November 1, 2014

The Feast of All Saints

The Hallowed Ones
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 1st is All Saints' Day (la festa di Ognissanti), a celebration in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer for the Feast of All Saints Day. The accompanying photo was taken in the Hall of Saints at the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (275 N 8th Street) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Prayer for the Feast of All Saints Day

God our Father, source of all holiness, the work of Your hands is manifest in Your saints, the beauty of Your truth is reflected in their faith. May we who aspire to have part in their joy be filled with the spirit that blessed their lives, so that having shared their faith on earth may we also know their peace in your kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

October 31, 2014

New Books

Some new and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at Amazon.com

Historical Materialism and the Economics of Karl Marx by Benedetto Croce 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
Publication Date: October 8, 2014  
Paperback: $6.29 
Language: English 
Pages: 118


Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic by Benedetto Croce 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
Publication Date: October 9, 2014  
Paperback: $8.99 
Language: English 
Pages: 228


Horace's Art of Poetry & Vico's Poetic Philosophy: Tradition & Cultural Contrasts by Giorgio A. Pinton 

Publisher: Cultural History & Literary Tradition 
Publication Date: (September 1, 2014 
Paperback: $85.50 
Language: English 
Pages: 464 pages 


Click here to see more books

October 30, 2014

Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
November 25th, 2014 — January 6th, 2015

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028-0198
Info: 212-535-7710
TTY: 212-570-3828

Gallery 305

The Museum continues a longstanding holiday tradition with the presentation of its Christmas tree, a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. A vivid eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene—embellished with a profuse array of diminutive, lifelike attendant figures and silk-robed angels hovering above—adorns the candlelit spruce. Recorded music and lighting ceremonies add to the enjoyment of the holiday display.

The annual Christmas display is the result of the generosity, enthusiasm, and dedication of the late Loretta Hines Howard, who began collecting crèche figures in 1925 and soon after conceived the idea of combining the Roman Catholic custom of elaborate Nativity scenes with the tradition of decorated Christmas trees that had developed among the largely Protestant people of northern Europe. This unusual combination first was presented to the public in 1957, when the Metropolitan Museum initially exhibited Mrs. Howard's collection. More than two hundred eighteenth-century Neapolitan crèche figures were given to the Museum by Loretta Hines Howard starting in 1964, and they have been displayed each holiday season for nearly forty years. Linn Howard, Mrs. Howard's daughter, worked with her mother for many years on the annual installation. Since her mother's death in 1982, she has continued to create new settings for the Museum's ensemble and additional figures that she has been lending to the collection. In keeping with family tradition, Linn Howard's daughter, artist Andrea Selby Rossi, now joins her mother each year in creating the display. Continue reading

October 29, 2014

A Look at the 2014 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco in New York City

