August 31, 2020

Photo of the Week: La Statua del Nilo in Naples

The Statue of the Nile in Naples, nicknamed Cuòrpo' e Napule,
or "the body of Naples." Photo by Andrew Giordano

August 30, 2020

Feast of the Holy Martyrs of Salerno (San Fortunato, San Gaio, and Sant'Ante)

Holy Martyrs of Salerno, orate pro nobis
August 30th is the Feast of the Holy Martyrs of Salerno, San Fortunato, San Gaio (Gaius), and Sant’Ante. Little is actually known about the Saints, except that they were beheaded for their faith during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian (303-310). Originally interred in a small chapel marking the spot of their execution near the mouth of the Irno river, the Salernitani were induced to move the Saints’ relics to safety behind the city’s walls to protect them from saracen raids in the first half of the tenth century. Enshrined inside the now demolished Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, they were translated again in 1081 to the Romanesque Duomo di Salerno and placed in a chapel dedicated to the Holy Martyrs.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to the Martyrs of Salerno in Italian. The accompanying photos, courtesy of Andrew Giordano, were taken at the Basilica Cattedrale SS. Matteo e Gregorio in Salerno 
during the 2019 Feast of San Matteo. The silver busts of the Holy Martyrs were made in 1680 by the great Neapolitan polymath, Giovan Domenico Vinaccia (1625-1695). Evviva San Fortunato, San Gaio, and Sant’Ante!

Preghiera a SS. Martiri Fortunato, Gaio e Ante

O nostri gloriosi Protettori, SS. Fortunato, Gaio e Ante, che pur di non abbandonare la fede nel Cristo, appresa dal presbitero salernitano S.Felice, preferiste insieme con lui affrontare il martirio, otteneteci dal Signore che la fede in Lui rifulga nella nostra vita pubblica e privata. Intercedete a che noi felici di essere stati chiamati alla fede, la rendiamo evidente in noi con l'obbedienza a quanto il Vangelo c'insegna. Pater, Ave, e Gloria

O santi nostri Patroni, illuminate le nostre menti! Fate che il vostro eroico esempio insegni a noi la coerenza nella nostra vita. Aiutateci ad essere cristiani con le opere, senza farci allettare dalle lusinghe del mondo. Che possiamo vivere, seguendo Gesù nell'amore del Padre e nell'essere d'esempio al nostro prossimo! Pater, Ave, e Gloria

O nostri celesti Patroni, che prima del martirio esortaste tutti ad abbandonare le dottrine false e bugiarde, pregate l'Altissimo, affinché un giorno, come voi foste nostri concittadini su questa terra, così noi possiamo divenire vostri concittadini nel cielo. Pater, Ave, e Gloria

Feast of Santa Rosa da Lima, the First Saint of the Americas

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggles increase. ~ St. Rose of Lima
August 30th is the feast of Santa Rosa da Lima (born Isabel Flores de Oliva), Virgin and Mystic. The first saint of the Americas, St. Rose is the patron saint of gardeners, florists, and embroiderers. She is also invoked against vanity, by those who are derided for their piety, and for the resolution of family quarrels. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Rose of Lima. The accompanying photo of the Madonna del Rosario with San Domenico and, I believe, Santa Rosa da Lima was taken at the Cappella Beata Vergine del Rosario in the Duomo di Ravello. The reason I think the figure in the painting is St. Rose and not St. Catherine of Siena is because her attribute, a garland of roses, sits beneath her, next to St. Dominic's emblem, the torch bearing "dog of the Lord." Also, while both saints are sometimes depicted with a crown of thorns, St. Catherine is often shown with the visible stigmata, which is absent from this painting. St. Rose, who had a strong devotion to St. Catherine, bore the invisible stigmata. If wrong, I'm sure they would forgive me. Santa Rosa da Lima, ora pro nobis.

Prayer to St. Rose of Lima

Loving God, Saint Rose was a mystic and visionary who received invisible stigmata, and yet she often suffered from the feeling that You were distant. Despite how lonely this felt, she persisted in believing that You were indeed with her all the time, and she continually prayed to grow stronger in her ability to trust You. I ask her to intercede for me when my feelings tell me You are not near, and to pray most powerfully for all those I know who are right now experiencing loneliness because they are unaware of how close You are to them. Open our hearts to the reality of Your intimacy. Saint Rose, pray for us. Amen.

Feast of the Madonna Della Luce

Ave Maria
The last Sunday in August is the Feast of Maria Santissima Della Luce (Our Lady of Light), Patroness of Palermiti, Calabria. In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to the Madonna della Luce in Italian, courtesy of the Madonna Della Luce Society of Hingham, Massachusetts. The accompanying photo was taken at Sacred Heart Italian Church in Boston, MA. In nearby Hingham, where large numbers of immigrants from Palermiti settled, the Feast is celebrated each Sunday before Labor Day. 
O Regina dei Martiri, Addolorata Maria, eccomi ai vostri piedi a supplicarvi del vostro patrocinio. O Madre pietosissima, non respingete la mia preghiera, non guardate i miei peccati che piango ai vostri piedi. Io sono indegno dei vostri benefici, ma la bontà vostra, che non ha limiti, mi dà speranza e, Madre vi chiamo, Madre tenerissima e potentissima Regina. Molte lacrime avete asciugate, molti dolori addolciti in virtù dei crudelissimi dolori vostri, in essi dunque ripongo la mia fiducia. Per questi dolori, lenite le mie pene ed impetratemi dal vostro divin Figliuolo Gesù la grazia particolare che qui prostrato vi domando... e di poter meritare una corona di gloria immortale nel S. Paradiso. Amen.

