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May Crowning at St. Anthony’s

“O Mary! We crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!” During the month of May, these were definitely familiar words for all of the St. Anthony Grade School children. However, they had special meaning for the girls of St. Anthony’s. Their major question: Who would be selected by the Sisters of St. Joseph to portray Mary in the procession and have the honor of crowning the statue of the Blessed Mother?

I asked a few St. Anthony girls for their memories of the May Crowning and all these years later, the event still holds a special place in their hearts. Each recounted the lifelong impression May Crowning had on them. They also mentioned how their memories have been triggered throughout the years by hearing the song, seeing a statue of the Blessed Mother, or simply being in church during the beautiful month of May.

My sister Tootsie (Augusta) recalls the maypole, with multi-colored ribbons hanging down, that was carried in the procession. She also recalls being a haloed and winged angel with some of the other girls and riding in a procession on a flatbed truck. Tony Petticora, class of ’53, a parish usher, recalled that she might also have taken part in a St. Alexander’s feast that wound its way through Kensington. I recall the May Crowning procession of 1961 taking place on a beautiful spring evening with all the grade school children marching to the statue in front of the kindergarten building for the actual crowning.

Rose Sartori Malato counts the May Crowning among her fondest memories, along with her desire to be selected as Mary. She didn’t get to place the crown on Mary, but Rose did attain the rank of “angel” in Mary’s court, and is sure Judy Filzone was chosen to crown Mary in ’63.

Jeanne Nelson Raffin, Brunette Ciprani Arsini and my sister Rosie recall that Joyce Felicicchia Malito always wanted to be selected to do the crowning. They don’t recall if she ever was selected, or got to be one of the angels, as Brunette did one year. I’m sure Joyce’s son Jim, both in Arizona, will get the information for us.

In 1967, the privilege of being Mary went to St. Anthony eighth grader Judy Del Favero, who later married Al Toscano, class of ’66, brother of my classmate Jim, ’61. Judy recalls being honored and in disbelief when the sisters told her she’d been chosen. Each May, she recalls what a terrific evening it had been and, to this day, how fond it made her of church traditions. Judy recalls that some of the members of her court were Debbie Basile, Chris Ortigara, and Donnamarie Marengo. Classmate Kathy Carney Lumbrazo recalls that, in Mrs. Tribbia’s kindergarten classes, each child had a chance to do the crowning during the month of May.

In Memoriam
Vivian Bonardi, nee Bonome, 91, formerly of Roseland and a Piemontesi nel Mondo member … Norma Jean Vallero, nee Pesavento, 92, formerly of Roseland … Eugene L. Brosseau, 88, formerly of Roseland … Julie Nichele, 101, lifelong resident of Pullman, mother of Gloria, Grace, Roger … Bernice G. Pretto, nee Purdy, 80, longtime West Pullman resident, mother of Dennis (LouAnn Sola).

Note e Notizie
St. Anthony’s Lenten Italian Night on March 26 was a great success, with plenty of smelt, perch, stuffed mushrooms and peppers. Dr. Richard and Sarah Ceragioli brought some great homemade grappa. … The Feast of St. Anthony will be celebrated on June 13 with a 9:30 a.m. procession and 10:30 a.m. bilingual Mass. … The alumni and parish dinner dance and reunion will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Chateau Bu-Sché. Call 773-468-1200. The Veneti nel Mondo will host a dinner dance at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at Villa Brunetti. Call Anna Galvan at 815-463-9303. … The Spaghetti-Os bowling outing was held at Oak Forest Lanes on March 21. Dennis Panozzo’s new hip seems to be working very well as he was the top bowler of the event. … The Tresche Conca Society will celebrate its 104th anniversary at a Mass in honor of San Luigi Gonzaga at 8:30 a.m. on Father’s Day, June 20. … Carol Santoro, now of Nashville, class of ’67, has a song, “Sox Fan/Cubs Man,” on cdbaby.com and iTunes, check it out! Blog: roselandpetalsfromroseland. Facebook: RoselandRoundtable. Hotel Florence: pullman-museum.org.

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.