Tag Archive | "Catholicism"

Faith and the 26.2: St. Patrick’s “Runner’s Mass”

by Jackie Kostek

Just hours after finishing his fourth New York City Marathon on Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Tyrell stood at the altar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, holding his finisher’s medal high over his head.

“Today, I ran through the five boroughs!” said Tyrell, applause echoing through the cathedral.  “Stand up if you ran the marathon today.”

Thirty runners, proud but tired, stood up to the enthusiastic applause.  At the conclusion of mass, he asked them to come forward and posed for pictures and friends and relatives snapped away.

“This is the Mass I look forward to,” said Tyrell.  “We put our medals on, and come back to say thanks to God.”

Yvonne Jessup, a marathoner from California, said she went to St. Patrick’s after the race because even when she’s out of town, she never misses mass.

“Tonight, I came to thank God for the strength that got me through,” said Jessup.

An Irish marathoner, Sean McGoldrick, said he went to a similar “runner’s mass” a couple years ago when he ran the Boston marathon.

“Running is a very spiritual sport,” said McGoldrick, “but I really just came to see how Father Tyrell did.”

While 30 runners showed up for the 5:30 mass after the race, there was an even bigger crowd the night before for the official “Runner’s Mass.”  Tyrell said St. Patrick’s isn’t the only parish to bless the runners pre-race, but he said his own marathon participation has made St. Patrick’s “Runner’s Mass” the most popular.

“At the first ‘Runner’s Mass,’ we had about 100 runners,” Tyrell said on Saturday.  “Tonight, we had 400 to 500 runners.  It was packed up there.”

At the end of the mass on Saturday afternoon, Tyrell invited the runners up to the altar for the blessing.  Tyrell said the “blessing of the runners” is as much about building camaraderie as it is about “splashing everyone” with holy water.

Martin Taylor, who is from Ireland and has run 11 New York City marathons, said he comes back to the city each year especially for the mass.

“I just love the way it brings the whole community together,” Taylor said.  “I love the sermon, and how he makes the scripture relevant.”

Paul and Diana Karls, a married couple from Wisconsin, said they also find significance in Tyrell’s sermon.

“I will use his words tomorrow,” said Ms. Karls, “especially during those last miles.”

Tyrell’s sermon on Saturday night was a lesson in how to make the ancient scriptures applicable to modern life.  In this case, it was all about the 26.2-mile race.

“I was particularly struck by the Father’s words, ‘They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,’” said Siobhan Hearney, an Irish marathoner running the race with her husband and friends.

“It’s not just physical, it’s spiritual,” said Hearney.

Hearney said she would also focus her thoughts while running on the charity she supports, Foy Hospice.

Tyrell calls what Hearney does “running with a purpose.”

Tyrell raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  He said his reason for running is particularly close to home.

“I had a parishioner years ago who had MS,” said Tyrell, “and she took 26 hours to run the marathon.  Not that’s courage.  That’s faith that kept her going.”

At the mass after the run,Tyrell said listening to scripture on his iPod helped him keep going.

And on Sunday, Tyrell ran his fastest marathon yet, clocking in at 4:01:21.

“This was the first time I’ve ever run a marathon so fast,” said Tyrell.  “I really needed faith, I had nothing left.  I actually hit the wall, and I had to keep repeating to myself, ‘In Christ, I can do all things, in Christ, I can do all things.”


Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (0)

Homosexual Catholics Find Sanctuary with Dignity

by Ines Novacic

The legalization of gay marriage in New York last June reignited the age-old struggle between faith and sexuality in the Catholic community. While figureheads such as Archbishop Timothy Dolan promote an increasingly conservative outlook on homosexuality in Catholicism, a small group of mostly Irish-American Catholics continues to provide a weekly place of worship for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

“We are Catholics in exile,“ joked Brendan Fay, 50, an active member of the organization Dignity, a Catholic non-profit organization for homosexual and trans-gender persons.

“Most people are surprised that LGBT people care about being Catholic at all,” said Fay, “probably because Irish-American Catholics often get stereotyped as conservative.”

Each Sunday evening, roughly 100 Dignity members transform the Episcopal Church St John in Greenwich Village into an unusual Catholic sanctuary.