August 29, 2020

The Passion of San Giovanni Battista

San Giovanni, ora pro nobis
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Sancti Joánnis Baptístæ Præcursóris, et Mártyris tui quæsumus, Dómine, veneránda festívitas salutáris auxílii nobis præstet efféctum: Qui vivis.*
August 29th is the Feast of the Passion of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), Prophet and Martyr. Beheaded circa 28 AD by Herod the Tetrarch, Saint John’s relics were entombed by his disciples in Samaria. [An alternative tradition says his head was buried on Mount Olive near Jerusalem.] Desecrated by pagans in 362 AD, the Saint's holy relics were recovered by monks and scattered throughout Christendom. Confirmed by a miracle, the venerable head was first found some three hundred years later and brought to the city of Emesa in Syria. In time, Arian heretics moved the relic to a monastery in nearby Spelaion. Discovered again in 453 AD, the Saint's head was translated to Constantinople. Hidden again during the Iconoclast Controversy in the eighth century, the head was discovered for the third time in the city of Comana in Pontus and returned to the Imperial Capital in 857 AD. Today several church's claim to possess the skull, including the Amiens Cathedral in France. According to tradition, after the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) and the sacking of Constantinople, a portion of the Saint’s skull was moved to the Cathedral. Hidden by the Mayor of Amiens during the wanton destruction of the French Revolution (1789-1799), it was eventually returned in 1816. In addition to the Passion of St. John the Baptist, the Church commemorates his nativity on June 24th. Evviva San Giovanni! 
In celebration, I’m posting the Collect of the Day. The accompanying photo was taken in the Madonna Incoronata Chapel inside Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Pontifical Shrine in East Harlem, New York.
Collect of the Day 
O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
* May the august festival of St. John the Baptist, Thy precursor and martyr, we beseech Thee, O Lord, effect for us the furtherance of our salvation. Who Livest.

Announcing the 2020 Celebration of San Pio and Memorial Mass in Dover Plains, New York

August 28, 2020

Feast of Sant’Agostino di Ippona

Sant'Agostino, ora pro nobis
Adésto supplicatiónibus nostris, omnípotens Deus: et, quibus fidúciam sperándæ pietátis indúlges, intercedénte beáto Augustíno, Confessóre tuo atque Pontifice, consuétæ misericórdiæ tribune benignus efféctum. Per Dóminum.
August 28th is the Feast of Sant’Agostino di Ippona (St. Augustine of Hippo), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. A Romanized Berber from the Province of Numidia, he received a Christian education from his mother, Santa Monica. Converting from a life of sin, St. Augustine became one of the great theologians of the Church. Thus he is the patron saint of theologians and printers. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Augustine in Latin and English. The accompanying photo is my prayer card.

Prayer to St. Augustine

Give ear to our prayers, O almighty God, and, by the intercession of blessed Augustine, Thy confessor and bishop, graciously grant the effect of Thine accustomed mercy to those in whom Thou dost encourage a strong trust in the kindness which is their hope. Through our Lord.

Announcing the 101st Feast of Saint Anthony and Saint Lucy in Boston, Massachusetts (An Online Celebration)

August 27, 2020

Feast of San Baccolo di Sorrento

San Baccolo di Sorrento, ora pro nobis
August 27th is the Feast of San Baccolo di Sorrento (St. Baculus), Bishop and Confessor. Though shrouded in mystery, we know San Baccolo was a seventh century Sorrentine nobleman who renounced his family’s wealth and privilege to devote his life to God. One of the many co-patrons of Naples, the great Saint is also the patron of Sorrento and venerated as a bishop. Originally buried in a city wall for protection, his relics were later enshrined beneath the altar in the Chiesa Santi Felice e Baccolo in Sorrento.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Baculus. The accompanying photo of a copy of Luca Giordano's The Patron Saints of Naples Adoring Christ on the Cross hangs above the Padre Pio confessional at the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania. St. Baculus is the shadowy figure standing behind the kneeling Santa Candida the Elder. Evviva San Baccolo!

Prayer to St. Baculus

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the examples of St. Baculus of Sorrento may effectually move us to reform our lives; that while we celebrate his festival, we may also imitate his actions. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Look upon our Weakness, almighty God, and since the burden of our own deeds weighs heavily upon us, may the glorious intercession of St. Baculus protect us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Feast of the Madonna Addolorata Del Romitello

Ave Maria!
August 27th is the Feast Day of the Madonna Addolorata del Romitello (Our Lady of Sorrows of Romitello), patroness of Borgetto, Sicily. The Feast recalls the Papal Coronation of the miraculous image on August 27, 1922. 

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. The accompanying photo was taken in 2014 at St. Luke’s Church in Whitestone, Queens when the sacred image was visiting New York from the Santuario Santa Maria Addolorata di Romitello, Sicily.

Prayer to Our Lady of Sorrows

I compassionate thee, O most sorrowful Mother! Thy heart was pierced with a sword of grief when Simeon foretold to thee in the Temple the ignominious death and the desolation of thy Divine and most dear Son, which thou west destined one day to witness. By the great anguish of thy suffering heart, O gracious Queen of the universe, impress upon my mind, in life and in death, the sacred Passion of Jesus and thine own sorrows. Amen.

Basilicata, Authentic Italy — Italian Cultural Evening with Karen Haid

Photos courtesy of Calabria: the Other Italy
Online Event

Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 6PM—7PM PDT

Continuing the long-running Discovering Italy series, Karen Haid, award-winning author of Calabria: The Other Italy, will give a presentation about Basilicata, a Southern Italian region of incredible diversity packed into the unassuming instep of the Italian boot. Basilicata is at the heart of South Italy, a land from which many of America, Canada and Australia's Italian immigrants originated and to which their ancestors can trace their roots.

