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St. A’s is planning a Grand Reunion!

For many years on the last Sunday in April, past parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Roseland have gathered for a reunion breakfast in the church hall following the 9 a.m. Mass. This year, the event will take on a whole new scope and meaning.

An open invitation is extended to everyone with ties to the St. Anthony Parish or its parishioners to take part in a Grand Reunion in the church hall after an 8:30 a.m. Mass on April 30.

Monthly, the Spaghetti-Os meet at Carlo Lorenzetti’s on US30 in Chicago Heights. This group is composed of Italians, Swedish, Dutch, Polish, and Irish, all from Roseland and almost all with an association to the parish and its parishioners.

And there are many members of Roseland’s Catholic parishes such as Holy Rosary Irish, Holy Rosary Slovak, All Saints, St. Salomea, St. Willibrord, St. Nicholas, St. Catherine of Genoa, Sts. Peter and Paul, BVM Assumption and Mendel who have a strong connection to St. A’s.

This year, the goal is to bring all of these people together under one roof.

On any given Sunday, we have former and present parishioners from Lowell, Valparaiso, St. John, Munster, and Merrillville in Indiana and Tinley Park, Orland Park, Sauk Village, Riverdale, Dolton, and South Holland in the south suburbs.

So, expecting people from all across Chicagoland isn’t such a stretch, is it? Some of these folks won’t have been back to the area in 20 to 40 years.

St, Anthony’s has been a mainstay of the Kensington/Roseland/Pullman neighborhood for decades. The St. Anthony Festival in June is still a highlight, just as it was when the Holy Name Society, which all of our dads belonged to, sponsored it.

Today’s feast celebration might not have a carnival as in years past, but it has plenty of excitement, fun and prizes. And there is also plenty of food prepared with the many palates of St. Anthony’s parishioners and friends in mind. Over the years, Mexican and soul foods have been added to the menu along with traditional Italian fare.

With the passage of time, many new ethnicities have been welcomed into the St. Anthony family. Our Grand Reunion on April 30 will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy some good old nostalgia and a trip down memory lane.

To assist in that journey, there will be memory starter sheets on each table. There will also be photos on display of all the St. Anthony 8th grade classes as well as local festivals and businesses. The goal is for everyone to feel comfortable visiting the place where so many of the fond memories of our youth took place. A get-together of the class of 1967 is being organized in conjunction with the event.

None of us is getting any younger and the opportunities for reunions are dwindling. Now, instead of weddings and births, it’s the end-of-life celebrations that bring us together. Except for our upcoming Grand Reunion, that is.

I hope to see you all on April 30.

On a personal note, I would like to invite you to the next performance of “George Pullman: The man and his model town.” My one-man show for the South Holland Historical Society will be open to the public at 7 p.m. on April 18 at the American Legion Hall, 443 E. 157th St. (just east of South Park Avenue) in South Holland.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com.

About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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