March 26, 2017

Photo of the Week: The Annunciation by Andrea Malinconico, Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo

Annunciazione by Andrea Malinconico (Napoli 1624-1689), Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino), Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

March 24, 2017

A Prayer for Westminster

St. George pray for us
Relic at Holy Innocents Church, NYC
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the March 22nd terror attack in Westminster, London. May Saint George, Saint Paul and Saint Edward the Confessor protect and watch over you.

Prayer for Victims of Terrorism

Loving God, welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism. Comfort their families and all who grieve for them. Help us in our fear and uncertainty, and bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love. Strengthen all those who work for peace, and may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts. Amen.

Also see:
A Prayer for Berlin
Requiescat in Pace: Fr. Jacques Hamel
A Prayer for Nice
A Prayer for Brussels

March 23, 2017

A Look at the 2017 Missa Cantata for the Feast of St. Joseph and commemoration of HRH Prince don Ferdinando Maria di Borbone of the Two Sicilies

Evviva San Giuseppe!
Photos by Rosanna Minervini and New York Scugnizzo
Members of the Sacred Military Constatntinian Order of St. George joined 150 congregants at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, New Jersey Monday evening to celebrate the Missa Cantata for the Feast of St. Joseph and commemoration of the anniversary of the death of the Order’s late Grand Master, HRH Prince don Ferdinando Maria di Borbone of the Two Sicilies.
Our Late Grand Master
HRH Prince don Ferdinando Maria
di Borbone delle Due Sicilie
Mass was sung by celebrant and homilist Very Rev. Msgr. Cav. Joseph Ambrosio, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Chaplain of the Order. Monsignor was dutifully assisted by servers Lorenzo Tinio, Anthony Scillia, Brian Mcguire, Joseph T. Lucia, Mark Bertotti and Michael McDonald. Delegate Cav. John M. Viola and Chaplain Msgr. Cav. Christopher Hynes of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, with Fr. Danny Rodrigues of St. Cecilia’s Church in Kearny, New Jersey sat in choir. Chancellor Mayor Cav. Pasquale Menna, Vice-Chancellor Cav. Patrick O’Boyle, Cavalieri Anthony O’Boyle, Charles Sant’Elia, John Napoli and Vincent Gangone were in Attendance.
A stirring rendition of Franz Liszt’s Dominus Salvum fac Regem was performed by the choir in memory of HRH at which the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was dipped. This was followed by Giovanni Paisiello’s Inno al Re, the National Anthem of the Two Sicilies.
After Mass, guests adjourned to the rectory for some refreshments and fellowship. We were given a tour of the residence and a look at Monsignor’s awe-inspiring collection of relics and sacred art, including the upstairs workshop and the newly acquired statues of the Madonna dei Miracoli di Mussomeli and Maria Santissima di Constantinopoli. I feel especially blessed to have seen the private shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Pompeii and offered the opportunity to venerate the holy relics of San Gennaro and Blessed Bartolo Longo.
After Mass we joined the clergy and servers for a commemorative photo
Cavalieri Charles Sant’Elia, John Napoli and Vincent Gangone 
Vice-Chancellor Cav. Patrick O’Boyle, Cav. Gangone, Chancellor Mayor Cav. Pasquale Menna, Delegate Cav. John M. Viola, Cav. Napoli and Cav. Sant'Elia
Postulant Rosanna Minervini poses with the beautifully embroidered
flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Relics adorn the magnificent altar
Guests were treated to an impressive array of St. Joseph's zeppole and sfingi 
Eric, Rosanna and Vincent enjoying the festivities
Msgr. Ambrosio plays a few German and Spanish waltzes
Private altars for Our Lady of Pompeii and the Madonna Addolorata
Blessed Bartolo Longo relics
A couple of rescued artifacts from defunct Italian American organizations
The Madonna dei Miracoli di Mussomeli and Maria Santissima di Costantinopoli
in the workshop, ready to be restored

A Look at the 2017 Festa di San Giuseppe in Ridgewood, Queens

Evviva San Giuseppe!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Despite the frigid weather and icy streets, hundreds of devotees gathered at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Ridgewood, Queens Sunday (March 19th) afternoon to celebrate the annual Festa di San Giuseppe. 
Pilgrims brave the cold weather to venerate our beloved patron
(Above and below) Members of the Associazone Cattolica Italiana di Miraculous Medal carry San Giuseppe into the church and place him near the altar
(Above and below) After Mass, devotees pin donations on to the saint 
Departing Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
(Above and below) The procession makes its way down Bleecker Street 
San Giuseppe is returned to the Notre Dame Catholic Academy gymnasium behind the church for the benediction, refreshments and raffle
(Above and below) Revelers enjoying the festivities
Blessed bread was distributed to attendees
Italian language St. Joseph prayer cards were included with the loaves
Among the prizes raffled off were pane di San Giuseppe (above)
and a beautiful statue of the saint (below)