Known for its magnificent natural beauty, rich culture and longstanding traditions, Basilicata maintains an old-world charm and authenticity into the 21st century. Karen has just finished writing the book, Basilicata: Authentic Italy, which captures the essence of this lesser-known Southern Italian region. She will share photos and stories from her experiences in the region and give a preview of her new book.

The event will be on Zoom on Thursday, September 3 at 6:00 pm PDT. Invite anyone you know who would be interested in this topic. A Zoom link will be provided closer to the time of the event to people who respond.

For more information visit

August 26, 2020

Feast of San Gianuario Martire

San Gianuario, ora pro nobis
Photo courtesy of Stephen La Rocca
August 26th is the Feast of San Gianuario (St. Januarius), Bishop of Carthage and Martyr. He is the principal patron of Marsico Nuovo, a town in the province of Potenza in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. 

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to San Gianuario Martire. The accompanying photo was taken at St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi Church (712 Montrose St.) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Evviva San Gianuario!
A Prayer to San Gianuario Martire
O Glorious San Gianuario, protector of Marsico Nuovo, you served God in humility and confidence on earth, now you enjoy His beatific vision in Heaven. Help me to strengthen my faith and protect me in conflict. Obtain for me the grace to live a holy life, so that one day I may join you in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen

Feast of Sant'Oronzo

Sant'Oronzo, ora pro nobis 
Photo courtesy of Lucrezia Nardulli
August 26th is the Feast of Sant'Oronzo di Lecce (St. Orontius of Lecce), Bishop and Martyr. Widely venerated in the Salento region of Apulia, Sant'Oronzo is the principal patron of Lecce (LE), Turi (BA) and Ostuni (BR). In celebration, I'm posting a prayer in Italian to Sant'Oronzo. The accompanying photo of sidewalk chalk drawing of the saint was taken during the 2015 Feast in Lecce. Evviva Sant'Oronzo!
Preghiera a Sant'Oronzo
Gloriosissimo e potentissimo Protettore di questa città, e di chiunque ricorre a Voi Sant’Oronzo, che tanto aveste a cuore la gloria del grande Iddio, e la salute del vostro popolo, sicchè per vedere quella aggrandita, e questa posta in sicuro, non curaste le persecuzioni, né le battiture, neppure l’istessa morte, io benedicendo l’altissimo Iddio, per avervi costituito per Apostolo di queste regioni, per primo cristiano, primo pastore e primo martire, per avervi data tanta possanza di tener lontano dai vostri devoti la peste, i tremuoti, la fame, i morbi e la morte, vi prego prostrato ginocchioni al vostro cospetto, di preservarci da tutti i divini flagelli, e d’impetrarci tutte quelle grazie che bisognano a render tranquilla la nostra vita. Ed in particolare vi prego io umilissimo vostro servo, e divoto del vostro nome che vi degnate, con quella di tanti popoli, di prendere ancora la protezione dell’anima mia, della mia roba, dei parenti, della famiglia ed amici, e specialmente concedetemi la grazia che vi chieggo, di cui vedete la necessità, il desiderio che ne tengo, e il fervore con cui ve ne prego.
(Qui si cerchi la grazia che si desidera) 
Ricordatevi, o grande Oronzo, che io son membro della vostra Chiesa, che amaste da sposa in terra, ed oggi proteggete da sopra i cieli, qual amatissimo sposo. Guardatemi qual pecorella di quella greggia, di cui ancora avete la cura, qual gloriosissimo pastore, ed infine come uno di quei figli che voi rigeneraste nella fede e che ancora amate da affettuosissimo pastore. Concedetemi quel tanto di cui vi prego, e fate vedere nella mia persona, e nelle mie cose, che ancora proteggete, e difendete dal cielo, come ci accertaste, tutti coloro che ricorrono alla vostra potentissima intercessione. Così sia.

August 25, 2020

Feast of St. Louis IX, King of France

St. Louis IX, ora pro nobis
August 25th is the Feast of St. Louis IX, King of France. Reigning from 1226 to 1270, St. Louis valiantly led two crusades to recover the Holy Land from the Mohammedans. A pious and munificent ruler, King Louis built hospitals, orphanages and libraries, as well as schools, churches and cathedrals throughout his kingdom. In addition to being a great patron of the arts, he was renowned for his many charitable works, including the feeding of the poor daily in his palace and washing their feet every Saturday. Sadly, he died of pestilence during the siege of Tunis, precipitately ending the Eighth Crusade. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Louis IX. I’m withholding the location of the statue to prevent vandalism and violence by the unhinged mob who have targeted the great saint (and others) during the iconoclastic tantrums allowed to run roughshod by cowardly and corrupt leaders across these United States in 2020. Vive le roi!

Prayer to St. Louis IX, King of France

O God, Who didst exalt blessed Louis Thy Confessor from an earthly realm to the glory of Thy Heavenly kingdom: grant, we pray Thee, that by his merits and intercession we may be made heirs of the King of Kings, Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen

Feast of Santa Patrizia di Costantinopoli

Santa Patrizia, ora pro nobis
My pocket plaque with third-class relic
August 25th is the feast of Santa Patrizia di Costantinopoli (St. Patricia of Constantinople), Virgin, Nun and co-patroness of Naples. Each year the faithful gather at the Chiesa di San Gregorio Armeno (Church of St. Gregory of Armenia) to venerate the saint and view the miraculous liquefaction of her coagulated blood. The church, believed to have been built on the site of the Roman Temple of Ceres by St. Helen of the Cross (c. 246-330 AD), underwent several significant renovations over the centuries and is the latest resting place of Santa Patrizia’s relics.