Eight openly gay priests volunteer to rotate through Dignity’s weekly mass, and once every month or so, a female pastor delivers the sermon. Last Sunday, a congregation of 60 joined the Rev. Jim Morris, an Irish-American priest, in singing the inaugural hymn “Halleluja”.

Dignity priests sanctioned same-sex marriages even before the Marriage Equality Act was passed.  Fay met his spouse at a Dignity service, and a Dignity priest officiated their March 2008 wedding.

Dignity New York, one of the organizations 50 chapters, was established in 1972 by John MacNeill, an Irish-American Jesuit priest. MacNeill’s book “The Church and the Homosexual” is still considered ‘the bible’ on religion and sexuality. MacNeill, now 86, said that several passages in the Gospels contradict traditional anti-homosexual interpretations of the Roman Catholic Church.

“I think it’s very clear in the scripture that the Church should open its doors to all that are sexually different. Certain Biblical passages are ignored by the Vatican,” said MacNeill in a recent phone interview. “I believe that the Holy Spirit is leading the hierarchy into homophobia in order to ruin their reputation”.

“I feel sorry for the hierarchy,” added MacNeill. “The Catholic faithful do not pay attention to them anymore. I’ve read in several places that 80 percent of Catholics support gay marriage.”

In 2005, the Vatican reaffirmed their position on homosexuality, publishing in a report that the sacred scripture presents homosexuals as “grave sinners.”

Two authoritative Catholic voices in New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and Bill Donahue, head of the Catholic League, a conservative Catholic civil rights organization, both espouse traditional religious teaching. Donohue referred to homosexuals as “disqualified by nature” from marriage, since they cannot have children, on the June 28 broadcast of PIX 11 Morning News.

According to Dignity, homosexuality as an expression of love is consistent with Christ’s teaching.

“For most, ‘coming out’ means leaving the Church,” said Fay. “Thank God for Dignity. It challenges certain aspects of the Catholic tradition it comes from.”

Dignity’s unconventional theology opposes the conservative tradition embodied by Irish Americans like Dolan or Donohue. Dignity priests including Morris consider progressive preaching on a variety of social issues a necessity, since the Roman Catholic Church has grown increasingly conservative under the guidance of Pope John Paul II, and the current Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI.

The Archdiocese of New York last published Church statistics in 2009. That year, 2.6 million Catholics were registered, roughly 45 percent of the total population of the area. Many lay Catholics in New York support same-sex marriage, yet Diginity membership is at an all-time low, with young people particularly under-represented.

“Although we’ve diminished in weekly attendance at Dignity over the last 30 years, our message has gotten out more and more,” said Morris. “Lay Catholics are way ahead of the Church in accepting LGBT persons.”

On Sept. 20, Archbishop Dolan, in his capacity as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him to dissuade his administration from discounting the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act was enacted in 1996 and defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Dolan wrote that the Department of Justice’s decision to disregard this piece of legislation last February would “precipitate conflict between the Church and state, to the detriment of both institutions.”  Fay attended a conference on marriage chaired by Dolan in Poughkeepsie last September. “I sat for hours listening to people use their intelligence and power to denounce our families, our humanity,” recounted Fay. “The Pope welcomes conservatives. I would love to see him welcoming the gifts of progressive Catholics.”

On a recent Sunday evening, Morris stood in the small hall of St. John’s, and addressed his fiercely close-knit congregation. The focus of the service was solidarity, and Morris reflected on Dolan’s anti-gay message.

“The Archbishop could have written to President Obama about the hundreds starving in New York, the children in third world countries dying every day, or even the plight of those Americans unemployed in these tough economic times,” said Morris, arms outstretched and his unusual off-white habit hanging down from them. “Instead he chose to complain about homosexual love.”

For Dignity members, weekly mass is more than a refuge from traditional Catholic dogma. Lay homilists are routinely encouraged to participate, and the ritual mid-service greetings are taken a step further; as the congregation respectfully comes to a pause so that individual members may say prayers for loved ones, the sick, the poor, or anyone on their minds.

