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         News and Events - November 2014


San Vincenzo Feast in NY


The tradition continued with the 113th celebration of the Feast of San Vincenzo, Martire di Craco in New York City.

On October 26th Society members and local parishioners of St. Joseph's Church were treated to the spectacle of the special feast day Mass.

Among the legends surrounding San Vincenzo in Craco is one about a neighboring village trying to steal him by taking his relic. As they carried him the weight of the relic became heavier and heavier until they had to put it down on the roadside and could not pick it up. When the townspeople of Craco found it they heard a voice say, “Pick me up, bring me home and give me some music.”

The annual celebration in Craco always includes music and those at St. Joseph’s were treated to the spectacular voice of soprano Susan Mello.

Accompanied by Jeff Blocker with music from the historic organ that supplied the same melodies to our ancestors at St. Joachim’s Church since 1901 Susan included the unique “Hymn to San Vincenzo Martire” in the selections.

Our own Cracotan, Msgr. Nicholas Grieco was the primary celebrant and provided a homily that was rich in the history of San Vincenzo from 17000 years ago yet he was able to connect those ancient events with today’s world and current news headlines.

Rev. Fr. Lino Gonsavles, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church added to the celebration and informed the gathered crowd of his participation in administrative meetings to determine the fate of the church under the New York Diocese process called “Making All Things New.” The current plan is to announce decisions about changes in church structure on November 3.  Following the Mass the Society held a luncheon at the church hall.  

A highlight of that event was the recognition of three individuals who had been instrumental in their efforts to maintain the continuous tradition of the San Vincenzo Feast at St. Joseph’s Church.

Society president Joe Rinaldi cited the work done by Fr. Lino Gonsalves, Msgr. Nicholas Grieco and Stephen LaRocca and presented each with the newly created San Vincenzo figurine.

After a wonderful meal, that concluded with homemade Cracotan limoncello and deserts the day concluded with hopes for next year’s event.

Mark October 25, 1015 on your calendar for the 114th Feast of San Vincenzo in New York.


Viva San Vincenzo, Martire di Craco!


Mausoleum Mystery

 While researching material for the San Vincenzo Feast this startling stained glass image of him surfaced on the website of Fineartamerica.com.

Checking with the artist, Edward Weidman, we learned that he photographed the image at a mausoleum in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, NY. Unfortunately he did not record the name or location of the mausoleum.

This massive facility in New York City holds millions of graves and thousands of mausoleums. The cemetery managers are unable to identify the location of the mausoleum with this uniquely Cracotan artwork without the family surname.

A check with several families who have mausoleums there failed to locate the stained glass image. The search will continue to identify who literally took their devotion to San Vincenzo to their grave.

In the meantime, this beautiful artwork is available at Fineartamerica.com in eight different mediums. This image can be ordered as an art print, acrylic print, canvas print, framed print, greeting card, metal print, standard print and even a cell phone case.


St. Joseph’s Petition

In response to the petition the Society’s members submitted to keep St. Joseph’s Church open, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan referred us to Bishop John O’Hara who directs Making All Things New the archdiocese process that was designed to reconfigure the parishes.

Bishop O’Hara, appointed by Pope Francis in June, was formerly the pastor at the parish Church of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus on Staten Island and had served in the borough for 24 years.

Bishop O’Hara informed Fr. Lino Gonsalves, the pastor of St. Joseph’s Church that decisions about actions will not occur until November 3 saying additional information and details became available recently that should be considered.

Subsequently, several Society members individually contacted Bishop O’Hara to express the importance of St. Joseph’s Church not only to us but to the current community of immigrants.

The Cracotan connection to the Church of St. Joseph has roots in 1901 when our ancestors associated with St. Joachim’s Church on Roosevelt St., placing the statue and a relic of San Vincenzo, Martire there. In 1957 after the City of New York ordered the closing of St. Joachim’s Church for a redevelopment project the statue was relocated to St. Joseph's after being protected by the Gallo family at their home in Brooklyn.

Since then Crachesi descendants have supported St. Joseph's celebration of the feast day with a special Mass including the latest one last month. In recent years Society members invested in preservation of the statue and church organ to ensure they would be available to future generations.

It would be fitting if St. Joseph’s Church, remains open for the Society to expand its relationship in 2015 when the church will celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Viva la Chiesa di San Giuseppe!

Long live the Church of St. Joseph!


Amaro Lucano Label 

Amaro Lucano, the Cracotan’s preference among all the Amari made in Italy underwent a labeling change.

The classic label (shown left) has been replaced with a new version (right). Although the bottle may look different the unique flavor of Amaro Lucano still remains.

To learn more about the history of this well loved drink visit the Amaro Lucano website or better yet plan a trip to Pisticci and visit in person.


Click here to view A Year in Craco.  Events in Craco for every month are listed.  Thank you to Joe Rinaldi in Canada for his contribution to this page.

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