Interestingly, the popular legend of Santa Patrizia has become conflated with that of Siren Parthenope (the mythical founder of Naples) in what has been described as a Christian "refounding" of the city. In Virgil's Golden Egg and other Neapolitan Miracles (Transaction Publishers, 2011) Michael A. Ledeen writes:

The creative genius of Neapolitan chaos juxtaposes and merges the two female archetypes, and tosses in an element of ancient sorcery for piquancy. Both Parthenope and Saint Patrizia are virgins and have noble ancestry. Both have power to control natural elements. Both came from the East and died on the shores of the Gulf of Naples. Patrizia landed on the island of Megaride, where Virgil cast his saving spell on the Castel dell'Ovo, where the ancient Cumans built the first Neapolitan buildings, and where they believed Parthenope arrived, dead or dying. And in the seventeenth century, at the height of the Baroque, the body of Saint Patrizia was carried to a monastery atop the hill of Caponapoli, where, centuries earlier, the tomb of Parthenope was located. Patrizia was proclaimed a patron saint of Naples from Parthenope's old temple. (p. 38-39)
It should be noted that Parthenope herself is a synthesis of the ancient Greek myth about the deadly enchantress who failed to seduce Odysseus (Ulysses) and the charming medieval love story between Cimone and the chaste princess from Greece, whose "finite brow of a goddess" and "huge black eyes" were said to resemble the vigorous beauty of Juno and Minerva. The tale is eloquently retold in Matilde Serao's Leggende napoletane (Neapolitan legends).

Fontana della Sirena (Fountain of the Siren)
Piazza Sannazaro, Napoli
Although less known than the miracle of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius), the liquefaction of Santa Patrizia's blood is no less important. As John A. Marino pointed out in his Becoming Neapolitan (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011):
Saints bodies in life and after death were considered to have efficacious healing powers, and their blood was believed to be able to transmit grace and virtue, a symbolism that connected aristocratic values and noble blood to the religious fervor of saintly virtue. (p. 204-205) 
This ancient cult of the blood is peculiarly Neapolitan and still resonates with the devoted people of Naples today.

According to tradition, Santa Patrizia was born in the mid-seventh century. She was the niece of Emperor Constans II (630-668 AD) and was educated at the Imperial Court of Constantinople. Extremely pious, the Byzantine princess dedicated her life to God, taking a vow of celibacy. Ordained a nun, Patrizia was invested with the veil of virginity. Her father had other ideas and arranged for her to marry a powerful nobleman. With the help of Aglaia, her loyal maidservant, the young maiden fled to Rome seeking refuge from the unwanted nuptials.
Coat-of-Arms, Naples
An alternate tradition puts her birth around 340 AD and claims she was the niece of Constantine the Great (272-337 AD). Further complicating things, she is sometimes included in the story of the Emperor's visit to Naples in 324 AD. Caught in a storm, Constantine and his daughter Constance vowed to build a church if their endangered ship reached safely to port. In gratitude for answering their prayers they founded the Chiesa di San Giovanni Maggiore in honor of St. John and St. Lucy. As a side note, the gold and red coat-of-arms of Naples is said (by some) to originate from the standards used to welcome the Imperial family to the city.

In 668 AD Mezezius the usurper assassinated Constans II in Syracuse for attempting to relocate the Empire’s capital to Sicily. Learning of her uncle's murder Patrizia returned to Constantinople to renounce her temporal titles and worldly possessions. Distributing her inheritance to the poor, she inspired other noblewomen to do the same. Before returning to Rome she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, visiting many sacred sites. It is said she possessed a fragment of the True Cross and wore on her right sleeve a nail from the Crucifixion, which reportedly turned blood red every Good Friday. The sacred relics were passed down from St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine.

On her journey back to the Eternal City a violent storm shipwrecked her vessel off the coast of Megaride, an islet in the Bay of Naples. Patrizia and her retinue were given shelter by the island's monks, but after a brief stay in the Neapolitan Duchy the virgin grew ill and died. She was buried at Castrum Lucullanum, an old Roman villa converted into a Basilian monastery and site of the modern-day Castel dell'Ovo (Castle of the egg).

Castel dell'Ovo, Megaride
Legend has it that Patrizia visited Aglaia in a dream to reveal the site of a underground spring in the gardens of the Chiesa dei Santi Nicandro e Marciano (Church of Saints Nicandro and Marciano), an ancient house of worship believed to have been built on the temple and tomb of the siren Parthenope. A well was excavated, bringing much needed relief to the arid district. With the support of the grateful Duke of Naples, Aglaia and her retainers founded a monastery in honor of their mistress.

During the ninth century, fear of Saracen raids forced the Neapolitans to move the treasures of Megaride inland to safer locations. The train of oxen pulling Patrizia's hearse through the city streets instinctively stopped outside the Chiesa dei Santi Nicandro e Marciano and would go no further. It was decided she would be interred there. The monastery has since been commonly known as the Chiesa di Santa Patrizia (Church of Saint Patricia).

The miracle of the blood is said to be over twelve-hundred-years-old, but the oldest record of the phenomenon dates back 'only' to the sixteenth-century (1570). As the story goes, a sick nobleman was miraculously healed while praying at her shrine. Desiring a personal relic, the greedy pilgrim pulled a tooth from her skull causing blood to flow from the empty cavity. Collected in two ampullae the blood is said to liquefy on her feast day (August 25th) and every Tuesday morning. In 1626 she was declared a patron saint of Naples to help ward off calamities. In 1864, a few years after the conquest of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, her reliquary was translated to the Church of St. Gregory of Armenia after the convent church of Saint Patricia was closed down and confiscated by the new Italian government.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to Santa Patrizia in Italian. Evviva Santa Patrizia!

