Sunday, May 18, 2014

Overheard in the Italian Market Today

Elsewhere on this blog I think I have a post on the Procession of Saints that occurs at my Novus Ordo parish.  Today this annual rite-of-Spring took place and as has been our custom, Rebecca and I were there, escorting St Therese.  The venue for the procession is the 9th Street Italian Market Bacchanal, er uh Festival, where The Godfather meets the Sopranos with a sprinkling of goth, God-less and gaudy in between. ( If you don't believe me, YouTube "godfather Italian percession" in those exact words and spelling and see what I mean). 

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. 

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