by Aurora Pensa
The Italian Catholic Federation was founded in 1924 in San Francisco by a group of Italian immigrants wishing to strengthen the Catholic religion in their community. The ICF has since developed into a nonprofit organization with many branches nationwide, embracing Catholics of all cultures. Its primary mission is to support local parishes and communities, provide financial assistance to various charities, encourage young seminarians with a scholarship fund and promote the preservation of a vibrant Italian heritage.
The Italian Catholic Federation of St. Francis Borgia Branch 392 was established about 25 years ago, and is committed to the apostolic works of the Catholic Church, faith, family and heritage.
Each year ICF Branch 392 sponsors the Mother Cabrini Award Dinner Dance, honoring a couple that emulates the charitable works of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants and one of the patron saints of the ICF.
Branch 392 held its 14th annual Mother Cabrini Award Dinner Dance on Nov. 6, 2011. This year, Antonio and Anna Copertino were selected for their charitable work and commitment to preserve the Italian language and culture. Antonio and Anna’s caring spirit, generosity, and unrelenting community service is a testament to the inner beauty possessed by those with a deep sense of faith and goodwill.
The festivities began with a beautiful Mass celebrated by the Rev. Augusto Feccia at St. Francis Borgia Church. The dinner followed soon after at Porretta’s Banquets. Enzo Incandela and his delightful daughter, Iliana, provided the music and entertainment for the evening.
As the Copertinos made their way into the hall, they were greeted by Master of Ceremonies Gino Nuccio and a warm round of applause from the many ICF members, friends and family gathered to congratulate the couple.
The Rev. Charles Fanelli, ICF Regional Chaplain; the Rev. Richard Milek, pastor of St. Francis Borgia Parish; the Rev. Augusto Feccia, spiritual leader of the Italian community; Teresa Helfand, president of ICF Branch 392 and Central Council member; and the couple’s charming children, Giuseppe and Domenica, were among the notable speakers at the event, congratulating the couple for their exemplary work.
At the conclusion of the speeches, Teresa Helfand presented the couple with the Cabrini Award and letters of recognition received from His Eminence Archbishop Cardinal George and from state and local political figures, such as U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Copertinos were truly touched by the outpouring of good wishes and support from family and friends. Accordingly, Antonio thanked everyone, particularly ICF Branch 392, for the recognition given to him and his lovely wife for their past endeavors and contributions.
As a culmination to a wonderful evening, and consistent with the Copertinos’ generosity, the couple made three unexpected donations. Their first donation was to Radio Maria, to help keep the Italian religious programming over the airwaves for the elderly, ill and shut-ins. The second was given to Italidea to assist with the Italian language classes and cultural programs. The final contribution was given to ICF Branch 392 to assist their apostolic work.
Thanks to a hard-working planning committee, the evening’s celebration was a success. The food was delicious, the speeches were captivating, and the music was entertaining!