Preghiera a Santa Patrizia

O prodigiosa Vergine Santa Patrizia, mia avvocata e protettrice, che negli ultimi momenti della vostra vita otteneste da Gesù consiglio e divina protezione a tutti coloro che a voi si rivolgessero per aiuto, ottenetemi da Dio la salute dell’anima e del corpo, la vittoria sul Demonio e sulle passioni; allontanate le avversità che mi circondano, consolatemi nelle presenti tribolazioni. Ottenetemi il perdono dei peccati e l’ingresso nel regno del Cielo. Siate porto di salvezza ai naviganti e tutela alla nostra città. Diffondete speciale patrocinio sopra di me e su tutti i vostri devoti, affinché il nome santo di Dio sia benedetto, glorificato, esaltato e lodato da tutti nei secoli dei secoli. Così sia

~ Giovanni di Napoli, August 24th, Feast of Sant’Audeno (updated 2020)

Naples From Roman Town To City-State by Paul Arthur, The British School at Rome, 2002
Virgil's Golden Egg and other Neapolitan Miracles by Michael A. Ledeen, Transaction Publishers, 2011
Leggende napoletane (Neapolitan legends) by Matilde Serao (translated by Jo Di Martino), Lettere Italiane Guida, 2003
Becoming Neapolitan by John A. Marino, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011
The Cronica di Partenope by Samantha Kelly, Brill, 2011

Novena to Pope St. Pius X

San Pio X, ora pro nobis
Prayer by Fr. Lawrence Lovasik to be recited for nine consecutive days, August 25th — September 2nd (Feast on September 3rd)
Glorious Pontiff, Saint Pius the X, devoted servant of Our Lord and loving child of Mary, I invoke you as a saint in Heaven. I give myself to you that you may always be my father, my protector and my guide in the way of holiness and salvation. Aid me in observing the duties of my state in life. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life after your own example. 
Pope of the Blessed Sacrament, teach me to love Holy Mass and Holy Communion as the source of all grace and holiness and to receive this Sacrament as often as I can. Gentle father of the poor, help me to imitate your charity toward my fellowmen in word and deed. Consoler of the suffering, help me to bear my daily cross patiently and with perfect resignation to the will of God. Loving Shepherd of the flock of Christ obtain for me the grace of being a true child of Holy Mother Church. 
Saint Pius the X beloved Holy Father, I humbly implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I recommend to you in particular this favor… (mention your request) 
Great Pontiff, whom Holy Mother Church has raised to the honor of our altars and urged me to invoke and imitate as a Saint, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God’s Holy Will, my petition will be granted through your intercession for me at the throne of God. 
St. Pius the X pray for me and for those I love. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, do not abandon us in our needs. May we experience the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen 
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, 3 x each
* The accompanying photo was taken in the sacristy of the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in New York City.

August 24, 2020

Feast of Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret

Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret,
ora pro nobis
August 24th is the Feast of Santa Giovanna Antida Thouret (Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret), Virgin, Nun and Foundress of the Sisters of Charity. Born on November 27, 1765 in Sancey-le-Long, France, Santa Giovanna Antida was drawn to an austere religious life and entered the Vincentian Daughters of Charity at the age of 22. When the sisters were banned during the anti-religious repression of the French Revolution, she refused to renounce her vows and was severely beaten by the authorities. Forced into exile, Santa Giovanna Antida and a handful of religious fled to Switzerland, but due to anti-Catholic intolerance they moved on to the Kingdom of Prussia. When the persecution subsided, she returned to France in 1797 and founded a school for poor girls. Soon after, with the support of Napoleon’s mother, Letizia Ramolino, she founded the Sisters of Charity in Besançon. Despite papal recognition, the Archbishop of Besançon refused to approve the order, so in 1810 Santa Giovanna Antida and seven sisters moved south to the Kingdom of Naples and continued their charitable and apostolic works, caring for the sick, poor and infirm at the Hospital of the Incurable. She died in Naples on August 24, 1826 and is interred at the Chiesa di Santa Maria Regina Coeli.

In celebration, I’m posting a prayer in Italian to Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret. The accompanying photo was taken at the Reale Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro inside the Duomo di Napoli.

Prayer to Saint Jeanne-Antide Thouret

O Santissima Trinità, che regni in cielo, noi ti ringraziamo dei doni e delle grazie che hai concesse alla gloriosa Madre Santa Giovanna Antida, e ti preghiamo, per sua intercessione, di concederci la grazia che ti domandiamo. Concedici ancora di imitate le virtu di questa tua Serva fedele, la quale visse amando Te e beneficando il prossimo, e di fare nostra la preghiera che Ella ti indirizzava nei pericoli e nelle avversità della travagliata sua vita; Signore, tu vedi tutto, tu puoi tutto; io spero nella tua bonità e nella tua potenza; i tuoi voleri si compiano su di me per la mia santificazione. Amen.

Feast of San Bartolomeo

San Bartolomeo, ora pro nobis
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
August 24th is the Feast of San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew), Apostle and Martyr. He is the patron saint of tanners, plasterers, cheese merchants, and those who suffer from nervous tics and neurological diseases. Widely venerated across southern Italy he is the principal patron of Lampedusa (AG), Lipari (ME), Giarratana (RG), and San Bartolomeo in Galdo (BN), among others. In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to St. Bartholomew. The accompanying photo was taken at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Belleville New Jersey.

