July 26, 2014

Feast of Sant’Anna

Evivva Sant’Anna!
July 26th is the Feast Day of Saint Ann, mother of Mary, patroness of housewives, pregnant women, mothers and grandmothers. Widely venerated across southern Italy, she is the principal patron of Caserta (CA), Ischia Ponte (NA), Bacoli (NA), Lettere (NA), Boscotrecase (NA), and Vernole (LE), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Ann. The accompanying photo was taken at Saint Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church (35-60 158th Street) in Flushing, New York.
Prayer to Saint Ann
Good Saint Anne, you were especially favored by God to be the mother of the most holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior. By your power with your most pure daughter and with her divine Son, kindly obtain for us the grace and the favor we now seek. Please secure for us also forgiveness of our past sins, the strength to perform faithfully our daily duties and the help we need to persevere in the love of Jesus and Mary. Amen.

A Brief Sketch: Francesco Jerace

Carlotta d'Asburgo a Miramare, Napoli
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Born on July 26, 1854 in Polistena, a small town in the Province of Reggio Calabria, Francesco Jerace received his first instruction in art from his maternal grandfather, Francesco Morani, a descendent of a prolific family of artists from Calabria. He moved to Naples in 1869 and studied painting and sculpting at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts under the guidance of Tito Angelini, Tommaso Solari and Stanislao Lista. He first exhibited his work at the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti in Naples while only 18-years-of-age. 

Highly productive, Jerace would go on to create many works for public and private audiences, including portraits, allegorical figures, religious statuary and commemorative monuments. His style fluctuated between Classicism and Naturalism. Continue reading

July 24, 2014

Maestro Longobardi and Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra Perform Neapolitan Masters at the Internationale Festival of Youth Orchestras

Maestro Longobardi and SSYO Perform in Montecatini, Italy 
Photo courtesy of the Neapolitan Music Society
Congratulations Maestro Longobardi and Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra. 

After a 2 week Summer Music Conservatory and first Neapolitan Music Society recording, the SSYO (under the direction of NMS President Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi) perform Francesco Durante and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi at the Internationale Festival of Youth Orchestras in Montecatini, Italy.

For more info visit www.neapolitanmusicsociety.org or visit the Neapolitan Music Society on Facebook.

Announcing the Festa Della Famiglia in Onore di San Francesco Di Paola, Stone Park, Illinois


July 23, 2014

Saint Rocco Feast Entertainment Announced


Italian-American Intellectuals … Immigrant Working-Class Revolutionaries vs. Bourgeois Progeny …What Difference a War Makes!

By TOM VERSO (July 22, 2014)

The epitaph carve on the tomb of Tina Modotti reads in part: “…steel and wire combined with snow and pollen to make up your firm and delicate being.” /// /// The combination and juxtaposition of the gentleness and softness of “snow and pollen” with the hardness of “steel and wire” captures the essence of Modotti and Bella Dodd, and more generally the women of their pre-WW II generation. Be they revolutionaries struggling to change their world, or “Hell’s Kitchen” housewives (e.g. Lucia Santa “The Fortunate Pilgrim”) struggling to survive in their world, the Italian American women of that era are best characterized by the juxtaposition of gentleness (“snow and pollen”) on the one hand and resilience (“steel and wire”) on the other. /// /// 

