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Check out the new St. Anthony’s!

I’ve begun attending St. Anthony’s on a regular basis ever since my older brother Chester in Highland, Ind., became ill. I often spend a weekend at his place to visit and keep him company while he recovers. He is doing very well and, as a bonus, we’ve become “Sunday parishioners” at St. Anthony’s.

St. Anthony’s parish is a diverse group including the local Mexican neighbors who comprise the majority of the neighborhood residents; African-American residents from Roseland; parishioners from Pullman; and former parishioners who drive in from the city and suburbs.

Being a member of many groups with former Roselandites as members, the question of safety in attending services at St. Anthony’s has often been brought up. To me, it is obvious that the city is still asleep on Sunday mornings and a quick drive via the expressways to 115th isn’t a safety issue at all. However, taking a tour of the neighborhood may be something only the hardy like Dan Bovino, the photographer and keeper of The Roseland Roundtable, might do to add photos to the site.

There are still a number of parishioners who grew up in the St. Anthony’s of our childhoods, and still have vivid memories of the Holy Name carnival, Friday night bingo and “bingo pizza,” May crowning, St. Anthony and St. Alexander processions, and Gasparini’s Italian Marching Band. These present-day parishioners have either always lived where they are, or returned to their family homes as circumstances evolved.

Vince Zappetti has lived on east 117th Street at Calumet Ave. for the past 15 years or so. He enjoys taking long walks along Front Street to 115th Street. When relaxing at home, he is an avid HO Model Railroad Engineer operating two trains at a time on his extensive eight-track basement layout. He shops out west on 159th Street for the better prices and quality, and enjoys driving.

Jack Rossi can be seen in church serving at the altar or as an usher along with Vince. Jack and his sister Iona live in the family home on 116th St. across from Itzkey’s Junkyard. Jack is an avid golfer and is on the go playing as often as he can. Jack and his friend Fran, the St. Anthony organist, often go out dining in the south suburbs.

When I was going to Fenger Junior College, we had a group of about a dozen friends that got together often at Gil Munoz’ house. Gil attended St. Anthony School and lived on 116th St. When I first returned to St. Anthony’s for Mass it was very heartwarming to be welcomed with open arms by Gil’s mother, Julia. She and Gil’s sister Sandy have never moved from the family home on 116th.

Julia and I talked for quite awhile about her activities with the parish and the diversity of the neighborhood and the changes it has gone through. She recalled how rough it was many years ago, and how it has calmed down since the ’80s when drug dealing was rampant. She keeps a watch on the neighborhood and reports any incidents.

She mentioned that young people hang out around the corner store down on Indiana Avenue. I found that to be interesting since the store used to be a “Royal Blue” store where the “Bumtown Gents” hung out when we were growing up 50 years ago. … Some things never change.

Attending Mass at Saint Anthony’s is a very rewarding experience. After Mass, many of us head downstairs for coffee. If you’d like to have a reawakening of your roots, feel free to join us at 8:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday. We’d welcome you with open arms.

Note e Notizie
The annual St. Anthony’s parish picnic will take place on Aug. 15 at Wampum Lake, Thornton. Fr. Mark’s 50th birthday party was held July 3 and was a festive, casual occasion with Father generously requesting all gifts be a donation to the St. Anthony Building Fund — it’s never too late to give. Spaghetti-Os will host pen bowling on Aug. 8, Sept. 12 and Oct. 10 at Oak Forest Bowl. Their next meeting is Aug. 31. Veneti Nel Mondo will host the Feast of Madonna di Monte Berico on Aug. 29 with a 12:30 p.m. lunch at Villa Brunetti, $24. Their next meeting is Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m. in Carmel Hall at the Shrine of our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Melrose Park.

Contact CJ Martello at 1501 W. Belmont Ave. #708, Chicago, IL 60657; 773-525-7823; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com; Online: Roseland Roundtable on Facebook

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.