The Importance of our Feasts: Our Lady of Sacro Monte
Growing up, going to a local feast with family and friends was always a special time. For me, the strongest memory of attending a feast was going to the Feast of Saint Gerard in Newark. Attending mass as a family, playing a few games, listening to the music, and of course picking up zeppoles!
Organizing an event like a feast takes an incredible amount of planning, organization, dedication, and of course, money. It is not surprising then, when feasts that have been around for decades, and longer, fall to the wayside. Every feast needs a captain to keep the ship afloat.
The Santuario della Madonna del Sacro Monte, or Shrine of Our Lady of the Sacred Mountain, on Mount Gelbison, outside of Novi Velia, Salerno, has for centuries been a place of pilgrimage from the southern Italian regions of Campania, Basilicata and Calabria.
If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you have certainly read about the amazing individual that is Pat. Originally from North Arlington, he has a strong Catholic faith. He attended Queen of Peace High School. He completed his undergraduate studies at Seton Hall University (another reason I like this guy) and received his J.D. from Seton Hall Law School. He has his own private law practice in New Jersey and is a professor of law at Montclair State University.
Pat has combined his love of his heritage and his amazing faith to revitalize this feast.
Love for the Madonna of Sacro Monte was carried to the United States by Cilentano immigrants who arrived in the United States at the turn of the last century. In Jersey City, where many of them settled, an annual devotion was started, celebrated at Holy Rosary Church every May where a statue of “Maronna ru Monte” would be carried in procession. In the late 1960s the devotees from Jersey City moved their celebration to Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. At the Monastery they constructed a stunning outdoor shrine to the Madonna and brought a small statue for veneration.
The annual celebration at Holy Face Monastery ended in 1980. It was revived in 2012 by Cilentani and their descendants in New Jersey inspired by what they perceive to be a number of miraculous events which they felt were a very clear indication that Heaven wished this devotion in New Jersey to be not only revived, but to spread and flourish.
Pat has been a HUGE part of that revitalization.
The feast begins tomorrow night at Holy Face Monastery with Novena beginning at 7:00 p.m.
If you are in the position to financially contribute, please make a donation at the feast’s official GoFundMe page.
I encourage everyone in the area to attend this special event and feel the love of this community and Mother Mary. And if you happen to bump into Pat over the weekend, make sure to say grazie mille for all he does for the community!