The Southern Cross : September 2012
Page 8 September 2012 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross | news Browning Street, Clearview www.aca.sa .gov.au 8139 7402 Enfield Mausoleum is Adelaide’s premier mausoleum — a perfect burial place of dignity and respect set in a tranquil garden setting at Enfield Memorial Park. New Courtyard Gardens offer single and companion crypts each with a 99 year lease. Draped in gold and adorned by a red sash, the Dames of the Madonna Di Montevergine have made the hour-long trek between Hectorville and Newton parishes on the last Sunday of every September since 1955. The Dames diligently process with a painting of the Madonna normally housed in St Francis of Assisi Church. They do this despite rain, age, or illness and though their ranks are thinning, their devotion to Our Lady remains strong. Among them on September 30, will be Rosalba Scutella. She will dust off her mother’s golden gown for the 4km-procession she has taken part in since her mother Maria Zollo passed away 16 years ago. “I know how much it meant to my mum,” says Rosalba of the procession and the feast. “She would get so excited because it was feast day and, as a child, I would get caught up in that too,” she says. At 49 years old, Rosalba is one of the youngest of the oldest Dames who continue the tradition imported 57 years ago from the Avellino province of Campania, in Italy. She hopes the feast and its religious and cultural significance will continue with her own teenage children, who for now, continue to attend the festivals social program. Rosalba’s brother, and president of the Holy Mary of Montevergine Association, Domenic Zollo says the week-long feast attracts about 10,000 visitors, including 20 bus-loads of pilgrims from as far as Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Canberra. “This Madonna is embraced by all Italians and we have a great following of people who dedicate themselves to the festa.” There are over 85 volunteers who assist in year-long preparations, including door-knocking the Campbelltown Council area and surrounds for donations to support the festivals’ program of events. In Port Adelaide, up to one thousand people are expected to line the streets on September 16 to witness the procession of a statue of the Madonna dei Martiri (Martyrs). The statue, adorned in gold, is processed from Dales Street’s Immaculate Conception Church to the wharf mostly by first and second generation migrants from the Italian fishing town of Molfetta, Italy. “The Madonna is fundamental to our faith,” says Madonna dei Martiri Molfetta Club president Pino Boccassini. “She is the primary avenue of prayer between us and Jesus and God – she is a constant in our lives.” Pino understands the future of religious and cultural festivals is a question perplexing many associations like his in Australia and across the world. “The trick is to try and entice the young to carry on the tradition,” he says. “We are trying to broaden our appeal to young people and we understand that to be successful we have to change with the times.” There are about 40 religious and cultural festivals celebrated across the state each year. In August, there is the San Rocco Festival; in October, the Madonna Delle Grazie Di Panduri in Payneham and St Hilarion in Seaton; there is the Maria Santissima Di Crochi Festa in Virginia and St Gabriel at Glen Osmond. Author and Professor of Italian at Flinders University Desmond O’Connor says the original Madonna dei Martiri Feast, which began in 1929 in Port Pirie, was experiencing increased participation rates among organisers and devotees and they were not exclusively first generation migrants. The Port Pirie feast in early September is the oldest religious festival in the State and was introduced to Port Adelaide in 1957. “In the Port Adelaide festa, too, there is strong evidence that the second and third generations are passionate about continuing the celebration of the religious and cultural identity that has been given to them by their forebears,” says Professor O’Connor, principal author of a volume to be published on the history of the Port Adelaide Madonna dei Martiri festa and association. His co-author, Dr Daniela Rose, lecturer in Italian at Flinders University, says the future of such religious festivals hinges on the younger generations and their will to reconnect with their family’s heritage. She says the advent of Facebook, Skype and easier access to international travel, meant many Generation X’ers and younger were returning to their parents’ and grandparents’ home towns and connecting to those traditions. “Pride in their homeland will not diminish, but whether the feasts will continue to be celebrated in their present form, I’m not sure!” says Dr Rose. Procession of tradition By Rebecca DiGirolamo MADONNA: The 1958 procession of the Madonna dei Martiri in Port Adelaide. For more information on the Madonna di Montevergine feast visit www.madonnadimontevergine.com. MADONNA: The Dames of the Madonna di Montevergine processing last year.