Monday, September 12, 2016

Honoring Maria SS Addolorata: The Annual 'Our Lady of Sorrows' Procession Through Carroll Gardens Took Place Yesterday

photo credit: Chance Bliss

As in years past, the congregation of Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen R.C. Church in Carroll Gardens and the people of Mola Di Bari, Italy honored their hometown patron saint, Maria SS. Addolorata with a procession through the streets of Carroll Gardens.
On Sunday afternoon at around 4 pm,  the faithful carried the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows on their shoulders, stopping along the way for food and drinks.  Upon their return to Sacred Hearts - St. Stephen Church on Summit Street near Hicks Street,  mass was celebrated in Italian by by Bishop
Raymond Chappetto followed by a fireworks display.

According to a  special web site on Maria Addolorata,
"the congregation of Maria SS Addolorata was established in 1948 in Brooklyn, New York, by the Italian immigrants from the town of Mola in Bari, Italy. Longing to continue the traditions of their faith and culture the congregation was formed in their new neighborhood of South Brooklyn at the Parish of Sacred Hearts - St. Stephen. At that time a replica of the statue of their hometown patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows, was commissioned and shipped by boat across the Atlantic from Mola to Brooklyn. 
Since that time the statue has been the inspiration of great devotion and faith. The statue is carried on the shoulders of men twice a year through the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens in South Brooklyn. These occasions are Good Friday and the Feast of Addolorata on the second Sunday in September. On these occasions devotees from the tri-state area and beyond gather back at the old neighborhood to walk in the footsteps of generations past that came to this great country with hope and dreams of a new life guided by their faith and the intersession of the Blessed Mother under the title of Addolorata."

I would like to thank fellow Carroll Gardener Chance Bliss for allowing me to use his photos of yesterday's procession.  Thanks, Chance!


Anonymous said...

Fabulous. I always miss this and as the generation ages will this procession continue as a reminder to the new residents? A reminder of the history of where they are living now and of the history of New York City in general.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that new residents will care. They are a different generation from different backgrounds and from different parts of the country, and many probably consider it provincial. We have an ongoing issue in CG with the "new residents" complaining about the ringing of the St. Agnes carillon on the hour AND -- get this -- complaining about their precious parking spaces being taken away by funerals, of all things. I am not kidding. Can you imagine the nerve?

chance bliss said...

to anonymous at 3:51 pm - i'm sad to read your observations and i don't doubt them, but i'm one of the new residents - new by seven years now - and i aslo took the photos, and i've always hoped that this tradition will last - at least outlast me.

even though neither my wife and i are italian, we hold these local customs in high regard. it's part of what makes the neighborhood special. just as we love the church bells and the smell of the coffee beans roasting on court street.

this particular procession was well-attended, and there were many bystanders too, so i'm optimistic that we're far from its final years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:51 here. Chance bliss, I think it's great that you appreciate this tradition. Thank you for that, it's nice to hear. But I can tell you from personal experience that over time, this tradition, too, shall fade. From the mid-50s to the mid-60s at least, Sacred Heart/St. Stephen used to have a procession and street festival for two or three blocks on Henry Street and on Summit down to the church to honor St. Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo, Sicily.

This was a big deal, and the festival was heavily attended by residents in the area. My grandfather was a member of the St. Rosalia Society, and he was one of the big strong men who carried her statue through the neighborhood. A friend of my grandfather's (a butcher from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx) would attend every year and entertain the crowd with his beautiful tenor voice singing tradional Italian songs. I'll always remember bugging my parents to know when the festival would happen (September 4 for several days), so I could see my grandfather carry that statue. Of course, I also loved the games of chance, the cotton candy (which was a challenge to get my parents to buy for me), and begging them to buy me one of those fancy princess dolls on sticks. My grandfather always came to the rescue after the procession! I'm sure there are many people of my age who will remember those dolls!

