July 31, 2015

Bittersweet Move

The Translation of the Relic of San Vincenzo and Society Statues to Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy
(L-R) Craco Society members Salvatore Francavilla, and Joe and Mary Rinaldi, join San Rocco Society President Stephen LaRocca, and Project Manager of Most Precious Blood Church Bill Russo at St. Joseph's Church 
By Giovanni di Napoli 

Last Monday morning (July 27th) I joined members of the Craco Society and Saint Rocco Society of Potenza at St. Joseph's Church in Chinatown for the big move to Most Precious Blood Church in Manhattan’s historic Little Italy. Sadly, after nearly 90 years, St. Joseph's will be shutting its doors as part of the latest wave of church closings on August 1st

Thankfully, the societies made an agreement with the Archdiocese of New York to relocate the relic of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco and society statues (San Rocco and San Vincenzo) to Most Precious Blood. Naturally, we are very sad about the closing (we shared a lot of good times over the years and have some great memories), but we’re also extremely excited about our new home and optimistic our feasts will continue to grow in popularity. 

After seeing how much work needed to be done, I’m glad we decided to use Van Gogh Movers instead of moving everything ourselves (as I naively suggested). The crew was hardworking and professional, and did a fantastic job. If it was just the statues and relic, maybe we could have gotten the appropriate permits and carried them through the streets, but I didn’t realize how much other stuff (shirts, candles, banners, etc.) needed to be moved. 

Unfortunately, Most Precious Blood is half the size of St. Joseph’s, so available space was hard to come by. San Vincenzo will remain in storage in the choir loft until his new encasement by the altar is completed. The fate of St. Joseph’s other treasures remains uncertain.

After helping Steve set up San Rocco, I admittedly was a little choked up to see our glorious patron on display in his new home. I’m not sure if it will be permanent, but what a difference it is to see him in the light by the altar compared to the shadowy niche at the back of the church. It was a very gratifying experience, and I am proud to have been a part of it. 

I want to thank Bill Russo, Project Manager at Most Precious Blood Church, for his hard work and dedication. He was instrumental in the societies’ successful move. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome and support Bill and the Parish has given us. Special thanks to Stephen LaRocca, who has been a godsend to our community. Steve is an unsung hero who works tirelessly to maintain our southern Italian folkways and religious traditions, and when it comes to helping our community his importance cannot be overstated. I am blessed and honored to have him as a friend.

* * * * * * * 
Please help spread the word: 

The 126th Annual Feast of San Rocco will be celebrated on Sunday, August 16th at Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy. Mass will be celebrated at 12 Noon and the procession will begin at about 1:30 PM. Afterward, there will be food and live Neapolitan music by Marcantonio Pezzano in the church basement. For more information visit www.stroccosociety.com

The 114th Annual Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco will be celebrated on Sunday, October 25th at Most Precious Blood Church in Little Italy. Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM. After Mass celebrants will enjoy lunch at Forlini's Restaurant (93 Baxter St.). Anyone interested in participating should contact the Craco Society at (774) 269-6611. For more information visit www.thecracosociety.org.

Viva San Rocco! Viva San Vincenzo!
(Above and below) San Rocco is prepared for the move
A close-up of our beloved patron
The original 126-year-old San Rocco Society standard
San Rocco’s vacant niche
(left) The ornate reliquary of San Vincenzo Martire
(Right) A close-up of the first-class relic
A last look at San Vincenzo in his glass encasement at St. Joseph's
The relic and his accessories (sword, helmet, martyr's palm, etc) are removed
The delicate 114-year-old statue is removed from the encasement
A rare view of the statue’s left side
A close-up of our beloved patron
San Vincenzo’s helmet and sword
It was sad to see San Vincenzo’s bare encasement
(Above & below) Alas, we may never see many of the other historic masterpieces again. (L-R) The Madonna delle Grazie & the Madonna della Stella
The apse mosaic depicting Christ Pantocrator and statues of the Holy Family
Steve and Bill with moving truck outside Most Precious Blood Church
San Rocco on display in Most Precious Blood Church
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see:
Celebrating 125 Years of Devotion to San Rocco in New York City
An Interview with Stephen LaRocca, President of the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza in NYC
A Look at NYC's 124th Annual Feast of San Rocco
A Look at the 123rd Annual Feast of Saint Rocco
A Look at the 122nd Feast of Saint Rocco
A Look at the 2014 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco in New York City
A Look at the 112th Anniversary Mass Celebrating San Vincenzo Martire di Craco in New York City
A look at the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire in NYC

Announcing the 2015 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 29, 2015

