Cha Cha's In Bocca Al Lupo
~ The Saint, San Gennaro~
San Gennaro lived during the late 200 A.D. and was the bishop of Benevento , Italy . He died a martyr in 305 A.D. during the persecution headed by the Emperor Diocletian, while he was visiting imprisoned deacons.
He risked the wrath of the local pagan officials by visiting the deacons, Sosso and Proculo and the laymen Eutichete and Acuzio in jail. The warden, observing the stranger trying to comfort the Christian prisoners, naturally concluded that he must be a Christian. Shortly afterward the proconsul (governor of a province) Timothy had Gennaro sent to jail. Imprisoned, he underwent various forms of torture, never wavering in his loyalty to Christ. He was thrown headlong into a furnace; but by the grace of God he came through unscathed. Gennaro, refusing to bow his head at a pagan leader's bidding was then beheaded.
The bishop's body and severed head still dripping blood were gathered by an old man who wrapped them reverently in a cloth. A woman of Naples dried up the blood with a sponge and filled vials with the red liquid. His body was transported and is preserved in Naples where he is honored as the city's patron Saint.
Tradition has it that the miracle of the liquefaction of San Gennaro's blood, first occurred some four decades after his death, when his remains were being removed to the catacombs of Naples . Eusebia, the woman who had originally gathered the blood, was carrying the precious vials along the processional march. Suddenly the dark solidified mass became a vivid, life-like red liquid. This miracle is supposed to take place during two periods of the year; the first Sunday in May and September 19 th, the date of its martyrdom.
The annual highlight is the solemn commemoration which all Neapolitans hold in their cathedral on September 19. Civil and church authorities are on hand, and the procession forms with the congregation singing the Litany of the Saints. When the prodigy of the liquefaction takes effect, the priest exhibits the vials of blood in full view of the gathering. A glorious Te Deum (early Christian hymn of praise) is sung. Clergy and laity approach to venerate the relics of the ever-popular patron.
~ The San Gennaro Festival in New York's Little Italy ~
Over eighty years ago, four business of Mulberry Street in Little Italy decided to celebrate the anniversary of Saint Gennaro's martyrdom, here in the adopted country. They were Donato Nappi, Louigi Vetali, Michael Montanini and Alex Tisi. Each one of them had a coffee house (café) on Mulberry Street between Grand and Hester Streets. They strung lengths of colored light bulbs across the street from building fire escapes and brought their business out onto the sidewalk. They erected a small chapel in the street to house the image of their patron Saint. They invited all to partake of their wares asking only that the devoted pin a small offering to the ribbon streamers that are hung from the statues apron. This money was then distributed to the needy poor of the neighborhood. In that way they felt they could do charitable works and also pay homage to their patron Saint.
Cha Cha's In Bocca Al Lupo
Located in the of New York's Little Italy
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