The 1901 statue of San Vincenzo 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Sunday, October 26th, I made my way to Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe St.) in New York City, for the 113th Annual Feast of San Vincenzo Martire di Craco. Mass was celebrated in English and Italian by Rev. Monsignor Nicholas Grieco, who just happens to be of Cracotan descent. During his homily, Father Grieco gave an inspiring account of San Vincenzo’s life and commended the Craco Society for their important spiritual and cultural endeavors. As always, cantor Susan Mello did a fantastic job leading the congregation in song and thrilling us with her stirring rendition of Inno a San Vincenzo, a hymn to Saint Vincent.
Following Mass, devotees lined up to pin donations on to the Saint and venerate his relic near the original statue [see image above]. The celebration quickly moved to the church auditorium, where we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner prepared by C & C Catering.
In addition to the religious aspects of these types of celebrations, what I enjoy most about the Feasts is no matter how big or small they are, they each offer something culturally unique. Whether its reciting Sicilian poetry—like at the Feast of San Giuseppe in Ridgewood, New York—or carrying la conca—like at the Feast of San Rocco in Astoria, Queens—there is always something to connect us with our past.
Needless to say, the Feast of San Vincenzo is no different. The most obvious examples are, of course, the food and language. Not only did we get to try some regional specialties, for instance the delicious digestivo Amaro Lucano, we also got to hear the Cracotans speak lucano, the regional vernacular of Basilicata. 
Another way the Craco Society connects us to our ancestral homeland is with an actual piece of it. This year diavolicchio (little hot peppers) grown from seeds originating from Craco were distributed to the partygoers. They also gave out small bundles of wheat, symbolic of the heraldic device (three stalks of wheat) on Craco’s coat of arms [see image right]. 
Finally, they offered devotees an opportunity to purchase highly detailed hand-painted replica figurines of the upright statue of San Vincenzo back in Craco. Blessed by Monsignor Grieco, the beautiful statuettes (believed to be the first of their kind) are a fantastic keepsake and a tangible representation of San Vincenzo's presence in our lives.
I want to thank President Joe Rinaldi, Fred Spero and all the members of the Craco Society for their warmth and hospitality, it's an honor and a privilege to celebrate with you and I look forward to doing so again next year. Evviva San Vincenzo!
After Mass, members line up to venerate the relic of San Vincenzo
(Left) An ornate reliquary with bone fragment of San Vincenzo
(Right) A close up of the Saint's Helmet and replica blood reliquary 
Donations are pinned on to the 1930's era statue
Afterward, Stephen La Rocca proudly carries San Vincenzo to the auditorium 
President Joe Rinaldi delivers his welcome address
Everything looked so appetizing; we couldn't wait to dig in
After dinner, we enjoyed some caffè, dessert and...
...some of Sal's delicious homemade Limoncello
We also polished off several bottles of southern Italian bitters and wine
Wheat stalks and little red peppers (diavolicchio) were given to attendees
A look at the replica figurine of San Vincenzo
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

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October 28, 2014

The Lioness of the South: Michelina De Cesare

Michelina De Cesare
Oct. 28, 1841 — Aug. 30, 1868
By Giovanni di Napoli
“Oh difficulties to be endured, cries the coward, the feather-head, the shuttlecock, the faint-heart. The task is not impossible, though hard. The craven must stand aside. Ordinary, easy tasks are for the herd. Rare, heroic, and divine men overcome the difficulties of the way and force an immortal palm from necessity. You may fail to reach your goal, but run the race nevertheless. Put forth your strength in so high a business. Strive on with your last breath.” — Giordano Bruno
On March 17, 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was born. The events that led to its birth are many but most are hidden behind the myths of the Risorgimento, a romanticized, but false, version of Italian unity. Portraying themselves as liberators, the House of Savoy effectively annexed and colonized the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Papal States. It didn't take long after unification that the lies and false promises of the Northern conquerors become apparent. The new rulers not only continued the unjust policies they promised to eliminate but in many cases they exacerbated them.

Betrayed and desperate, the people of the South rebelled against the Piedmontese and their collaborators. For well over a decade the Northern invaders waged a bloody war of repression against the Southern insurrection, deceitfully referred to as "the war against brigandage." The occupational forces committed many atrocities against the so-called "brigands," perhaps the most famous of which were the Pontelandolfo and Casalduni massacres. The Southerners retaliated by exacting retribution whenever possible. At its peak, over 100,000 soldiers were needed to suppress the revolt. Tribunals, roundups, deportations and summary executions were an integral part of Italian nation building. Continue reading

October 26, 2014

Feast of San Vincenzo Martire

Viva San Vincenzo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
The fourth Sunday of October is the Feast Day of San Vincenzo Martire, patron Saint of Craco, Lucania. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Vincent. (*) The accompanying photo was taken during the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan, the national shrine of San Vincenzo. For more on Saint Vincent's Feast Day please visit the Craco Society and the San Fele Society.

Prayer to St. Vincent
Patron of Craco, Lucania

O strong and glorious St. Vincent,
our distinguished patron, who
had the honor of giving your life
for loyal testimony to Jesus Christ,
turn your loving gaze on us
who by wise design of
providence, are, the unworthy,
fortunate guardians of your relics.

Teach us, oh, generous Martyr,
the tenacity to do good
in the way in which you serve as model,
having preserved good intentions
even when you were violently
torn from the quiet life of our family.

