"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feeling Italian

Once a year, I'm reminded of Thomas Ferraro's (mostly) excellent book entitled Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America. Reading that book kind of made me want to feel Italian, but, having grown up in a mostly Irish-German-Dutch midwestern region, much of what he wrote was a bit of a stretch for me to comprehend. Now that I've been in Jersey for almost three years, however, I have to say that I now understand some of the whole "Italian" thing. And this weekend, I was definitely feeling Italian.

(Above, St. Anthony, arced by roses)

Our parish is a historical Italian national parish, and every summer we have a feast in honor of St. Anthony. It's a typical church festival with rides, games, festival foods (like funnel cakes, yum!), etc. But our new pastor, who is half Italian, is a huge fan of St. Anthony, and with the hard work of an extensive parish feast committee, he's added into the feast lots of stuff to make it more Italian and more about St. Anthony. For one thing, we now have a weekly St. Anthony novena (with solemn benediction) from the fall through the date of the feast. The last few weeks of this novena always mention prayers for good weather! And during the feast, the statue of St. Anthony is prominently displayed for prayer devotions. There are outside devotions as well (pin the dollar on the ribbon on St. Anthony!) and lots of St. Anthony sacramentals available for purchase.

(Above, Italian, American, Vatican flags in the Church)
But the climax of the feast comes on the last day where the noon solemn Mass is followed up by a procession with St. Anthony through the borough. Along with a feast band, police escort, and a St. Anthony icon, men from the parish carry the statue of St. Anthony through the streets. Those elderly parishioners unable to walk in the procession come out on their front porches to watch it go by.
(Above, the procession leaving the Church entrance, led by Knights of Columbus)
(Above, St. Anthony begins his journey)
(Above, St. Anthony heads down a main street in the borough)
(Jeff, Eva, and Patrick sweating out the procession)
(Above, a traditional feast band)
(St. Anthony reaches the half-way point)
(Above, the clergy)
(Above, the procession returns to church grounds)
(St. Anthony returns to take up his station at the feast)
Below are some pictures of the girls on the rides. The feast wasn't much fun for Patrick, who spent most of his time sweating profusely while strapped into his stroller.

Happy Feast of St. Anthony tomorrow! Hope it makes you feel Italian, too.

No comments: