Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
Sitting in this wondrous place, Our Lady of The Rosary Church on State Street in Little Italy, I wonder how many new arrivals take the time to explore this outwardly simple white stucco building. How many are even interested in what goes on in this community, or the influence the church imparts on its members. Many of which are the descendants of their Italian parents and grandparents that settled this area. Tradition plays a large role in the lives of these people.
Take the feast of St Anthony of Padua running from June 1st through June 13th. In the days leading up to the feast, the women of the neighborhood don brown monk's habits with the traditional white ropes around their waists. They then enter into what can only be termed a labor of love and devotion to the memory of St. Anthony; a daily vigil of prayer.
Their homes are decorated with alters festooned with candles, flowers, and magnificent linens passed down from mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. The linens are, of course, from Italy and kept in magnificent condition despite some being well over a century old.
The parish priests come to the homes and bless the alters. Three rosaries are said each day prior to the actual feast day. A special mass and Novena will be held at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. Then the feasting will begin.
In attendance, every age and occupation is represented from fishermen to restaurateurs. The men sit outside, and the women are in the kitchen. One of the surprise attendees was our own Miss California, a San Diego girl. She actually walked up towards the gathering in bare feet, looking radiant and dazzling the crowd. You have never seen so many men run from the back yard, and boy did they move fast.
You see traditions, love, and respect are in Little Italy. This is a place where an old weathered man can hold his grandchild and weep without shame. Mothers are proud of their children, proud of their faith, happy to be married, and pleased to be of service to their tight-knit community. The La Coco girls (pictured above) seem to be everywhere.
Strange indeed, the thoughts that permeate one's heart and soul while seated in this wondrous place reminds us of a time when life was less complicated. A time when tradition, family, and love meant something. You see, Little Italy is so much more than India Street. It is a pulsating, living thing. Come experience the wonders of this special place.