Communicate with our souls
a little of the great love
which you showed
evidence of in your lifetime.
Pray to the Lord Jesus
that because the generosity of
your love of the Cross, that our hearts will be
evermore enkindled.
Present to Jesus, sweet friend
of our souls and crown of Martyrs our
earnest desire to support
courageously, like you,
every suffering of our lives, Amen

(*) A Prayer to St. Vincent courtesy of the San Felese Society

October 25, 2014

The Lessons of Abu Tabela

Paolo di Avitabile
Oct. 25, 1791—March 28, 1850
By Lucian

Paolo di Avitabile was born in Agerola, near Amalfi. He was a Neapolitan soldier who reached the rank of Lieutenant and was recommended for promotion and decoration by General Delaver after displaying great courage and being wounded twice during the siege of Gaeta. Unfortunately, in his case, the General was ignored and Avitabile was instead transferred to a light infantry division under the same rank. He resigned in disgust at his treatment, but went on to become a successful mercenary in the east, and eventually became the governor of Wazirabad and then Peshawar. He was also a scholar and engineer, and worked closely with Lehna Singh Majithia, the renowned Sikh engineer. After his adventurous career he returned with his fortune to his homeland in Naples, where he married a local girl but then died under suspicious circumstances.

Although Avitabile was interesting and successful, you may be wondering why he is special enough to be remembered as a significant figure in Southern Italian history, especially since he became a mercenary and political figure outside of his European homeland. The answer is because Paolo di Avitabile was also known as the legendary figure Abu Tabela. Continue reading

October 24, 2014

Newark, New Jersey's Feast of San Gerardo Maiella in Pictures

Evviva San Gerardo! 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Sunday, October 19th, my friends and I joined thousands of pilgrims in Newark, New Jersey for the 115th Annual Feast of San Gerardo Maiella at Saint Lucy's Church. Always a fantastic turnout, celebrants came from far and wide for the celebration. 

Following Mass I took the opportunity to admire the church architecture and fantastic collection of religious statuary. Naturally, we ran into many friends and made several new ones, including a friendly gentleman from Atripalda, as might be expected, near the statue of San Sabino di AvellinoAfterward, we enjoyed a terrific lunch at our friend Frankie Antipasto's tent, who specializes in artisan salumi and other southern Italian delicacies.

When visiting the church you can't miss the Museum of the Old First Ward, located in the basement of Saint Lucy's Community Center. They have many historical treasures, including a fantastic collection of presepio figures. 

Before leaving, I picked up a few souvenirs at the gift shop for family and friends, then said my goodbyes. I offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the men and women of St. Lucy's Church for their hard work and giving us this wonderful opportunity to celebrate our faith and our culture. Evviva San Gerardo!
San Gerardo is carried from his chapel to the front of the altar
Devotees line up and cover the Saint with donations
Final preparations are made before the procession
The standard bearers are ready to go
Boy Scouts carry the flags at the head of the procession
Leaving the church to greet the expectant crowd
To everyone's delight San Gerardo emerges from St. Lucy's
Devotees bring their babies to be blessed by the Saint
It's always great to see our friends from the St. Joseph Society of Lodi (above) and the Monte San Giacomo Society of Hoboken (below)
We stopped by Buon Antipasto to say hello to our good friend Frankie (right), buy a couple of soppressata and, of course, try one of his amazing sandwiches
Some highlights from the presepio exhibit at the Museum of the Old First Ward
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

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October 23, 2014

Feast of San Giovanni da Capestrano

Viva San Giovanni!
October 23rd is the Feast Day of San Giovanni da Capestrano, patron Saint of military chaplains and jurists. He is also the protector of Capestrano, a commune in the Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo), where he was born in 1386. 

San Giovanni is revered as the "soldier saint" for his role in the valiant defense of Belgrade against the Ottoman Turks in 1456. With his fiery sermons, he helped raise a peasant army and assisted John Hunyadi, the heroic White Knight of Wallachia, in breaking the siege and routing the invaders. 

To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in honor of St. John of Capistrano. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Tea at Trianon.

