This Columbus Day weekend, Mount Loretto was literally Staten Italy, as Catholic Charities of Staten Island hosted its third annual Italian Festival at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mount Loretto campus, located in bucolic Pleasant Plains by the sea on Hylan Boulevard, right near the southernmost tip of Staten Island, and our state. The Italian festival celebrates Italian culture, on an island with over 175,000 Italian-Americans.
Festa Italiana on the Mount, as it is billed, a Columbus Day Celebration, was sponsored by Shop Rite, The Nicotra Group, and our Borough President James Oddo. We should all appreciate aid in helping this festival to happen, as it’s all for a good causes, or rather causes. Yes; Mount Loretto is a hub for help, a literal helping hand to Staten Islanders in so many ways.
Admission was a suggested five dollars, including free parking, and all donations go toward helping Catholic Charities of Staten Island fund its various programs that benefit the larger Staten Island community.
There were kiddie rides and food aplenty! There was even a cannoli eating contest sponsored by Mark’s Bake Shop. There was even a beer and sangria garden so that you could mellow out and enjoy a brew or two. If you were looking for live music this weekend, this was the place to be. A sound stage with a great sound system complete with ample bass set the scene for the many musicians who performed over the span of these last three days.
The sounds of Frank James, the Giglio band, Vincent Medugno, Louis Parmaparma Jr. and the Witnesses, Just Us, and Charlie Romo echoed through the air on the Mount; a grassy lawn with folding chairs was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the day.
The Susan Wagner High School Marching Band also send their brassy tones adrift on the breeze; by now the band has a history of performing at the Festa Italiana, having done so since its inception three years ago.
There were over forty vendors in all, providing a fun and interesting time for people of all ages and interests. Lefty’s Cigar Truck, which debuted on the island at this year’s Richmondtown festival, as well as many other vendors selling kids toys, crafts, and a lot more, kept the crowds buzzing and browsing. The giant Food Crusher truck, of the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund, also present at this year’s Richmondtown Fair, was stationed behind the statue of Mount Loretto’s founder, Father Drumgoole, right in front of the towering cathedral.
All this was very cool, but in the end, it was all about helping Mount Loretto thrive, and not just entertainment and fun; it’s all for donation and giving, after all. If you’re feeling left out and are considering a vending booth next year, remember that all associated fees are 100% tax-deductible.
There’s so much going on at the campus, it’s difficult not to leave something out. Some of Mount Loretto’s various programs focus on helping challenged individuals. The Kenny Residence, a 24-hour residential alternative care facility, provides full-day nursing, speech therapy, speech therapy, as well as community integration for its residents.
Day habilitation, a program affiliated with Sea View Hospital and Meals on Wheels, helps young people with developmental disabilities who have recently graduated a program with opportunities for the future, including paid employment.
Vocational training programs for young people with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities is a big part of Mount Loretto. Individuals are provided with help based on their unique needs with the goal of preparing each individual with a skill-set, as well as coaching, that will serve as preparation for future employment. Kids ages 7-17 with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, as well as those who are mobility-challenged, can benefit from the on-site After-School Programs provided at Mount Loretto.
Senior programs are another significant focus at Mount Loretto. Client advocates help our elder citizens, as well as families, and other individuals, with meting their basic life needs, including housing, heat, electricity, health care, and more. The Case management program even provides emergency food, as well as helping individuals apply for relief grants.
The West Brighton Senior Center helps keep adults over 60 with ” nutritious meals, exercise, art and culture programs, recreational activities, and health services.” These are freshly made meals, healthy and balanced. The St. Edward Food Pantry may also be found at Mount Loretto. It’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, from 10 AM until 1 PM.
As Staten Island continues to struggle with opioid addiction on a mass-scale, Carl’s Recovery Center, also located at Mount Loretto, places addiction recovery front and center. And, it isn’t just one service this program provides; it’s a plethora of vital outreach efforts to the island.
Peer to peer counseling helps those people addicted to drugs, by setting up communications with a counselor, many of whom had themselves struggled with substance abuse in their past. Family interventions are a though subject. Carl’s Recovery can also help families plan such a vital event, easing minds by answering any of the many questions that surely come up.
But that’s not all. Narcan training, available five days a week, is there to help Staten Islanders learn the protocol to administer this lifesaving drug. In fact, the Island’s rate of overdose deaths dropped sharply once police and EMS were provided with Narcan. The more citizens know how to use Narcan, the better we’ll all be prepared for unforeseen opioid-induced crises in our families and streets.