“In Dignity, we are fully able to support who we are,” said Dignity communications officer Jeff Stone, 56, whose family comes from Galway. “We are part of the broader fight for gay rights.”

Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (0)

A Church Named for a Filipino Saint Draws Filipinos to Little Italy

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The official “Church of Filipinos” of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is not a typical parish.  Its congregation is mostly commuters and walk-ins from the neighborhood.  Despite its modest attendance, administrators hope that the chapel will continue to serve the Filipino and surrounding communities. Jaslee Carayol reports.


Jaslee Carayol: The Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Little Italy is not the typical parish.  Instead of just serving the surrounding area, the chapel is visited by members of the Filipino community from around New York City.  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York calls it the “Church of Filipinos.” The Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz is housed in a three-story brick building on Broome Street.  The pews can accommodate up to 250 people.  A crucifix glows above the altar; flowers and religious icons frame the space. Leila Sumulong is a daily worshipper and usually attends a different church closer to her home.  But as a Filipina she feels a special connection to the Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz.

Leila Sumulong: “It’s hard to explain.  Being Filipino as well as somehow knowing that you come from the same country, being in a foreign country and being in a church that’s dedicated to Catholic Filipino saint, somehow gives you a feeling of being at home.”

Carayol: Sumulong chose to have a Mass in her deceased husband’s honor at San Lorenzo Ruiz because he wanted to visit the chapel dedicated to the first Filipino saint. Corazon Lontok lives in Bayside, Queens and drives in to attend the twice-weekly services at San Lorenzo Ruiz.  Last year she started an initiative she calls KCOP – the Keep the Chapel Open Project.  Lontok aims to get Filipinos to donate one dollar a month to the chapel.

Corazon Lontok: “Nobody’s going to support this church – it’s not going to be Chinese, Koreans, Italians – but Filipinos because San Lorenzo Ruiz is a Filipino saint.”

Carayol: Lontok says the church is still being evaluated by the Archdiocese.  That’s why it needs active members who attend the Mass.  That sentiment is echoed by Antero Martinez who plays the keyboard in the choir.  He is among those working to promote the struggling chapel.

Antero Martinez: “I always believe that it’s the chapel that could.  It could grow, it could encourage people to come and of course to venerate the Filipino saint.”

Carayol: The churchgoers are not the only ones who believe in the importance of the chapel.  Father Joseph Marabe took on running San Lorenzo Ruiz in addition to his duties at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He believes the chapel is good for the community.

Reverend Joseph Marabe: “And the Filipino Apostolate here has been since we started has been the ground of unifying force.  And that’s a positive thing that we are doing in the community, not only praying, but unifying people.”  

Carayol: There are distinct goals for the future of the Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz.  Among those goals are fundraising to maintain the building and increasing attendance.  The Filipino community will continue to support the chapel dedicated to the first Filipino saint. Jaslee Carayol, Columbia Radio News

Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (0)

On the Day of the Lord of Miracles, Peruvians Carry Christ

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

by Nathan Vickers

Men in purple robes flooded the streets of Paterson, NJ on a recent Sunday to celebrate Peru’s most notable holiday, the Day of the Lord of Miracles.

The holiday celebrates the survival of a religious painting, the only thing left after the destruction of a church in a Lima earthquake 350 years ago. Peruvians regard the painting’s preservation as a miracle, a sign of God’s blessings bestowed upon Peru.

Now, in a month most people would associate with the colors black and orange, Peruvians call October “the purple month.”

Louis Bardales was one of more than 200 Peruvian men who dressed in purple and took turns carrying an image of the Crucifixion down River St. in Paterson, part of a series of parades throughout October.

Bardales said when he was young he became very sick, so his mother prayed for a miracle in exchange for his service to God.

“I was dying and my mother, she asked God to help me out, told Him I was going to carry Him,” Bardales said.

He said he recovered, and has since kept his promise. This was his 20th year carrying “Him,” the image of Jesus, in the parade.

The image sat on a large base decorated with banners, jewels, flowers, and four stone statuettes of angels. It weighed nearly 1000 pounds.

The men carry the icon in a different community every weekend. They will finish with a much larger procession in Manhattan at the end of the month.