A Look at the 105th Annual Feast of Saint Ann in Hoboken, New Jersey

Evviva Sant'Anna!
After Mass, Saint Ann is presented to the expectant crowd
A throng of revelers greet Saint Ann outside the church
Members of the Saint Ann's Guild
lead the procession through the neighborhood
A look at some of the neighborhood shrines devoted to Saint Ann
Our friends at Truglio's offered participants pizza, sandwiches and water
Members of the Saint Padre Pio Prayer group (left)
and San Rocco Society of Potenza (right) show their support
The gals from the Our Lady of the Snow Society joined the celebration
As always, it was great to see our buddies Marco, Frankie and Paul
Failla Memorial Home generously gave the participants sandwiches, ...
... pizza, and ...
... Italian Ices!
Father Nick cools off with some refreshing watermelon
The John Duke Band
Our friends from the Madonna Dei Martiri Society
offered everyone some delicious focaccia and cold water
San Giacomo greets Saint Ann outside the Monte San Giacomo Society Hall
Devotees pin donations on to the statue
and bring their children to be blessed by the saint
After a short break (and some delicious roast beef sandwiches, courtesy of the Monte San Giacomo society) the color guard are raring to go
San Giacomo joins the procession
Before returning to church, we stopped by the Santa Febronia Chapel to see the Madonna di Tindari and Santa Febronia, patroness of Patti, Sicily 
Back at church, San Giacomo and Sant'Anna are placed before the altar
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see:
A Look Inside the Santa Febronia Chapel, Hoboken, New Jersey
A Look at the 104th Annual Feast of Saint Ann, Hoboken, New Jersey

Announcing the 12th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bergen Beach, Brooklyn

Also see: A Look at the 10th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bergen Beach, Brooklyn

July 27, 2015

Feast of San Pantaleone

Viva San Pantaleone!
A would-be executioner kneels in
awe before the impervious saint
By Giovanni di Napoli
July 27th is the feast day of San Pantaleone, patron saint of Ravello. Legend has it the Christian physician was beheaded (c. 305) during the Diocletian persecutions in Nicomedia, and that a woman collected his spilled blood. The ampulla holding the saint's blood reached Ravello in the eleventh-century after a storm at sea transported the monks of Saint Basil, guardians of the phial, from the East. It is believed the relic chose the town for shelter.
In honor of the martyr, I would like to share a few photos taken during my 2010 pilgrimage to beautiful Ravello—arguably the most bedazzling jewel gracing the Amalfi Coast—and its fabulous Duomo, home to the saint's relic. Continue reading

"The Orpheus of Apulia"

Guitar Virtuoso and Composer Mauro Giuliani
Mauro Giuliani
By Giovanni di Napoli
"Then Herr Mauro Giuliani, a Neapolitan, came to us—a man who had been led early in the right direction through correct sense of harmony, and who, as an accomplished virtuoso, combined with the most correct performance the greatest perfection of technique and of taste...Through his teaching and the competition he has aroused among teachers and lovers of the instrument, he has formed for us so many outstanding amateurs, that there could scarcely be another place where authentic guitar-playing is so widely practiced as here in our Vienna." —Excerpt from the preface to a guitar method published c.1811/12, entitled Versuch einer vollständigen methodischen Antleitung zum Guitare-Spielen by Simon Molitor & Wilhelm Klingenbrunner (1)
Southern Italy has a long history with the guitar, dating as far back as the Spanish viceroyalty. In fact, the earliest extant six-string guitar was built by the Neapolitan luthier Gaetano Vinaccia in 1779. The prestigious Gagliano, Fabricatore and Vinaccia families are credited with several innovations for the instrument and throughout the nineteenth century Naples remained a major center for its production. (2) It is also no coincidence that some of the most celebrated early classical guitarists—most notably the great Federico Moretti (1760-1838) and Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841)—hailed from the Regno. Continue reading

July 26, 2015

Feast of Sant’Anna

Evviva 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), Monte San Giacomo (SA), 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 Ann, 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.

Photo of the Week: The Horse Tamer

One of two equestrian statues outside the entrance to the gardens of the Royal Palace in Naples. The statues are copies of the Horse Tamers from St. Petersburg, Russia, and were a gift to King Ferdinand II of Naples from Czar Nicholas I during a state visit to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1846
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

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 prolific, 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 25, 2015

Feast of San Cristoforo Martire

Coat of arms of Ricigliano, Salerno
July 25th is the Feast Day of San Cristoforo Martire (St. Christopher the Martyr), patron saint of pilgrims and travelers. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, San Cristoforo is invoked against storms and the plague. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Ricigliano (SA), San Cristoforo (SA), Moscufo (PE), Valguarnera Caropepe (EN), and Giuggianello (LE), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Christopher. The accompanying photo of the coat of arms of Ricigliano, a Comune in the province of Salerno, depicts the saint carrying the Christ Child across a river. Viva San Cristoforo!
Prayer to St. Christopher
Dear Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road's way. Give your warning sign if danger is near so that I may stop while the path is clear. Be at my window and direct me through when the vision blurs from out of the blue. Carry me safely to my destined place, like you carried Christ in your close embrace. Amen.