracusa, Sicily
Photo by Niccolò Graffio

January 20, 2017

A Prayer for the Avalanche Victims in Farindola, Abruzzo

Sant'Emidio, prega per noi 
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Avalanche victims and their families in Farindola, Abruzzo. We are deeply saddened by the loss of life, the suffering and the destruction. May Sant'Emidio protect and watch over you.
Prayer to Saint Emygdius in Times of Earthquake and Calamities
Saint Emygdius, Bishop and Martyr of the faith, accept kindly the prayer that we confidently address to you. Intercede for us before the Lord so that, by imitating you, our faith, vivified by works, be a testimony of filial love for God and fraternal love for one’s neighbor. Encouraged by your example we promise to live with a heart detached from earthly goods and the willingness to sacrifice everything in order to remain faithful to God and the Church. Extend upon us, on our families and on our cities your protection, from the earthquake and from every other calamities or pestilence, so that preserved from them, we may lead a quiet and peaceful life dedicated at giving glory to God hoping to secure the salvation of our souls. Amen.

January 17, 2017

Photo of the Week: HM Ferdinando IV di Napoli, King of the Two Sicilies, at Montecassino

Ferdinando IV di Napoli, King of the Two Sicilies, Montecassino Abbey
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

January 14, 2017

Compra Sud — Peppino's Liquors & Wines

Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Peppino's Liquors & Wines
7723 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209



Also see: Compra Sud — Peppino's Pizzeria Restaurant

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

January 11, 2017

Celebrating the External Solemnity of the Epiphany at Our Lady of Peace Church in Gowanus, Brooklyn

The Nativity outside Our Lady of Peace Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
I made a long overdue pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Peace Church (522 Carroll St.) in Gowanus, Brooklyn, Sunday morning for the external solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Missa Cantata) was sung by celebrant and homilist Fr. Christopher Cullen, who was assisted by several attentive altar servers. 
Arriving early, the comforting smell of incense and reverent silence greeted me as I entered the serene house of worship from the cold and noisy streets. Settling in beneath the statue of Santa Lucia, I quietly recited the Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel and the prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas before Mass. 
With aspergillum in hand, Fr. Cullen began the Eucharistic Celebration by blessing the congregation with Epiphany water. The sacred hymns and traditional liturgical music performed by Schola Director and organist David Adam Smith and choir were uplifting and beautiful. 
After the recessional, I met several members of the congregation. They kindly introduced me to Fr. Cullen, who was warm and welcoming. 
The Our Lady of Peace Church is a magnificent place to celebrate our faith and, to the best of my knowledge, it is the only church in Brooklyn that offers weekly Tridentine Mass (every Sunday at 9:30), which is a vital part of our Catholic heritage and culture.
The snow covered statues of Sant'Antonio di Padova and the Madonna della Pace
A look at the pulpit and the beautifully decorated High Altar
After Mass, I petitioned Saints Cosma and Damiano
intercede on behalf of an ailing loved one

January 10, 2017

The Search for our Ancestry (XXXII)

The DNA Testing Community 
Angelo Coniglio
As more people participate in genealogical DNA testing, more potential relationships can be found. The fact that there are several venues may work at cross purposes to that goal, because you may have your DNA tested by one, while a long-lost cousin may have hers tested at another. In my case, one venue initially failed to extract enough ‘genetic material’ from a sample, while another had no problem doing so. One venue may offer comparison of health and medical-oriented genome characteristics, another might not. AncestryDNA doesn’t offer ‘chromosome mapping’ graphics, others do. One venue may be more understandable than another, or less expensive.
There are ways for users of diverse DNA testing venues to compare their results to those of subscribers to other venues. For example, in many cases, ‘raw genealogical data’ may be downloaded by a subscriber of 23andMe or AncestryDNA, and uploaded to FTdna for a cost that is less than FTdna’s basic testing cost. The genomes from the other venues can then be compared to those of FTdna subscribers, Ftdna’s ‘Surname Projects’ can be joined, etc.  
Another similar venue is the free site www.gedmatch.com (GEDmatch) which accepts raw data from other venues. Users provide their contact information, and give permission for their e-mail addresses to be posted. This is an advantage over 23andMe, for example, since correspondence can be made directly via e-mail, rather than by anonymous correspondence through the vendor. However, some participants who freely give their e-mail address still don’t respond to e-mails!
GEDmatch has more-detailed graphics (chromosome mapping) of DNA segment matches than does 23andMe. Like 23andMe, it allows you to set the ‘significant’ length of segments to be considered (7 centiMorgans (cM) is generally considered as significant), but through color-coding, it also shows shorter shared segments. GEDmatch allows ‘one-to-one’ and ‘one-to-many’ comparisons. The former are similar to comparisons on 23andMe, but with more detail in the graphs. The ‘one-to-many’ comparisons list all users who have a match of at least 7 cM, and include the length and number of matching segments, an e-mail address, the % of matching DNA, and the estimated number of generations to a common ancestor. 
Interestingly, some ‘relatives’ whose DNA I compared to mine on both 23andMe and GEDmatch show minor differences in results: a matching segment being 22 cM in one and 25 cM in the other; or a segment match in three chromosomes rather than in just two. Since the ‘raw data’ in both cases is identical, this seems to reflect differences in the software algorithms used by each venue. So some of the error in the analyses is not just ‘lab error’ in extracting genetic material from my saliva, but ‘computer error’ in the sense that two programs analyzed the same data and produced slightly different results.
One aspect of DNA testing the subscriber-provided ‘family tree’. Most venues allow participants to enter their own family trees into the system: 23andMe has a routine wherein you start with your own name and add ancestors on-line, until the tree is as complete as you want it; GEDmatch allows uploading of a family tree data file created by an off-line program; AncestryDNA links to your tree on Ancestry.com.
I had hestitated to upload my tree to a DNA testing site, for fear of ‘circular logic’ that would use my own research to ‘prove’ a DNA relationship.  I have found, though, that having DNA results ‘attached’ to a family tree helps ‘DNA relatives’ to determine which ones, of possibly hundreds of others, they should attempt to contact to expand their knowledge of family. This is not a recommendation, as users must decide for themselves which venue is best for them. In my case, AncestryDNA serves me best.  I am able to ‘attach’ my DNA results to my on-line family trree and also view the trees of my ‘DNA matches’.  AncestryDNA does not provide ‘chromosome mapping’, but that is easily achieved by uploading my data to the free GEDmatch, which allows many other valuable comparisons.
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 helpful 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

