Casa Italia will be transformed into a Calabrian wonderland from Aug. 10 to 13 when the 36th annual Festa della Famiglia in honor of San Francesco di Paola takes over the grounds. The event is blessed to be able to welcome back Archbishop Blase Cupich as the main celebrant at its Sunday Mass for the second year in a row.
Jointly sponsored by Società San Francesco di Paola and the Calabresi in America Organization, this mega-event that honors the patron saint of Calabria and annually attracts thousands began modestly enough.
The brainchild of Joe Bruno and the late Rev. Roberto Simionato, the feast started out with a Mass at St. Charles Borromeo and has blossomed into a four-day extravaganza that begins with a triduo, vesper service and torchlight procession and culminates in a day-long celebration that features a Mass, procession and family festival with live entertainment, food and beverages, and fireworks.
Entertainment will be provided by the popular children’s ensemble 4 Strings Attached, Liliana Bartolotta, Elisa Lo Duca, the Sicilian Band of Chicago, the Casa Italia Choir, Canadian vocalist Paul London and Italian tenor Stefano Gagliardi.
The festa raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for charities that range from Casa Italia and the Italian Cultural Center to Radio Maria, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles and scholarships for seminarians.