March 22, 2017

Il Regno Turns Eight

Fliers from previous events
Bearing in mind that I had no prior web experience or background in journalism, I never envisioned this enterprise would have lasted this long, and (for now) I can’t imagine not doing it. All things considered, I believe our first eight years have been productive and positive. For the most part we’ve been well received and the work has been quite enjoyable. I learned a lot, met many nice people and made new friends along the way. We appreciate your support and will continue our efforts to the best of our abilities.  
A Year in Review
We had a very productive year, to say the least. In addition to sponsoring Traditional Latin Masses for the Feasts of San Michele Arcangelo, Santa Lucia, Santi Simone and Giuda Taddeo, San Giovanni Apostolo and the Repose of the Soul of HM King Francesco II di Borbone, we organized a handful of small-scale celebrations for the Feasts of San Giacomo della Marca, San Martino di Tours, San Pio da Pietrelcina, the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the Madonna di Ripalta.
On top of all that, in May we held our Eighth Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration as part of our yearlong tricentennial celebration of the birth of HM King Carlo di Borbone. The intimate gathering continues to be a convivial fête of our rich Duosiciliani faith, culture and history.
Print version of Il Regno
Il Regno also went "old school" with the publication of a print version of our web journal. Although not very cost effective, the feedback was overwhelmingly favorable, so for at least one more year, we will continue circulating the pamphlets at select venues.
On a Personal Note
Personally, I had a very rewarding and gratifying year. First and foremost, I was invested into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George as a Cavaliere di Merito (Knight of Merit). The investiture was held on April 30th at Holy Innocents Church in New York City. Blown away by the whole experience, no words can describe how proud I feel about receiving this noble distinction. 
In July I was also invested with the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the 5th Annual Traditional Pilgrimage at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Harlem, New York. In what was an extraordinary day of fellowship and prayer, the spiritual retreat concluded with the solemn investiture, where I received my wool devotional and gained Our Lady’s promise of the Brown Scapular.

Private shrine with
first-class relic of St. Rocco
Most unexpectedly, I’ve been tasked with guardianship of the first-class relic of San Rocco, generously gifted to the St. Rocco Society of Potenza by the Very Rev. Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio. Until a permanent home in a church has been secured, I’ve been carrying out this enviable responsibility most dutifully with daily prayer and plenty of votive candles.
Furthermore, I had the great honor of carrying the statues of the Madonna Addolorata, Angelo Custode, Santa Rita, San Gennaro, San Giuseppe and San Rocco during their respective feasts and processions. I was especially touched to have been chosen to carry the Order’s labarum during the Mass for HM King Francesco II di Borbone.
Some of the other more memorable moments include venerating the relics of the True Cross, Sant’Elena di Laurino, San Vincenzo Pallotti, San Francesco d’Assisi, Sant’Antonio di Padova, San Gennaro, San Giuda Taddeo, San Vincenzo Martire and Santa Trofimena. 
Still Under Renovation
In an effort to clean up and streamline Il Regno, we’ve been working hard fixing or removing broken links, deleting redundant and extraneous material and re-editing certain entries. Due to the volume of material (well over 3,000 posts), this mammoth undertaking has been taking a lot longer than we anticipated. We are aiming to have everything updated and in order before the year’s end. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.
Upcoming Events
Clearly more than just an information and opinion blog, Il Regno has a lot of exciting things planned for the upcoming year. In conjunction with the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George we are sponsoring Traditional Latin Masses for the Madonna Addolorata (April 7th), San Francesco di Paola (April 29th) and San Michele Arcangelo (Sept. 29th). Plans for the 9th Annual Battle of Bitonto Commemoration, as well as a Classical Neapolitan guitar recital featuring the works of the great Mauro Giuliani, are in the works, so keep a lookout for these and other exciting events. Needless to say, we intend to continue our usual participation and support in as many southern Italian religious and cultural events as is humanly possible.
Pray Pal
Just a reminder, we are still accepting donations in the form of prayers. So 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.
Forza e Onore! — Cav. J. Napoli