Prayer to St. Bartholomew

Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Feast of Sant'Audeno, Vescovo di Rouen

Sant'Audeno, ora pro nobis
August 24th is the Feast of Sant'Audeno (St. Ouen), Vescovo di Rouen. Patron saint of Serra di Pratola in Avellino, the cult of Sant'Audeno was introduced to Southern Italy by the Normans, who founded several churches in his honor, including the small sanctuary in Montaperto, Avellino; the Chiesa di Sant’Audeno in Aversa, Caserta; and the Apulian-Romanesque Church of Sant’Audeno in Bisceglie, Puglia. Built in 1074, the Church in Bisceglie is one of the oldest consecrated to the Frankish Bishop in Southern Italy. An architectural treasure, the church houses a small relic translated from Normandy.
Southern Italian devotion to Sant'Audeno was immortalized in the Miracula Sancti Audoeni, a collection of Saint Ouen’s miracles written after 1047 in Normandy. Included are stories of pilgrims from Andria and Monte Gargano in Apulia who visited the Saint’s shrine in Rouen and were miraculously cured of their ailments.
In celebration, I'm posting a Prayer to Sant'Audeno. The accompanying photo was taken at Our Lady of Good Council Church in Inwood, Long Island. Evviva Sant'Audeno!
Prayer to Sant'Audeno
God our Father, enable us who honor the memory of Sant'Audeno, archbishop and confessor, to share with him in the joy of eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

August 23, 2020

Photo of the Week: Roman Mosaic at the House of Neptune and Amphitrite

Roman Mosaic at the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, 1st century AD, Herculaneum. Photo by Andrew Giordano

Around the Web: Announcing My New Book, Basilicata: Authentic Italy

Photo courtesy of Calabria: the Other Italy
Reprinted from Calabria: the Other Italy

The day has come. Basilicata: Authentic Italy, my new book about the unassuming region in the instep of the Italian boot is available! Years of planning, in-person research (the best part!), writing and production elements, and then, the date sort of sneaks up on you.

Why Basilicata?

I set out to explore Basilicata with a purpose. After writing Calabria: The Other Italy, which grew out of several years living in the region in the toe of the boot, people asked me, “What’s next?” I thought and thought. Conventional publishing would have directed me to add to the shelves of books about Rome, Venice or Florence. That’s what sells, after all. But I wanted to continue my exploration of the lesser known, the underrated.

Basilicata is Calabria’s northern neighbor. They share Italy’s largest national park, the Pollino. I had been to Matera, the City of the Sassi, which I included in my Calabria book and which has gradually become a destination for in-the-know travelers to Southern Italy. But what about the rest of the region?

Before visiting, I looked at the map and reasoned that I should be able to more or less cover such a small region in a brief 150 pages. Then I began visiting the villages and the larger towns, going to festivals, meeting the people, sampling the cuisine and reading what was available. I realized that I had taken on a major project. Continue reading

August 22, 2020

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Ave Maria!
Omnípotens sempiterne Deus, qui in Corde beátæ Maríæ Virginis dignum Spíritus Sancti Habitáculum præparásti: concéde propítius ut ejúsdem immaculáti Cordis festivitátem devóta mente recoléntes, secúndum cortuum vívere valéamus. Per Dóminum unitáte ejúsdem.*
August 22nd is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our refuge and pathway to God. In celebration, I’m posting the Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Venerable Pope Pius XII. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Francis of Paola Church (219 Conselyea Street) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world. Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully. We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen.

* Almighty, everlasting God, who didst prepare in the Heart of the Virgin Mary a worthy dwelling-place for the Holy Ghost: mercifully grant that we, devoutly contemplating the festivity of the same immaculate Heart, may be enabled to live according to Thy heart. Through our union with the same.

New Book — Basilicata: Authentic Italy

Forthcoming title that may be of interest to our readers. Available at

Basilicata: Authentic Italy by Karen Haid

Publisher: Hiller Press
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Paperback: $17.95
Language: English
Pages: 249

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August 21, 2020

Feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Santa Giovanna Francesca
de Chantal, ora pro nobis
The peak of our perfection lies in our wanting what God wishes us to be. ~ St. Jane Frances de Chantal*
August 21st is the Feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal (b. Dijon, 1572—d. Moulins, 1641), foundress and first Mother Superior of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. Patron saint of the neglected and widows, she is also invoked by those who have trouble with their in-laws or grieving the loss of a parent. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Jane Frances de Chantal. The photo of the stained glass window was taken at Visitation Monastery (8902 Ridge Blvd.) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Saint Jane, you forgave the man who accidently shot and killed your husband. Help me learn to forgive a particular person in my life who has caused me harm. You know how difficult it is to forgive. Help me to take the steps you took to welcome this person back into my life in an appropriate way. Amen

* Spiritual Light from St. Jane de Chantal, edited and arranged by Embraced by God at DeSales Resources and Ministries, Inc. Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. DeSales Resource Center, 2019, p. 25

Malta Walks NYC Resume

MALTA WALKS on Tuesday, August 25th at 6:30PM: Now more than ever, the homeless population is most evident and in need of our generosity. We would like to invite volunteers to meet on the North East side of 34 Street and Park Avenue to distribute pre-made bags for the homeless. Pre-made bags will include sandwiches, hand sanitizer, toiletry kits, individually wrapped masks, snacks and water. 
Email to participate.😷

August 20, 2020

Feast of San Bernardo di Chiaravalle

San Bernardo, ora pro nobis
August 20th is the Feast Day of San Bernardo di Chiaravalle (St. Bernard of Clairvaux), Abbot and Doctor of the Church (1090-1153). Patron Saint of the Cistercian Order, he is also the patron of candlemakers and beekeepers. Founder of the Clairvaux Abbey, he wrote the Rule of the Knights Templar and In Praise of the New Knighthood, a treatise on the Order and the holy places of Jerusalem. He is also credited with writing the Memorare, a powerful prayer asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In celebration, I’m posting a Prayer to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The accompanying photo was taken in the courtyard of St. Bernard Church in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn.