Prayer to St. John of Capistrano

Lord, you raised up Saint John of Capistrano to give your people comfort in their trials. May your Church enjoy unending peace and be secure in your protection. 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

O'Giglio Spogliato

Photo courtesy of Sons of San Paolino
Date changed to Saturday, November 8th (2pm)
Sunday, November 2nd (2pm)
Saint Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church
990 Holzheimer Street
Franklin Square, NY 11010

The Sons of San Paolino di Nola are pleased to announce that for the 1st time in New York, a giglio has been constructed with the key element of the true Neapolitan giglio. La Prima Borda, or La Borda for short, which is also known as "The Soul of the Lily.” This key element, along with its intricate construction of lightweight lumber will allow us to dance the giglio the way it was meant to be danced.

In the spirit of this throwback to authenticity, we will be hosting "O'Giglio Spogliato" November 2nd, at 2pm. For those who may not know, spogliato means “naked.” The giglio will not be dressed with its normal "face,” rather the bones or bare wood structure will be on display for all to see.

The intent of this afternoon will be to test the new style authentic structure, demonstrate proper lifting, dancing and turning techniques. So join us and celebrate this truly noteworthy event where giglio authenticity comes back to America.

Non vedo l'ora di vederti

For more info visit http://www.sanpaolino.org or find the San Paolino on Facebook

The Emperor of Philadelphia

No man in the history of the City of Philadelphia was more loved, hated, admired, feared and despised than Mayor Francis L. Rizzo, Sr.

Monument to Mayor Frank Rizzo
By Niccolò Graffio
“The streets of Philadelphia are safe.  It’s only the people who make them unsafe.” – Frank. L. Rizzo
“The City of Brotherly Love” began as a settlement founded by William Penn in 1682.  The previous year, Penn had received a charter from King Charles II of England to establish what would eventually become the Pennsylvania Colony.  Penn, a Quaker, had experienced religious persecution in England and was desirous of founding a colony in the New World where there would be absolute freedom of worship.  His “Holy Experiment” included the building of a city this farsighted soul believed would one day form, as he put it, “…the seed of a nation.”

The City of Philadelphia was officially established by Penn with the Charter of 1701. Penn derived the name of the city from the Greek philos (“love” or “friendship”) and adelphos (“brother”). At this time the city’s inhabitants were mostly settlers from the British Isles, as well as some Germans, Finns, Dutch and slaves from Africa. True to Penn’s vision, many religious minorities settled the area. In addition to Quakers, Mennonites, Catholics, Pietists and even some Jews helped to build the early city. As it grew, Philadelphia began to emerge as an important regional commercial center, facilitating trade between the Caribbean and British colonies in the northeast. Continue reading

October 22, 2014

Villa Palagonia at Caffè Vivaldi

Allison Scola of Villa Palagonia
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Tuesday, October 28th
(7pm – 8pm)

Caffè Vivaldi
32 Jones Street
New York, NY 10001 
(Off Bleecker Street, near Seventh Avenue)
(212) 691-7538

Villa Palagonia will spice up the scene at Caffè Vivaldi (a Greenwich Village classic restaurant, cafe, bar) with their spectacular renditions of traditional and original Sicilian-American folk music. There is no cover. Dinner, dessert, and drinks are encouraged.

For more about Villa Palagonia visit http://villa-palagonia.com

Also, check out Allison's fantastic website Experience Sicily

A Look at the 2014 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens

Final preparations are made before the procession
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Saturday, October 18th, I returned to Astoria, Queens to join the Societá Gioventú Quagliettana (3704 28th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103) for the annual Fiaccolata di San Rocco. Thank you Vincenzo Carpinelli and all the members of the society for your warmth and hospitality, it’s always a pleasure to celebrate with you. Evviva San Rocco!
(Above and below) Devotees gather outside the club for the fiaccolata
Gina and Peter's smiling faces lead the march
The procession makes its way through the neighborhood
(Above and below) Members carry candles and sing hymns for San Rocco
After celebrating Mass with Father Vincent, we depart St. Joseph's Church
Rocco Fasano leads the marchers in song
After Mass the procession makes its way back to the clubhouse
Outside the club, the ladies sing in praise of San Rocco
Inside, we were treated to some caffè and pastries 
I enjoyed a sfogliatelle
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

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