It took 20 of them at a time to carry the image slowly down the street, 150 paces at a time. They swayed back and forth to the beat of a solemn marching band. When it was time to switch off an older member rung a bell, stopping them. On his command they slowly lowered the image to the ground and took a break to pray.

“Of course it’s heavy,” said Bardales, “but it feels good to carry Him. When you carry Him you feel, like, a relief. It’s a relief that his giving is strong, that’s what I feel.”

The parade lasted nearly six hours, which Bardales said is typical.

As the men trudged down the street, people clamored over each other trying to reach the image. They stretched their fingers out until they barely brushed it, then crossed themselves and said a prayer.

Rosa Garcia said to touch the image is to receive a blessing from directly from Jesus.

“The Lord is going to forgive you for your sins and for everything you’ve done,” she said.” A lot of people really believe He is the Lord of Miracles.”

Garcia said she and her 12-year-old son, Jovan Poggi, come and see the parade for the spiritual experience, but also for the cultural connection to their country.

“If you just come and watch you feel how…the harmony and the spiritual thing goes on and you feel that there is something more,” she said. “It’s something very interesting for a lot of people.”

“They feel so united. Everybody just gets it once a year,” she added.

Jovan, a dancer in the parade, said he sees the procession as an opportunity to use his talents to express spirituality.

“When you dance you have the heart to dance in front of God, too,” he said.

Street vendors lined the sidewalks, selling traditional Peruvian foods like choclo (Peruvian corn), jugo de maiz morado (purple corn juice), and some hard-to-find dishes like veal hearts and cow stomach.

“It’s good, but you have the sauce and it’s spicy,” said Luis Veratudela, explaining the veal hearts.

Veratudela said he sells food at the parades in October as a weekend hobby.

“I do this just because I like it,” he said. “I have a job and I don’t really need to do this but it’s sort of a tradition and I like to keep up with it…I want to do this for the Lord of Miracles.”

Veratudela said the religious undertones of the parade are handed down through Peruvian culture. That’s why the parades include traditional foods, dancing, and singing alongside the solemn tribute to Christ.

“We brought that tradition here,” he said.

Cecilia Centurion, who helped plan the parade, agreed. She said the generational importance of the parades is part of the tradition.

“It’s our faith that comes from our parents, our grandparents, and now to our children, too,” she said. “When I was a little girl my mother always brought me to the procession. When I see all that my mother asks, and all my family’s good. So we have many thanks to say to God.”

Click to read the transcript

Nathan Vickers: A solemn marching band trudges behind a procession of priests, dancers, and a group of 20 men dressed in vibrant purple robes. The men are carrying an elaborately decorated icon of Jesus Christ. It’s big–the size of a Volkswagen. They sway side-to-side as they march. 150 paces later an elder stops them.

Ambience: Shouting….”Presente,” etc., “ding,” applause.

Vickers: He rings a bell and the men carefully lower the icon to the ground.  As the crowd applauds, they stop to rest.

Louis Bardales: “Of course it’s heavy but it feels good to carry him.”

Vickers: That’s Louis Bardales, who has been carrying him–that is, the image of Jesus–for 20 years now. He says carrying the image gives him spiritual satisfaction.

Bardeles: “When you carry him you feel like a relief. That’s what I feel. It’s not like, ‘Oh I got to carry him…’ The way I feel about it is that I like to carry him.”

Vickers: Bardales and some 200 other Peruvian men take turns carrying the image through various New Jersey communities. There will be a much larger procession in Manhattan at the end of the month. Cecilia Centurion helps organize the parades. She says they unite the Peruvian community, and carry on traditions from her country.

Cecilia Centurion: “It’s our faith that comes from our parents, our grandparents, and now to our children, too. When I was a little girl my mom always brought me to the procession. I see what she’s asking and I see that my family is good…so we have too many thanks to say to God.”

Vickers: As the image of Christ passes through the crowd people reach for the statue, their fingers outstretched. Many Peruvians believe to touch the icon is to receive a blessing directly from the lord. It’s a spiritual bond, and one that connects them to their native country. For Faith in the City, I’m Nathan Vickers.

Read more on the Day of the Lord of Miracles.

Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (1)

A Catholic LGBT Community Finds a Home

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Gay marriage agitated the age-old struggle between faith and sexuality in New York’s Catholic community. As Church conservatives become more guarded, a small group of mostly Irish-American Catholics continue to bless everyone under God’s colorful rainbow. Ines Novacic reports.


Ines Novacic: The Episcopal Church of St John stands unassuming in a line of Greenwich Village buildings. The crowd that files in is also seemingly ordinary. But once inside, everything about the service resists normalcy. This is a Catholic mass in a Protestant Church, led by an openly gay priest. This is a gathering of the religious LGBT community called “DIGNITY”.

Ambience: Church Music, Prayer

Father Jim Morris: Whatever one’s sexual orientation I think needs to be a part of one’s faith.

Novacic: That’s Father Jim Morris. He’s an Irish-American clergyman who’s been in a same-sex relationship for almost 10 years. Morris says he left his diocese in Brooklyn because he longed to be surrounded by people who share his experiences.

Morris: Being a Roman Catholic priest and being a celibate male and not being part of one’s community I found difficult to do.

Novacic: Morris joined Dignity New York in 1993, almost 20 years after it was established by John MacNeill. MacNeill is Irish-American and a gay Jesuit priest. His book entitled ‘The Church and the Homosexual’ spearheaded homosexual theology. Brendan Fay is a member of Dignity who made a documentary film about MacNeill’s work. Fay says that sexuality within religion is a life and death issue.

Brendan Fay: This is not just a conversation about theological documents or religious ideas. People are hurt by the denouncements, by the use of religion in this way.

Novacic: Fay describes DIGNITY as a group of Catholics in exile. This September, he attended a conference about marriage and the family chaired by Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Like most New York Archbishops, Dolan is both conservative and ethnically Irish. Fays says he sat for hours listening to Dolan denounce his community.  Dolan summarized his traditional view on marriage in an August interview on the show 60 Minutes.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan on 60 Minutes: Marriage by definition is a man and a woman, for life, giving children.

Novacic: Other Irish-American conservative Catholics have taken to blaming homosexuals for recent Church molestation controversies. As Father Morris closes the Dignity service, the community looks to the beginning of October and the Feast of St Francis. But Fay is among those who wonder why the Church can bless people’s pets, but not homosexual love. Ines Novacic, Columbia Radio News.

Ambience: Morris closes service, Prayer, Church Music

Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (0)

At a Historic Italian Church, A Diverse Feast of the Rosary

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

by Olivia Smith

The Church of Our Lady of Pompei celebrated a distinctly Italian tradition, Feast of the Rosary, on Sunday, Oct. 2, together with their Filipino and Brazilian neighbors.

“Our Lady of Pompei is becoming the mother of the migrants,” said The Rev. Walter Tonelotto, who delivered the mass today.

Italian Catholics founded this West Village church located at 25 Carmine Street in 1892, but over time other ethnicities have come to adopt the Italian faith and culture.

“We’ve got the Filipino group, the Brazilian group, the Italian group and the American group now,” said Ed Pascual, a volunteer at the church.

Pascual, who is Filipino, said his community has been a part of Our Lady of Pompei for the last 25 years. While the church is more diverse now, its traditions are rooted in Italian culture.

“This neighborhood used to be all Italian,” said Brother Michael LaMantia, the spiritual director of the church. “The immigrants from Naples brought their faith with them when they came to America.”

This feast has been celebrated in Italy for centuries to honor the Lady of the Rosary, also known as the Virgin Mary. It always takes place the first Sunday of every October and includes a mass dedicated to the rosary, a parade and a feast.

“Most Italians came to New York from southern Italy,” Tonelotto said. “And before they came, they used to pray to the huge shrine of Our Lady of Pompei in Naples because the voyage was difficult.”

The trip by boat took about a month on average, according to Tonelotto. Once the Church of Pompei was built in Manhattan, it served as a symbol of the immigrants’ homeland through the shine of the Lady of Pompei.

“A gentleman named Bartolo was an atheist and there was a miracle where he had a vision of the Blessed Mother,” explained Italo Dimodica, who is an Italian-American worshipper at Our Lady of Pompei. “After that Bartolo devoted his life to praying the rosary and that is where this tradition comes from.”

