Turns out there is a whole St. Rocco Society in New York and there are processions in Chicago, Boston, and PA. So, it's not totally without history. St. Rocco is also a good one to spend time learning about. He is the Patron against Contagious Disease (because of his work with victims of The Plague)...good to remember for the upcoming cold and flu season!
I will say, being there today, it was as close to Slovakia as I'm likely to come within two hours of our house and that, to me, was just perfect. The kids didn't even flinch. I think that is what makes me most pleased with the exercise. If we're going to travel on a Sunday, they know Church is usually involved in a big way.
We arrived in time to find a parking space and head inside for noon Mass. The homily was wonderful...all about how the festival began - immigrants coming together to give thanks for their faith while raising money and celebrating their favorite Saint. Father stressed that festivals and feasts always have to start with the faith...if it's just about raising money, it won't last. This is their 101st year so I guess that says something.
After Mass, everyone gathered outside while they prepared the statues and lined up for the procession. We saw Jesus, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Anthony of Padua, St. John, and of course, St. Rocco. I should tell you before the pictures that tradition dictates a cope made from dollar bills be placed around the statue of St. Rocco. It is a donation for the church and school but, watching the people rushing forward with the money, you could tell there was more to it. It was a tradition that was welcome and anticipated. It was fun to watch all the little
Then, we processed. Wow. This was a serious procession. I bet we walked for 45 minutes. The bells were ringing, the band was playing, little kids were throwing rose petals. It was SO cool. I love parades where the floats are Saints. It's the best. Really. Put this on your bucket list.
The kids were whining at the end but made it through reasonably well (I think it was 92 degrees). Thankfully I packed some water so that got us down the home stretch. We headed back into church where they prayed the prayer to St. Rocco, the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be...all in Italian. I know nothing except it was fantastic. I told DH, if you can't be Slovak, you should definitely be Italian. These immigrants know how to celebrate their Saints...and let's face it, the Italians have so many! After the prayers, the priest blessed us with the Relic (a chip of St. Rocco's bone) and we processed forward to kiss it. Mr. G was adorable.
The kids were great, the faith part was well done, so it was time to Fest! We started with some huge lemonades and finished with corn dogs and hot sausage. There were zeppoles but the line was really long and that's one I never get...I mean, it's fried dough. Well fed in body and soul, we headed back down the highway, arriving home to see that God had delivered a beautiful rainstorm while we were gone. Safely home after a day of faith and family.
We are blessed.
|Rays from the sun and incense after Mass|
|Taking St. Rocco down for the procession|
|The guest of honor|
|The beginning of the money cope|
|Ready to go|
|The nuns run the school. Amen.|
|Father carried the relic during the procession|
|Good parking space ;0)|
|Not too far from home!|
|He loved marching to the band|
|Thanks to God....back where we began!|
|The relic is ready|
|Enjoying the "feast" part!|