Not so their progeny! Coming of age in the greatest economic boom in history, the post-war Italian Americans moved out of the “Hell’s Kitchens” to suburbia where cats were no longer mousers; rather pets. Life was good. Accordingly, the Italian American intelligentsia of the post-war manifested the softness of “snow and pollen”, but not the hardness of “steel and wire”. As the struggle to get food on the table gave way to the struggle to lose weight, revolution gave way to protestation. Ideas about working class revolutions gave way to protestations about racial segregation, women’s rights and sexual freedom. Thus for example, Daniela Gioseffi, the Italian American “Joan of Arc” according to the prominenti and literati ‘festschrift’ in “Pioneering Italian American Culture”; Gioseffi’s book is dedicated to “women who wish to be free to pursue their creative instincts and succeed at their art…” One wonders what Modotti and Dobb might think of women’s freedom of artistic expression vs. working class freedom from exploitation? /// /// The works of artists and intellectuals are windows into the mass culture. Comparative cultural studies entail the juxtaposition of the culturati in time and space. The comparison of pre-war Modotti and Dobbs with post-war Paglia and Gioseffi makes for interesting sociological insights into pre and post-war Italian American intelligentsia. Continue reading

July 21, 2014

Feast of San Lorenzo da Brindisi

Viva San Lorenzo!
July 21st is the Feast Day of San Lorenzo da Brindisi, Apostolic Doctor of the Church. Born Giulio Cesare Russo (1559), he joined the Capuchins at the age of sixteen, taking the name Lorenzo. He excelled in theology and philosophy, and had a gift for languages, including Hebrew. Famous for his ecstatic sermons, his tears were often blotted up and used to cure the sick. While in Germany to establish Capuchin convents, Saint Lorenzo was made the chief chaplain of the Imperial Army. Crucifix in hand, he is credited with leading the severely outnumbered Christian forces to victory against the Ottoman Turks during the Battle of Székesfehérvár in Hungary (1601). An adept negotiator, the Popes often employed him in settling disputes between Christian Monarchs. Saint Lorenzo died in Lisbon on July 22, 1619 after the completion of his final diplomatic mission. At the behest of the people of Naples, he secured from King Philip III of Spain the dismissal of the oppressive Viceroy Don Pedro Téllez de Girón, 3rd Duke of Osuna. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in Honor of Saint Lawrence. The accompanying photo of The Glory of Saint Lawrence of Brindisi comes courtesy of Il Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali.

Prayer to Saint Lawrence

Lord, for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls gave Lawrence of Brindisi courage and right judgement. By prayers help us to know what we should do and give us the courage to do it. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Titan of the South: Salvator Rosa

Self portrait 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Aldo Lira
“Painter, Poet, Musician, Philosopher, and Patriot, he combined in his fine organisation the supreme elements of high art, with the noblest instincts of intellectual humanity. He worked through his great vocation with a spirit of independence that never quailed, and with unflinching resistance to the persecutions of despotism and the intrigues of professional rivalry. His moral dignity refused to pander to the licentious tastes of the profligate times in which he flourished, and, in this respect superior to many of his great predecessors, he left not one picture that,
‘_dying, he might blush to own,’
while he exhibited in his great historical compositions, "The Death of Regulus" and "The Conspiracy of Catiline," a graphic eloquence which Herodotus and Gibbon have scarcely surpassed.”
The above paragraph, from the Life and Times of Salvator Rosa by Lady Sydney Morgan, published in 1824, is only one of many lofty and effusive tributes paid to Salvator Rosa during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries by the artists, intellectuals and literati of the time. Who was Salvator Rosa and what did he do to inspire such admiration more than 150 years after his death? Continue reading

July 20, 2014

Feast of Santa Margherita di Antiochia

Evivva Santa Margherita! 
Photo courtesy of Marilena Giovanna
July 20th is the Feast of Saint Margaret of Antioch (Santa Margherita di Antiochia), virgin and martyr. She is the patroness of farmers, nurses and pregnant women. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, St. Margaret is invoked against infertility and for safe childbirth. In addition to the martyr’s palm, she is often depicted with a dragon. According to legend, the Devil in the guise of a great serpent appeared before Margaret to tempt and deceive her. Instead of succumbing to his treachery she simply made the sign of the cross and sent the fiend packing, recoiling in pain. Other versions of the story say she was swallowed whole by a dragon. Pressing her cross against the creature’s stomach she emerged unharmed, thus her association with pregnancies and labor. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Margaret. The accompanying photo was taken at the Parish of S. Margherita e S. Nicola del Pumpulo in Pastena, Salerno.
Prayer to Saint Margaret of Antioch
O God, grant us through the intercession of Thy holy virgin and martyr Margaret, undauntedly to confess the Faith, carefully to observe the chastity of our state of life, and to overcome the temptations of the world, the devil, and the flesh, and thereby escape the punishments of eternal damnation. Amen.