Great memories for sure, but just that now, memories. As the older generation passes, it will be up to the younger members of the congregation to continue the Addolorata tradition. I don't know how many of them will be remain so committed and for how long.

Unknown said...

For half a dozen years my wife and I lived on Union Street, then moved to Court Street before returning to our home country. So, while we were 'new residents' and foreigners as well, and no longer live in CG, we look back with heartfelt fondness of our years there. We became part of the vibrant CG community while living there. In fact, after witnessing the procession for the first time I went out of my way to meet the men who ran it and was then immediately invited to join them in carrying the statue the following year. They were welcoming and inclusive and in no way precious about a 'new resident' being part of this neighbourhood tradition. When it came my turn to shoulder the statue we were walking down Court Street and it was the most amazing experience. I never once considered it provincial nor did any of the other 'new residents' that I am still friendly with. I know that 'new residents' cop a lot of flack, and sometimes they might deserve it, but there are a hell of a lot of 'new residents' that have become a positive part of CG and have just as much pride and love for the CG community as their neighbour might.
I'll go on to add two anecdotes that might be of interest to anonymous at 3:51.
I had a neighbour when living on Union Street, an older American-Italian guy - and we became good pals. We'd chat about a lot of things. One time he invited me to come inside and share a glass of wine. Which I did. At the table, he shook my hand and in earnest told me that I was the first person from the block that he'd ever invited into his house. He was born, married and passed away on the same block. I felt incredibly honoured and welcomed into the fabric of not only their home but of the street.
Another experience: I went out of my way to meet with the older gents who hang out by the bocce court. I would be half their age. I told them I'd love to get a key for the court. It took me about several months of talking with them before they told me who I needed to speak to. They also told me they thought 'no-one care's about the bocce court no more', but happily I'd proved them wrong. They were always happy to see me and my expat and american friends playing there when we could. Often they'd come in and sit around and once or twice they even joined in. I still own the key to the bocce 'cage' and head there for a game with my CG mates whenever I'm in NY.
I hope that anonymous at 3:51 can see that while yes, some 'new residents' might need an attitude adjustment - there are many, many more that become, like my wife and I feel we did, positive, interacting, inclusive and engaged members of the CG community.

Katia said...

Wonderful comments.

Anonymous said...

3:51 here again. Unknown, please don't misconstrue my comments. I can see very well that many more new residents are positive members in this community. I did not paint all of them with a broad brush. There are many so-called newcomers on my block especially, all with a varying number of years of residence. (I've been here for all 63 yearsof my life, educated in the neighborhood's parochial schools, attended college in Manhattan and worked there my entire 40+ year career, and I consider myself to be pretty liberal minded. I don't have a provincial cell in my body, so you need not worry about that.) The new residents that I know are neighborly, pleasant, we always have nice conversations together, we socialize when possible, and also help each other with recommendations and referrals for neighborhood services.

The new residents I referred to in my initial post are those who complain about anything and everything that doesn't meet with their "approval" or "bothers" them, i.e., those who actively and continuously complain about the St. Agnes carillon and repeatedly file complaints with 311, among other things, and those who now grouse about parking spaces taken up by a funeral which, by the way, usually don't happen daily and parking is reserved for a couple of morning hours. This attitude I would consider to be unacceptable to reasonable people. I am not making this up. It is true.

I see that you (even though you have returned to your native country) and Chance bliss are among the "new" residents who are happy to be part of this community, those who volunteer for numerous of our public facilities, plan and participate in community activities, and I hope to be one of those volunteers when I eventually retire and can commit my free time. I appreciate and welcome these people here. It's what makes a neighborhood a true "neighborhood."

As for the Addolorate procession which is a lovely tradition, I still think that it will eventually fade into memory as St. Rosalia did so many years ago. Sad, yes, but almost inevitable. Maybe not in the near future, but give it another 20-30 years.

Concetta said...

I wish that the 'newcomers' not smirk & laugh during the procession. Lack of respect & class.