March 21, 2017

Photo of the Week: San Michele Arcangelo by Francesco Laurana, Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo

San Michele Arcangelo by Francesco Laurana, Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino), Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

March 17, 2017

Compra Sud — Argenio Napoli

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

Argenio Napoli
P.IVA 06021680639 - Via Filangieri 15/E, 80100 (NA)



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

March 16, 2017

Friday Night Recap

V. We adore Thee, O Christ,
and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross,
Thou hast redeemed the world.
Last Friday was full of culturally rewarding and spiritually edifying activities, but since I've been bogged down with work, instead of posting multiple entries, I decided to share the highlights in just one post.
The Way of the Cross
I made my way to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy, New York, Friday evening to do the Stations of the Cross. Though the rite was part of the penance assigned to me by my confessor earlier in the week I admit it was no chore to perform, as the custom is already part of my Lenten rituals. 
Commemorating the Passion and death of our Lord, the practice originated after the Moslem conquest of Jerusalem made visiting the Holy Land and retracing the Via Dolorosa (Sorrowful Way) too dangerous for Christian pilgrims to make. 
Moving from station to station, I read the prayers composed by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, all the while reflecting on Christ’s most sorrowful Passion and His love for us. 
John T. La Barbera and Carlo Aonzo
Assunta Spina
After church, I met up with friends a few blocks away at the Italian American Museum (155 Mulberry St.) for the screening of Assunta Spina (1915) with live musical accompaniment by John T. La Barbera on guitar and Carlo Aonzo on mandolin.
An early example of cinematic realism, Assunta Spina is a silent movie based on Salvatore Di Giacomo’s novel, starring the great Francesca Bertini and shot on the streets of Naples. Since I don’t own a television set and watch everything on my computer, I was really looking forward to seeing it on the "big screen" again.
La Barbera’s newly composed score was masterly performed and superbly accentuated the story without ever overshadowing the film. Using ear pieces to keep tempo and following cue sheets, the transition from scene to scene and changes in dramatic sequences were virtually seamless. It was hard to believe that the musicians never performed together before.
Brigantesse show their true colors
Harking back to the days of storefront theaters, the experience brought back wonderful childhood memories of when my father use to show us old reel-to-reel movies projected onto sheets in our living room or backyard. Though, back then I was more interested in classic science fiction thrillers like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916) and The Lost World (1925) than Neapolitan dramas like Assunta Spina.
Following the performance, there was a short Q & A period where we learned that La Barbera is putting the finishing touches on another original score for Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant. Guests mingled, enjoyed some lite refreshments and had an opportunity to buy CDs and books.
Sporting Bourbon flair
E. Rossi & Co.
Departing the museum, we crossed Mulberry St. to E. Rossi & Co. (193 Grand St.) to say hi to our friend Ernie and pick up a few prayer cards, Napoli key chains, and some other nicknacks. 
Ernie belts out a few toons
Always a delight to talk to, Ernie reminded us about Patrizio Buanne’s upcoming concert “My Voice for San Padre Pio” in Atlantic City on March 17th and shared the recent New York Times “Character Study” written about him, Sustained by Saints and Song, This Little Italy Shopkeeper Hangs On.
As luck would have it, we were in for another musical treat. Before we left, Ernie grabbed his old guitar and regaled us with a couple of original tunes, including his sentimental ditty, Fa L’Amore Con Te.
A Late Night Repast
Fasting all day, my friends and I went to Margherita NYC, Pizzeria Napoletana (197 Grand St.) for a late night bite. Since we abstain from meat on Fridays our group shared a delicious pie with anchovies and capers. Paired with a bottle Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and some lighthearted conversation, the meal was a perfect ending to an all around enjoyable evening.
A Margherita NYC masterpiece

March 13, 2017

Photo of the Week: The Farnese Bull

The largest sculpture found from Greco-Roman antiquity, The Farnese Bull depicts the Punishment of Dirce by the sons of Antiope. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

March 10, 2017

The Search for our Ancestry (XXXIV)

Social Media and Genealogy
By Angelo Coniglio 
Genealogists of all stripes, especially ‘amateurs’ have long subscribed to the idea of ‘reciprocal acts of kindness’.  By ‘amateurs’ I am referring not necessarily to novice or inexperienced researchers, but simply to those who don’t accept payment for their services, many of whom are certainly experienced and ‘professional’ in all other respects.  The ‘acts of kindness’ might include, for example, taking a photo of a headstone for another researcher who is far away; visiting a records repository in a researcher’s ancestral town, and so on. 
In this internet age, another means of helping others (or receiving help) presents itself, in ‘social media’.  Two that I use are ‘Linked in’ and ‘facebook’.  Both  are free, unless “upgrades” are wanted.  I have used both for years, without needing to upgrade at an extra cost.
Like most sites, some users, and therefore some messages you receive, will involve suggestions for purchase of goods or services; however, I find that these offers are generally ‘low-key’ and no one is required to purchase anything they don’t want, or to join a ‘pushy’ group.  One can also ask other users to comment on the value or desirability of such services.  Members can post virtually any type of question or request, from translation of a single word to an entire document, to hints on how to start a family tree, to what software is best, to help in finding a specific ancestral record.  Both sites give only as much information about the user as he/she wants to release (in their “profiles”), and allow private messages between registered users without revealing names or e-addresses unless desired.
‘Linked in’ ( is essentially an on-line site that enables working professionals to interact, find employment (or potential employees), etc.  However, one need not be in any given profession to join, or be actively employed, nor necessarily be interested in the primary agenda of the site.  It has numerous “groups”, membership in which allows discussion on topics of interest.
Typical Linked in genealogy groups include: Books About Genealogy; Genealogy Research Group; Italian Genealogy; Sicily (Sicilia) Genealogy; International Society of Genetic Genealogy and many more.
‘facebook’ ( is the seminal, iconic, ‘social medium’.  Certainly much of the traffic on it is ordinary, mundane discussion of day-to-day lives, activities, interests and gripes.  But it, too, has valuable genealogy-oriented groups: Sicilian and Aeolian Islands Genealogy; Italian Genealogy Records; Genealogy! Just ask!; DNA Detectives; Ancestry-GEDmatch-FTDNA-23andMe-Genealogy-DNA and more, including groups specific to individual towns of origin; Valledolmo; Serradifalco, etc.
I have seen novice researchers ask on-line questions such as: “My grandparents (so-and-so and his wife, so-and-so) came to America in 1910, and I know nothing else about them.”  And within a few hours (or even minutes) such queries can receive responses from one or several users, on how to proceed with the research; in many cases, with details from census records, passenger manifests and ancestral towns that identify the immigrants, give extensive facts, and even include images of the desired records and/or links to the websites that contain the information. As noted, some responses may direct you to services for pay, but even these may serve your needs at a reasonable price.
So if you have a question about genealogy, or specifically about your Sicilian or Italian ancestors, be social!  Join Linked in or facebook and make some new friends who may be able to help you in your quest. Such interaction may also put you in touch with previously unknown family members researching the same lines in which you are interested.
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
Coniglio’s web page at has helpful hints on genealogical research. If you have genealogy questions, or would like him to lecture to your club or group, e-mail him at

