SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s rich Italian heritage was on full display in the city’s South End Sunday. 22News spoke with proud Italian Americans as they honored Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
For Italian-Americans in Springfield’s South End, the Madonna and Baby Jesus represent more than their Catholic faith: they signify family and community. That’s why Sunday, the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Club honored their patron saint before her feast day Thursday.
Like generations of Italian-Americans before them, they processed from their church on William Street to Main Street in Springfield, showcasing their faith, pride and love for the community to all.
Michael Izzo told 22News, “I’m proud to be Italian-American because the Italian people are hard-working people and we love our family. That’s the most important thing.”
Along the way, members pinned dollars to the Madonna.
“It goes to the Church, and to the club and donations, we use that money for the homeless dinners, for clothing, whatever we can do for the community,” said Mt. Carmel Society President Gerald Daniele.
This club started 118 years ago when many families, all from the small Italian village of Bracigliano came here for a better life. Since then, they’ve built a community in which many are business owners.
Leo Daniele has been a member of the Society for 45 years. He said, “Our parents did, our grandparents did, it was just the thing to do and you know keep tradition, and that’s basically all it is, is tradition.”
A tradition they hope will continue for many more generations, as they welcome younger Italian-Americans to join the club and help enrich the culture of the city.