Feast Day Celebration - 22 August 2010

Oh great San Bartolomeo, Apostle of Christ, protector of Ustica and all of her descendants throughout the world. We gather today in your honor and ask your continued blessings for the beloved island of our forefathers, for our society and for all our friends here today.

Viva San Bartolomeo!

Members of the Congregazione di San Bartolomeo Apostolo lead a procession at mass fronted by the original banner of the society.

And so began the 132nd celebration of the San Bartolomeo Feast Day on Sunday, August 22nd by the Congregazione di San Bartolomeo Apostolo. The proper celebration of this feast day was one of the primary reasons the group was organized in 1879 and we are very proud that after a few years of inactivity, we continued that tradition with a mass and procession at Our Lady of the Rosary Church followed by lunch at Andrea's Restaurant. In a way, the day was a test to see if we could match the enthusiasm and participation of the organization under the leadership of Peter and Dolly Bertucci for the past 4 decades. With about 90 members and nearly 100 attending lunch, I'm proud to say that things are looking great for the society and we have a bright future of growth and outreach ahead of us.

At each table, was a print of a photo taken on Ustica just two nights before. It is a view of the main street of Ustica taken from the piazza in front of the church and you can see that the town was prepared for the big celebration that week with a canopy of lights overhead and the cafes overflowing with seating into the street, now cleared of cars and traffic. The internet site (www.usticasape.com) where the picture originated is run by Pietro Bertucci of Ustica and it has become "the" social networking site for people from Ustica, tourists and Usticesi descendants worldwide. It's a great way to exchange information and Pietro is to be commended for the tremendous amount of work invested in maintaining the site. We may have the opportunity to thank him in person. He and his wife Pina are planning to be here in November.

View of the town of Ustica as it prepares for the feast day of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, the patron saint of Ustica, on August 24th.

The executive board of the CSBA is composed of myself, Chris Caravella - President, Christopher Skinner - Vice President, Judy Fallo Myer - Treasurer and Ken Boe - Secretary. The Committee Chairs are Kim Broussard - Media, Loella Barilleau - Outreach, Larie Tedesco - Membership and Chris Bertucci - Events. Our Member-At-Large is JoEva Picone Flettrich. Together these 9 people form the voting members of the Board of Directors. In addition, we also have a special appointment to represent the CSBA at meetings of the Italian American Federation and other organizations dedicated to the Italian American community. This is Matthew DelBuono - CSBA Representative. These are the folks that make everything happen and they've done a great job of dedicating their time and talent to making this a successful and enjoyable society.

We also had some special guests at the celebration. From the greater Italian American community, was Sal Serio - President of the Cefalutana Society, Joe Distefano - Executive Vice President of the Italian American Federation of the Southeast and Barbara Picone DeSoto, President of the Jefferson Genealogical Society and also a CSBA member. We also had a few members that had traveled quite a ways to be here with us. From California, was Mike and Shirley Taranto Francis. Shirley also rounded up a large group of Taranto and Fallo family members from the Mississippi Gulf Coast who were in attendance. The day was also a special one for members, Chuck and Diane Henry, who were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. And, always saving the best for last, we had Peter and Dolly Bertucci, who together lead this organization for 46 years. With this being our first year in office, we thought it appropriate to honor them with some gifts in appreciation of their faithful service to the Usticese community in America. To Peter was presented a plaque in honor of his service as President of the CSBA and to Dolly a beautiful silver pendant of San Bartolomeo.

Ronnie Virgets (famiglia Verdichizzi) and Chris Bertucci enjoying the well-attended feast day lunch.

We still have a few events planned for this year. We're considering a presentation on Ustica as a vacation destination, a genealogy seminar in conjunction with the New Orleans Public Library, and a large party for Pietro and Pina Bertucci who, as I mentioned, plan on making the trip to New Orleans in November. We invite everyone to visit our website at www.ustica.org to explore our portal to the world and join us in the celebration of our Italian American heritage.

Chris Caravella
President, Congregazione di San Bartolomeo Apostolo