Tradition…a concept that is certainly not unique to the Italian and Italian American culture, but which is almost universally mentioned when telling the story of those who are of Italian heritage. Nevertheless, one is tempted to wonder if the paesani who immigrated to the United States from Morrone del Sannio, Campobasso (Region of Molise), Italy, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and who settled in the ethnic enclave that would become a vibrant “Little Italy” in downtown Jersey City, could have foreseen that their grandchildren and great grandchildren would, more than a century later, still be carrying on one of their grandest traditions. Probably not! Yet, that is exactly what is happening, as the third and fourth generation members of the Maria S.S. Dell’Assunta Society, founded by their Morronese ancestors in 1902, are now preparing for the 98th annual Feast of the Assumption, at Holy Rosary Church in historic downtown Jersey City.
La Festa Italiana, which now encompasses the feast of St. Rocco, in addition to the Assumption feast of old, includes both elements of the traditional Italian feast, combining spirituality with the typical Italian street festival. The religious celebration begins with a Novena in honor of Our Lady of the Assumption (Thursday, August 6th, to Friday, August 14th, at 7:00 p.m., with a candlelight procession through the streets of downtown Jersey City on la vigilia di festa August 14th) and culminates in the Assumption Feast Day Mass, to be celebrated by Most Rev. Thomas A. Donato, Aux. Bishop of Newark and Regional Bishop for Hudson County (11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 15th), and the St. Rocco Feast Day Mass, to be celebrated by Most Rev. Dominic A. Marconi, Ret. Aux. Bishop of Newark (11:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 16th).
The old-world style street festival will include deliziosi Italian food, full service bar, outdoor cafe, rides, games, and live entertainment. A highlight for many is the wine and peaches stand, proudly called “A Taste of Campobasso”, which is still operated by the Society and staffed by the descendants of its original founders, including the popular “Wine Girls”, who will be happy to serve you some of the best wine and peaches around!
YOU’RE INVITED TO JOIN US! On August 15th at 9:00 p.m., in front of the Campobasso wine stand, a special “toast” will be offered to honor all feast workers and Society members (including the memory of those who are no longer with us) who have worked hard to preserve Italian culture and the beautiful traditions that our ancestors carried with them from the old country. Don’t forget to wear your feast shirts, as we gather together for this unique display of unity, love, and respect! The festival will take place on 6th Street, between Brunswick and Monmouth Streets, in the Downtown section of Jersey City, and will run from Wednesday, August 12th, through Sunday, August 16th, 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.. For more details, call 201-795-0120 Ext. 103, or Carmine Colasurdo at 201-966-7745. Buona Festa a Tutti