Anyway, we PROcess with statues of the saints which are adorned with strands of ribbon. People make donations to their favorite saint in exchange for a holy card and the money is pinned to the statue. As we pass by a group of cigar-chomping wise guys, one of them comes forward with a donation, and apparently asks St Therese to intercede on his behalf for God only knows what intention. As he walks away he calls over to the statue, "Thanks Chi-ree" which, in case you don't know, is the South Philly nickname for any girl or woman named Theresa. I thought I would die!
To further amuse us, a gang of new-comers in their 50's had the honor of escorting Saint Lucy, who is much beloved in these parts. Disappointed in their take so far, the group began to good-naturedly chide their buddies in the crowd to cough up some greenbacks for their saint's sparsely-decorated ribbons. One of them asked "Why, whaddya got?"
"What I got?" an escort indignantly asked in a mocking goodfellas tone. " I got a saint with 2 eyeballs, whaddya think I got?"
Only in South Philly.
As amusing as all of this may be, what wasn't funny was how few people were willing to make a donation, and how little interest much of the crowd had in the saints. There were a group of guys in black with tattoos who apparently sprung for a holy card of St Joseph but had no idea who he was. At first I thought they were joking but they were not. They were clearly symbolic of those who are raised without any knowledge of Jesus and the saints.
Talk about a lost generation. Very sad.