July 19, 2014

Announcing the 2014 Our Lady of Pierno Mass and Luncheon, Trenton, New Jersey

For more information visit the San Felese Society of New Jersey website at www.sanfelesesocietynj.org

For more on the Feast read "Celebration of the Madonna di Pierno Feast" by Tom Frascella

July 17, 2014

Feast of Santa Marina Vergine

Evivva Santa Marina!
July 17th is the Feast of Santa Marina, virgin of Bitinia (Bithynia). Widely venerated throughout southern Italy, she is the principal patroness of Filandari (VV), Polistena (RC), Casole Bruzio (CS), Ruggiano (LE), Santa Marina Salina (ME), Santa Marina di Milazzo (ME), and Cumia Inferiore (ME), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Santa Marina. The accompanying photo was taken at the 2014 Feast of Santa Marina in Inwood, Long Island.
Preghiera a Santa Marina
Salve, o Marina vergine 
che avvinta al Redentore
soffristi il disonore
con tacito pudor.

Di santo ardore sfolgora
il nostro cuore triste
che per amor di Cristo
sopporti ognor dolor.

Pura innocente vergine
per gli altri penitenti
con la tua fiamma ardente
purgasti L'altrui error.

Sia gloria nell'empireo
al santo Genitore
al Figlio e all'Amore
in cielo, in terra ognor.

July 16, 2014

A Look at the 2014 Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and San Paolino di Nola, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Co-patrons of the Feast: San Paolino di Nola And Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Evivva Maria! Evivva San Paolino! Here is a glimpse of the pageantry and passion that went into Sunday's (July 13th) Dance of the Giglio, a time honored southern-Italian American tradition that combines the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel with San Paolino di Nola.

For more on the history of the Feast in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Nola, Italy, please see the links at the bottom of this post.
The Paranza Parade makes its way to the fairgrounds
This year's giglio was a masterpiece
The lifters show tremendous spirit 
The "Grand Turk" Mark Mascioli
Launching the boat 
The Societies were well represented: (R-L) Marco (Maria SS. Dell'Assunta Society), Elena (Club Sassanese d'America), Vincenzo and Amanda (Our Lady of Snow Society) 
It was great to see our friends from the St. Alfio Society of Lawrence, Massachusetts 
Another fantastic turnout for the Feast
Forza Napoli!
Everyone had a good time
Elyse celebrating at Lou's Clam Bar
The "S.S. Gino" sets sail for the giglio for the"double lift" 
Strength and brotherhood
Returning the boat to port
Also see:

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Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Viva Maria!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
July 16th is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Patroness of the Carmelite Order. Traditionally, during the feast scapulars (a cloth sacramental reminiscent of the Brown Scapular offered to Saint Simon Stock by the Virgin Mother on July 16, 1251) are given to family and friends and worn as a sign of devotion. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in Honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

The accompanying photo of the Blessed Mother was taken at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine of East Harlem. The pictures below were taken at the Santuario della Madonna del Carmine in Sorrento during my 2010 visit.