Prayer to St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Heavenly Father, St. Bernard was filled with zeal for Your house and was a radiant light in Your Church. By his prayers may we be filled with his spirit of zeal and walk always as children of light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Novena to St. John the Baptist

San Giovanni, ora pro nobis
Recite the following prayer for nine consecutive days, August 20th – 28th (Feast Day August 29th)
O Glorious Saint John the Baptist, greatest prophet among those born of woman, although you were sanctified in your mother’s womb and did lead a most innocent life, nevertheless it was your will to retire into the wilderness, there to devote yourself to the practice of austerity and penance, obtain for me from your Lord the grace to be wholly detached, at least in my heart, from earthly goods, and to practice Christian mortification with interior recollection and with the spirit of holy prayer. 
O Most Zealous Apostle, who, without working any miracle on others, but solely by the example of your life of penance and the power of your word, did draw after you the multitudes, in order to dispose them to receive the Messiah worthily and to listen to his heavenly doctrine, grant that it may be given unto me, by means of your example of a holy life and the exercise of every good work, to bring many souls to God, but above all to those souls that are enveloped in the darkness of error and ignorance and are led astray by vice. 
O Martyr Invincible, who, for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, did with firmness and constancy withstand the impiety of Herod even at the cost of your own life, and did rebuke him openly for his wicked and dissolute life, by your prayers obtain for me a heart, brave and generous, in order that I may overcome all human respect and openly profess my faith in loyal obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. 
Pray for me, Saint John the Baptist, that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, specifically, (Mention Request) 
O God, who has made this day to be honorable in our eyes by the commemoration of blessed John the Baptist, grant unto your people the grace of spiritual joy, and direct the minds of all your faithful into the way of everlasting salvation. Amen.
* The accompanying photo was taken at the now-closed Saint Joseph’s Church (5 Monroe Street) in New York City. The statue is currently in storage at St. Anthony of Padua Church (155 Sullivan Street) in Greenwich Village, New York.

Sacred Image of Our Lady of Montevergine Installed at St. Frances Cabrini Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Our pal Tony Limone with the sacred image of Our Lady of Montevergine
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
In this time of pandemic we need many prayers and intercessors in our lives, our families and in our world. We make prayer and intercession to our Patroness, St. Frances Cabrini, as we pray each Wednesday in our novena prayers that honor her:
You aided the sick with goodness, look mercifully upon our suffering and promptly obtain the grace we confidently ask and remembering she traversed the earth to anoint others with inexhaustible charity, extend your help to us by hearing the prayer we devoutly entrust to your heart.
Another intercessor is the Virgin Mary who we pray to as the Mother of Good Health. We also have the image in our Church of Our Lady of Montevergine, who under this title is Patroness of the town of Avellino in Italy. A perpetual candle, lit by the statue by our parishioners, Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Limone, is for the intention to end the coronavirus. This is the prayer we offer to Our Lady of Montevergine for the health of our world:
O Blessed Virgin who have deemed worthy, centuries ago, to choose and consecrate Montevergine as your sanctuary, turn your eyes of mercy upon us kneeling at your feet, honoring you and invoking you in this Holy Image. 
O most loving Mother of all the faithful, be always for each one of us a true Mother as you have been until now; and obtain for us the grace to be always your true, loving, respectful and devout children. Hail Mary...

O Beneficent Treasure of divine graces, give us abundantly the favors we ask of you with confidence; you know well what are the many needs of our souls. Hail Mary... 
O most powerful Advocate of poor sinners, assist us in dangers, fortify us in temptations and guard us from all sins; and do not cease to intercede with your Divine Son for the salvation of our souls, until you have led us with you into Heaven. Hail Mary...
Source: St. Frances Cabrini Church
1562 86th Street
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY 11228

August 19, 2020

Celebrating the Feasts of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, San Gioacchino and San Rocco

Glorious San Rocco at the
Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents
Signum magnum appáruit in cælo: múlier amicta sole, et luna sub pédibus jus, et in cápite ejus coróna stellárum duódecim.(1)
Thanks to the Feasts of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, San Gioacchino and San Rocco, this past weekend felt semi-normal. After a long stretch without Masses or outdoor processions it was a great joy to finally get out and celebrate together as a community. As much as I love my peaceful, almost monastic, solitude, I always enjoy the company of my brethren and celebrating our faith and culture together.

Beginning Saturday morning at the Shrine Church of the Holy Innocents (128 West 37th St.) in Manhattan, members of the Fratelli della Santa Fede, or Brothers of the Holy Faith (Sanfedisti for short), gathered for the Tridentine Low Mass in Latin for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. Arriving early, we brought flowers and finished the ninth day of our novena to San Rocco di Montpellier, ascetic, pilgrim and wonderworker. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated by our Pastor Fr. James Miara.

After Mass, we lit candles and circled the nave to visit the various Saints and prayed for the intentions of family, friends and the poor and forgotten Souls in Purgatory. Anyone interested can send their prayer intentions to the Sanfedisti at and we will pray for the assistance you need.