January 9, 2017

Photo of the Week: Equestrian Statue of HM King Ferdinando I di Borbone, Piazza del Plebiscito

Equestrian statue of HM Ferdinando I di Borbone, King of the Two Sicilies, by Antonio Canova (completed by Antonio Calì), Piazza del Plebiscito (Largo di Palazzo), Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

January 8, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Harlem

After Mass, Celebrants and Altar Servers pose for a photo
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
My Constantinian brethren and I joined scores of parishioners Friday evening for the Feast of the Epiphany at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem, New York (448 East 116th St.). Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form was sung by celebrant and homilist Reverend Marian Wierzchowski SAC, Deacon Fr. Christopher Salvatori SAC, and Subdeacon Roberto Barrientos. Mass concluded with an indoor Procession with the Christ Child and the blessing and distribution of Epiphany Water, chalk and frankincense.
Indoor procession with the Christ Child
(Above & below) The miraculous statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and the beautifully decorated High Altar
Back in the sacristy, Antoinette Scarpinato, Fr. Salvatori and
Cav. Charles Sant'Elia pose with the Christ Child
Before leaving, I had to thank San Vito
for graces received through his intercession
A look inside the magnificent church
Frankincense was blessed and distributed to the faithful
During our celebratory meal at Patsy's Pizzeria we exchanged Christmas gifts. I was very happy to receive a bottle of the famous Likos, Aglianico del Vulture, from Barile, Potenza. Charles shows off his new copy of The Diary of Queen Maria Carolina of Naples, 1781-1785, by Cinzia Recca, Palsgrave Macmillan, 2017

January 4, 2017

Celebrating the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

After Mass the faithful recited the Litany
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
I revisited my childhood neighborhood Monday afternoon for the titular Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at Holy Name of Jesus Church (245 Prospect Park West) in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. The Missa Cantata, or Sung Mass, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was celebrated by Rev. Seán Connolly of the Archdiocese of New York. We concluded the Mass by praying the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.
The high altar by James Renwick Jr., Architect 1881 (restored 2014)
Detail of the high altar with (l.-r.) St. Patrick, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Benedict, St. Boniface, St. Pope Gregory the Great and St. Augustine of Hippo
The crèche in front of the Altar of Sacrifice
The Renwick bye-altars to (l.) St. Joseph and (r.) the Virgin Mary
The organ in the choir loft with Rose Window in background
Afterward, my friends and I exchanged Christmas presents. I received David Adam Smith's new CD, Two-Part Motets. Anyone interested in this polyphonic treasure can purchase a copy at DASWorks.com. I highly recommend it

January 2, 2017

Photo of the Week: The Adoration of the Magi by Guglielmo Borremans

Adoration of the Magi (1707) by Guglielmo Borremans (Antwerp 1670-Palermo 1744), Napoli, Museo civico di Castel Nuovo (Photo by New York Scugnizzo)

New Books (January 2017)

Forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. Available at Amazon.com

Greek Monasticism in Southern Italy, 1000-1500 by Ines Angeli Murzaku and Barbara Crostini

Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: April 7, 2017
Hardcover: $149.95
Language: English
Pages: NA

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Secret Naples by Valerio Ceva Grimaldi and Maria Franchini

Publisher: Jonglez Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Paperback: $19.95
Language: English
Pages: 384

Read description

The Time Traveler's Guide to Sicily: History for Visitors by Louis Mendola

Publisher: Trinacria Editions LLC
Publication Date: August 6, 2017
Paperback: $34.00
Language: English
Pages: 370

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Click here to see more books

January 1, 2017

Happy Birthday Princess Maria Chiara!

HRH was born in Rome in 2005
Photo courtesy of Camilla di Borbone delle Due Sicilie
Happy Birthday Princess Maria Chiara of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess of Capri! May the coming year be filled with new discoveries of God’s love and goodness. Auguri!