About 300 parishioners filled the spacious sanctuary to commemorate the Virgin Mary, who the Catholics believe signifies safety and unity. Sun flowed in through the colorful, stained glass windows that decorate the walls.

People blessed themselves with the sign of the cross as they sat on the hard wooden benches. A thick smell of burning incense filled the church as the parishioners sang and chimes echoed.

Tonelotto, who has been a priest for 36 years, started the mass with “una breve preghiera per la protezione,” a short prayer for protection.

Other Italian prayers in honor of the rosary were devoted to Catholics who have recently left the church and lost their faith. The entire congregation joined in with the help of pamphlets that were handed out in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Tonelotto explained how although the Feast of the Rosary originated in Italy, the faith has now spread to different societies through the Italian immigrants and their migration to different countries.

“Even in Montreal there is an Our Lady of Pompei,” Tonelotto said, “and in Caracas and Sydney.”

These other countries picked up the Italian traditions and continued them, according to Tonelotto. But it is not only the faith these ethnicities embraced, it is the culture as well.

Little girls wearing white, red and green dresses led the parade that followed the mass. Although they were wearing Italy’s colors, they are American girls- with ancestors from around the world. A band played “God Bless America,” while everyone marched in the street. Some carried crosses while others held up shrines of the Virgin Mary covered in flowers.

“My grandmother grew up here and my mom got married in this church,” said Italian-American Mary Giblin, who lives on Carmine Street and attended the parade. “I like how Our Lady Of Pompei continues to bring the Italian culture into the community and all of these other people are celebrating it now.”

The Feast of the Rosary ended with a late lunch in the basement of the church. Brazilians, Filipinos and Italians piled their plates with meatballs and mounds of spaghetti covered in bright, red pasta sauce.  

Click to read the transcript

Olivia Smith: Our Lady of Pompei is located on Carmine Street. Outside vendors sell jewelry to tourists. But inside, Catholics pray to the Lady of the Rosary. Sun flows in through the large stained glass windows. About 300 people fill the church’s spacious sanctuary. They bless themselves with the sign of the cross as they sit on the hard wooden benches.

Ambience: Parishioners singing

Smith: Our Lady of Pompei dedicates this service to the Virgin Mary. This special mass is always the first Sunday of every October. It comes from a tradition that originated in Naples. Many early Italian settlers emigrated from there. They carried their faith with them to America. Father Walter Tonelotto delivered the mass today. He looks like Santa Claus but without the beard. He describes how religion was important to the Italian immigrants who settled here.     

Father Walter Tonelotto: “It was like a connection between their homeland and the land here, through the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei. Now the community is multicultural you see.”

Smith: Father Tonelotto says the Italians brought the tradition here. Then different ethnic groups picked up on those traditions. Now they all pray together.

Ambience: Singing

Ed Pascual: “We’ve got the Filipino group, the Brazilian group, the Italian group and the American group.”

Smith: That’s Ed Pascual. He is Filipino and says his community has been a part of the church for 25 years. These different ethnicities have adopted this faith into their culture. A culture that started with Italian immigrants like Mary Giblin’s grandmother. Giblin lives here now, across the block from Our Lady of Pompei. As she rocks her baby daughter to sleep she talks about her family.  

Mary Giblin: “My mom was born and got married in this church. We try to keep the family in the neighborhood still keeping Little Italy in the West Village alive.”

Smith: It does feel like Little Italy here today. The other ethnic groups seem comfortable in the church. But the mass is still conducted in Italian. People shake hands with one another. It is a sign of peace. The rosary is given a special blessing. Italo Dimodica comes to this service every year. He is fluent in Italian and explains the meaning of the prayer.

Italo Dimodica: “They were praying for the clergy and praying for people to return to the church, praying for the reunion of the family.”

Ambience: Parade music and singing

Smith: After mass people file into the street for the parade. Little girls wear red and green dresses. Shrines of saints are carried through the streets. When the marching is done everyone goes into the church’s basement. And sits to indulge in pasta and meatballs.

Olivia Smith, Columbia Radio News.

Posted in Archives, UncategorizedComments (3)

Torch on Twitter