Bishop Commends Festa Efforts to Preserve Culture
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 10, 2017

ROCKFORD—The annual Sunday Mass at Festa Italiana welcomed dozens of people on a bright and cooler-than-usual morning, Aug. 6, the feast of the Transfiguration, to Boylan Central Catholic High School grounds just west of its athletic track.

A choir composed of mostly Holy Family Parish musicians continued their tradition of providing music at the Mass.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop David Malloy. He followed a procession of flags, banners and Italian clubs members to the altar, in front of the main festival stage and covered with white, green and red cloths.

The bishop began with the sign of the cross in Italian, then expressed thanksgiving for the “gift of life, gift of faith and the gift of heritage.”

The second reading was proclaimed in Italian by lector Tony Tarara.

After speaking in his homily about how the Transfiguration assists our faith as it had encouraged the disciples, the bishop spoke about “the need for culture” as a means for “organizing rightly” to determine how to express values and foster community as “a means for attaining the only thing that matters: heaven.”

The annual Festa, Bishop Malloy continued, shares the Italian music, history, art, food and origins. Even more importantly, he said, “you celebrate as well the faith (that) strengthened your ancestors.”

He called it “deeply good” to celebrate, remember and share the Catholic faith, noting also the current need for support of the Italian culture. In Italy, studies show there are signs of stress to that culture including fewer marriages and fewer births, he said.

It is projected, the bishop added, that in 100 years the Italian language will no longer be spoken as a living language.

And so Bishop Malloy encouraged those present to “strengthen your families ... teach them to love the Church, to love their culture” even beyond Festa Italiana.

After the Mass but before the day’s festivities officially began, several teams of men and of women began playing the traditional Italian game of bocce ball.

A member of a young men’s team grinned as he noted to his teammates, “I’m happy to be here.”
“Yep, we all are,” replied another contented young man.

Longtime Festa-goer Jo Wargo summed up the annual event nicely with a remark that highlights the sense of community fostered by Festa Italiana.

“When you see people you know,” she said, “that’s the fun of it.”