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Most blessed and immaculate Virgin, ornament and splendor of Mount Carmel, thou who regardest with particular goodness those who wear thy scapular, benignly look upon me also, and cover me with the mantle of thy maternal protection. Fortify my weakness with thy strength, illuminate the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, increase Faith, Hope and Charity within me, adorn my soul with such graces and virtues that it may be always precious to thee and thy divine Son; assist me in life, console me at the hour of death with thy most loving presence and present me to the most august Trinity as thy son and devout servant, to eternally praise and bless thee in heaven. Amen.
The Santuario della Madonna del Carmine, Sorrento
Madonna in Glory with Saints and Angels 
by Onofrio Avellino

Titan of the South: Vincenzo Gemito

Il Pescatore by Vincenzo Gemito 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

A year before his death the great Neapolitan sculptor Vincenzo Gemito wrote, "If the artist lacks knowledge of the past, he will never be able to make masterpieces." (1) As with art, this rule also applies to people. Without historical memory there is no shared identity or vision. This is why we study our history and keep our ancestral folk traditions alive. A people cut off from their past are enervated. Those who don't know their history will never be able to fulfill their destiny. Gemito's genius is a source of inspiration and a reminder of the potential that is still in us.

Vincenzo Gemito was born in Naples on July 16th 1852. Abandoned at the wheel of the Santissima Annunziata by his mother, with only his ear pierced for protection against the evil eye (Jettatura), the charitable sisters of the foundling hospital took him in and named him Vincenzo after a nearby piazza. The child was given the surname Gemito, meaning “to whimper,” because of the pitiable mewling sounds he made. Continue reading

July 15, 2014

A Look at the 2014 Feast of Santa Marina, Inwood, Long Island

Evivva Santa Marina!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Saturday, July 12th, I made my way to Inwood, Long Island for the 53rd Annual Feast of Santa Marina Vergine, patroness of Filandari, Calabria. It was standing room only at beautiful Our Lady of Good Council Church (68 Wanser Ave.), as devotees came from far and wide to celebrate Mass and march in the Procession. 

During his homily, Father Tutone gave an inspiring account of the Saint’s life and commended the Santa Marina Society for their cultural and spiritual devotion. Throughout the ceremony, beautiful choral music reverberated all through the church from the organ balcony. 

The service ended with a delightful performance by the children’s choir. Some dressed as Santa Marina, others the orphan “Fortunato” from her hagiography. The little angels sang two beautiful devotional hymns in honor of their beloved patron and were rewarded with resounding applause from the proud audience.

After Mass we gathered outside the church for the procession. The crowd cheered as the Saint made her appearance and rushed to pin their donations onto her ribbons. Following the National Anthem, festivities got rolling as The Our Lady of Good Council Marching Band led the celebrants through the quiet streets of Inwood. Luckily, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day and a gentle breeze from the nearby bay.

Upon our return to the fairgrounds, we were treated to a deafening fireworks display. The Saint was placed inside an outdoor chapel and family and friends took turns taking pictures with the statue. We enjoyed some refreshments and talked some more before saying our goodbyes.

Even though this was my first time attending the celebration, the Santa Marina Society welcomed me with a warmth that was second to none. Members gladly shared their stories with me and treated me like I was one of their own. I would especially like to thank President Salvatore Cimato, Vice President Marino Curra and Secretary–Treasurer Giovanni Curra for their hard work and dedication. It was a real honor to celebrate with them and I look forward to returning next year. 
After Mass devotees pin money onto the statue
Frankie Tullo (r.) and the Color Guard lead the way
The Procession leaves Our Lady of Good Council Church
The Our Lady of Good Council Band
To carry the Saint is a special honor
Rosa DeLuca and John Zanni show their support
There was a tremendous turnout for the celebration
Baby's first Feast
Wending our way through Inwood
This cutie has the best seat in the house
Another look at the Procession
President Salvatore Cimato and his lovely family
Revelers enjoy the festivities
After a couple of hours, the Procession heads back to the church
Santa Marina is placed in her outdoor chapel
After the Procession we enjoyed a flurry of fireworks
I would like to give a special shout-out to (L-R) Vice President Marino Curra, President Salvatore Cimato and Secretary–Treasurer Giovanni Curra for their hard work and dedication. They do a tremendous job keeping our traditions alive
Photo courtesy of Annette Cimato
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