Instead of eating at one of our usual spots, we tried Campania’s (9824 4th Ave.) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for our group luncheon. Sitting outside, in the shadow of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, we started off with a delicious mixed pot of sautéed clams and mussels in a spicy marinara sauce. Since it was a day of abstinence (Brown Scapular devotion), and they are known for their coal fired pizza, we had to try a couple of well-done vegetarian pies. Keeping it simple, we ordered the Melanzane and Margherita. Both were crispy and tasty, I'm glad we gave it a try. 
Mixed pot of sautéed clams and mussels in a spicy marinara sauce
* * *
Deus in loco sancto suo: Deus qui inhabitáre facit unánimes in domo: ipse dabit virtútem, et fortitúdinem plebi suæ. Psalm 67. 2 Exsúrgat Deus, et dissipéntur inimici ejus: et fúgiant, qui odérunt eum, a fácie ejus. Glória Patri. Deus in loco sancto suo.(2)
The Sanfedisti returned to Holy Innocents Sunday morning for the 9:00 am Tridentine Low Mass and the 10:30 am Tridentine High Mass for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost with commemoration to San Gioacchino and San Rocco. Fr. Miara was the Celebrant at both and offered the early Mass for San Gioacchino and Sant’Anna. Father blessed the congregation at both masses with the first-class relic of San Rocco.
The first class relic of San Rocco
Despite being in a hurry to make the San Rocco procession in Little Italy, we couldn’t leave without saying our prayers of reparation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the sacrilege committed against Our Lady during the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption at the Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta in Napoli. Apparently, in another misguided attempt at interfaith unity, they allowed the profaning of the church with loud drumming and Kandyan religious dancing. While beautiful, the dance has no place in a Catholic church. San Gennaro’s blood must be boiling!

Inspired by Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider’s Crusade of Prayer during the Amazonian Synod in 2019, the Sanfedisti have begun our own “crusade of prayer” for the rejection of heresies within the church. Starting on Monday, August 17th we began fasting with complete abstinence, meaning one full meal per day with no meat, except Sundays. Praying for the Holy Father's intentions, we will add at least one additional decade of the Holy Rosary to our daily prayers until September 8th, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please consider joining us in this endeavor.

* * *
Glorious San Rocco on the 'Guariglia' bye-altar at
the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood
Responsorio a San Rocco

Ave, Roche Santissime
Qui nobili natus sanguine
Crucis signaris schemate
Sinistro tuo latere.

Numinis in praesentia
Nostra nunc serva corpora
Et crucis per praesidia
A peste oppidum libera.

Roche, peregre profectus
Pestifere mortis ictus
Curavisti mirifice
Tangendo salutifere.

Vale, Roche qui angelice
Vocis citatus flamine
Obtinuiste deifice
A cunctis pestem pellere.

Sit Christe Rex piissime
Tibi Patrique gloria
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
Et nunc et in perpetuum.

V. Ora pro nobis, beate Roche.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.


Populum tuum, quaesumus Domine, continua pietate custodi, et beati Rochi suffragantibus meritis, ab omni fac animae et corporis contagione securum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Votive candles inside Most Precious Blood Church 
Finishing our prayers, we headed to the Shrine Church of the Precious Blood (113 Baxter St.) in Little Italy for the 131st Annual Feast of San Rocco. Arriving just in time for the procession, we were warmly welcomed by our San Rocco Society brethren who were rearing to go. As to be expected, due to the COVID scare, Comrade De Blasio’s crime spike, and the poor weather, the turnout was noticeably smaller than usual. However, the fervor and devotion of those in attendance was never stronger.
(L) Confetti rains down on the Saint. (R) Devotees pin donations onto the ribbons
With so much uncertainty surrounding public events these days, especially peaceful Catholic ones, some of us weren’t too sure the celebration would even happen. Having helped distribute the feast posters a week earlier, I know the astonished shopkeepers were overjoyed to learn the Mass and procession were still on. Through the tireless efforts of the San Rocco Society Feast Committee, they proved all the nay-sayers wrong and pulled-off another successful Feast.
(L) The rain certainly didn't dampen the children's enthusiasm.
(R) Ray Guarini had the honor of carrying the San Rocco Society's standard
Mingling with friends throughout the day, we enjoyed some wine, caffé, and even a little souvenir shopping. I finally picked up my long sought after statue of San Francesco d’Assisi and a new Due Sicilie coat-of-arms T-shirt at E. Rossi & Co. We were very happy to learn from our friends in the Figli di San Gennaro that there will be a Mass and procession this year for the Feast of San Gennaro on Saturday, September 19th.
(L-R) The Tocci's and Codispoti's celebrating their faith and culture
After the festivities, friends and members of the society headed back to Da Nico Ristorante (164 Mulberry St.) and broke bread together with plenty of laughs, beer, wine, and, of course, traditional Southern Italian fare. Good food, service, and friends, you couldn't ask for anything more.

Ave Maria! Viva San Gioacchino! And Viva San Rocco!

~ Giovanni di Napoli, August 18th, Feasts of Sant’Elena di Laurino and Sant’Elena della Croce
(L-R) Members of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Fraternal Society of Staten Island, New York; St. Sebastian Society & St. Donato Society of Montclair, New Jersey; and the St. Joseph Society of New Orleans, Louisiana show their support
Departing Most Precious Blood Church, the three hour long procession wends its way through the bustling streets of China Town and Little Italy
The procession makes a brief stop outside E. Rossi & Co.
Danny Vecchiano and the Giglio Band
My new San Francesco d'Assisi statue and Due Sicilie T-shirt
We take a brief detour down Grand Street
Our friends from Aleva Cheese Shop always show love to San Rocco
Our buddy Salvatore takes a breather at Da Nico's
After a short break, the procession returns to Most Precious Blood Church
(1) A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

(2) God in His holy place; God who maketh men of one mind to dwell in a house; He shall give power and strength to His people. Psalm 67. 2 Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that Hate Him flee from before His face. Glory be to the Father. God in His holy place.