March 9, 2017

When a Church Died and “la Madonna” Lost Her Home

Statue of the Madonna dei Miracoli of Mussomeli in her former home, the recently closed Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Garfield, NJ
Photos courtesy of Anthony Scillia
A Friend
“O VOS OMNES QUI TRANSITIS PER VIAM, ATTENDETE ET VIDETE. SI EST DOLOR SOCUT DOLOR MEUS.” "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any sorrow like my sorrow that was inflicted on me, (that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?). Lamentations 1:12
On July 1, 2016 the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Garfield, New Jersey, was merged with Our Lady of Mount Virgin and ceased to exist. Established in 1917 as a mission of Mount Virgin, in many ways one can say that “the mission came home” as a result of this merger. Unfortunately, due to declining attendance (300 families, of whom about 150 or so attended services), a shortage of priests (such as the resident curate who served since 1973 and passed away in December of 2015) and the rising costs of maintaining a building, it was placed in the care of the Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin. 
Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel, Garfield, NJ
The initial Italian community that built Mount Virgin was Neapolitan, originating from the area of Avellino, for whom the original parish “Madonna di Montevergine” was named. Sicilian immigrants working in silk and other textile and metal factories in nearby Passaic and Paterson quickly began to frequent these parishes and brought their devotions from Sicily. 
According to parish sources, the parish was financially solvent and even maintains the original chapel around the block from the new church. Prior to its official closure, it was used by the Syro-Malabar community before moving to Paterson. The Parish would have celebrated its 100th Anniversary this year, and still has a daily mass in the “old” chapel around the corner from the closed site. 
Stained glass windows of the Madonna dei Miracoli and Our Lady of Constantinopoli inside the Our Lady of Sorrows chapel
In the vestibule in the back of the Our Lady of Sorrows were two statues, the Madonna of Costantinopoli and the Madonna dei Miracoli. Initially it looked as though they were going to go to Mount Virgin, however, for one reason or another, no one seemed to want them in the church. It seems there were no more paesani interested in their history, and lest they be damaged or consigned to a dump, a kind priest offered them a new home. 
Monsignor Ambrosio and Michael
admire the craftsmanship and beauty
of the Madonna dei Miracoli
Monsignor Joseph Ambrosio was asked if he would take them, and of course he obliged the request. For a small sum, the statues now belong to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (259 Oliver St.) in Newark, New Jersey. They sit in each of the side chapels, surrounded by many other statues that needed a home at one point or another. They continue to stand as a living testament to the memory of so many of our ancestors from southern Italy, who came here with nothing, but made sure that they never forgot God, the Blessed Mother and the faith it took to get them through life.
The Madonna dei Miracoli is a massive statue, about a hundred years old, and is from the town of Mussomeli in the Province of Caltanissetta in Sicily. In the 1530’s a poor paralytic was crawling in search of alms. Tired, hungry and exploited by the feudal lords that had a powerful dominion in that area, he threw himself on the rocks out of exhaustion and fell asleep. When he awoke, the man found himself able to walk and move about. Shouting “Misericordia, miracolo!” (Mercy, miracle!) as he rushed to tell people of his grace, he found as evidence of Our Lady’s divine assistance her image painted on a rock, nearby where he slept. Here, it is said that Our Lady with her divine favor wanted to be honored, here in the town of Mussomeli.
Arriving at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newark, NJ. Eric, Angelo and Pat begin unloading the statues and bring them into their new home
Feasts for the Madonna dei Miracoli are celebrated in Buffalo, New York and London, England, where many Mussomelese and their descendants are today. Monsignor Ambrosio and a devotee are making plans to have a mass this coming September with the cooperation of the Mussomelese Society of Buffalo. 
The Madonna of Costantinopoli has her origins from about the time of the Assumption, when an apparition of the Blessed Mother appeared in Constantinople. There are several variations of the story in southern Italy.
One day in Lercara Friddi, Palermo a young girl, while playing in a thicket of weeds, discovered the image of the Virgin surrounded by four cherubim on a stone slab. The image is reminiscent of the Byzantine style Hodigitría or Odigitria, better known as “She who shows the way” (colei che ci insegna la via). Sicily, not only as an island but also as a devoted people, always had a special connection to their Greek ancestors. This devotion is celebrated on August 20th.
(L-R) The Madonna dei Miracoli of Mussomeli and
Maria Santissima di Costantinopoli in their new home
In the Province of Salerno there is also a Madonna of Costantinopoli, particularly in the towns of Agropoli and Felitto. In 1535 when the dreaded Ottoman Corsair Barbarossa was pillaging and destroying everything in his way, the Agropolesi hid the statue of the Madonna in a cave beneath a promontory. Years later, a gale cast the lost image out to sea, where it was discovered by fisherman praying for help during the storm. Returned to the mainland, it was immediately given a place of honor. 
There have been other documented miracles in Agropoli. For example, in the year 1913 when French troops were displaced by a storm and wanted to take refuge in the church of Our Lady of Costantinopoli the faithful protested that the church would be profaned by the usage of the soldiers. Miraculously, water began to seep and rise through the floor, forcing the French troops to leave in a hurry. It is said their commander apologized to the Madonna for the inconvenience before leaving.  
A close up of the Madonna dei Miracoli
Thus, on a brisk February day, these two statues quietly made their way from Garfield to Newark. The pastor, Monsignor Ambrosio, who is also the Vicar of the Italian Apostolate since 1989, made room for these two treasures where they could be venerated and honored once more. “It was a truly emotional experience to be part of helping to save both a Roman Catholic and Italian American treasure,” said Anthony Scillia. “Statues that may have been lost have been resurrected. Now is the time to give thanks for the translation of these beautiful statues. I know the Blessed Mother and Christ Child are smiling down lovingly.”
The statues are in need of some repair and can be visited in the church, which is open daily from 7:30am to 9:30am. On the weekend, church is open from 4:30pm to 8:30pm on Saturday and 7:30am to 1:30pm on Sunday. 
The lame man at the foot of the Madonna dei Miracoli