A 12 Step program, help with placement in an outpatient program, and helping to plan long term care at recovery facilities across the nation round out the program’s many offerings. If it seems like the donations are going a long way, they surely are. That isn’t even a complete list. Co-located on the Mount Loretto campus, we find PS 25, the South Richmond School, a Department of Education school focusing on special education programs serving NYC residents from 10 to 21. And, the charity supports the Staten Island CYO, or Catholic Youth Organization. We know it’s a lot, and we’re grateful. For more information, please visit their website at: https://www.catholiccharitiesofstatenisland.org/programs/
Festa Italiana At The Mount Sign Outside Mount Loretto Campus On Hylan Blvd. Image Credit – Staten Islander Dot OrgMount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019.
The Nicotra Group Was One of Festa Italiana On the Mount’s Sponspors. Thanks, guys! Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org
Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, From Hylan. Image Credit – StatenIslander
Catholic Charities of Staten Island Signage On Hylan Along Mount Loretto Woodlands. Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org
Across the Street, An Old Fence Separates Mount Loterro Unique Area. Remember When These Were Comon On SI? Image Cred – SIslander
A Patch of Pokeroot Across From Mount Loretto Campus. Image Credit – Staten Islander News Organization
Pokon, As It’s Called In Language Of the Leni Lenape. Seeds Are Deadly! Image Credit – StatenIslander
Mount Loretto Unique Area Designation Sign For thr State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Image Credit – StatenIslander.Org
Red, White, and Green Streamer and Italian Flag Decorate Mount Loretto Entrance. Image Credit – Staten Islander News Org
he Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Background, Foreground Festa Italiana At The Mount Kid’s Rides. Image Credit – Staten Islander dot Org
A Stamped Hand Permits Entry to the Event At mount Loretto. Image Credit – Staten Islander.org
Chalkiti On The Central Path Through the Fair. Image Cred – Staten Islander
Sound Stage At Festa Italiana On The Mount At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Image Credit – StatenIslander.org
The Band Getting Ready To Play At Festa Italiana On The Mount, 2019.Image Credit: Staten Islander
The Church Was Buiult In 1891 To Serve The Destitute Children Living On The Grounds. Note Feasta Italaina Booths, Foreground. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
The FoodCrusher Monster Truck. Carl V. Bini Foundtion. Note LoveEarth Vegan & Allergen-Friendly Bakery Text. Have To Stop There. This Reporter Is Vegan.Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
TheFoodCrusher.Com Monster Truck, From The Side. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Wow! Look At The Front Suspension On The Food Crusher! That Can Handle NYC Potholes With Ease! Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Statue of Father Drumgoole, Founder of Mount Loretto With Two Of The Resident Children Living On The Mount. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne Is A Foreboding Structure. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Twisted Steaks. Looking Toward The Sound Stage At Festa Italiana, 2019. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org
Rice Balls! A Sicilian Favorite! “I Got Balls” Food Stand. What Would An Italian Festivsal Be Without Sicilian Fare? Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Italian Festival Signage Thanking Sponsor Borough President James Oddo’s Office For Sponsorship Of The Event. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
The Old Church of St. Joachim and St. Anne From An Angle. Image Credit: Staten Islander
Streamers Stretched Across The Main Thoroughfare At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
There Was Also A Henna Booth, As Well As Vendors Selling Clothing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Just Us Band Making An Announcement. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
The Spacious Green Lawn Where The Audience Sat And Enjoyed The Vibes. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Deep Fried Treats Cart And The Old Church At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Just Us Performing. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
I Got Balls Rice Ball Cart, Long Shot. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Attendees Sit And Chill By Statue of Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Festa Italiana At Mount Loretto, Staten Island, NY October 13, 2019. Sponsored by Borough President James Oddo, The Nicotra Group, and Shoprite. Image Credit: Staten Islander.Org
The Old Church. Incredibly Immense Architecture, From Just A Few Feet Away. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Montalbano’s Of Rosebank Sausage And Peppers Food Stand. Another Italian Favorite. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Sitting On The Steps Of The Old Church With The Sounds Of Just Us Echoing Around. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Another Shot Of The Church. The Large Cut Stones In The Waning Light Of Late Afternoon. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
If It Hadn’t Been For Father Drumgoole, We Wouldn’t Have This Amazing Place To Hold Events Like Festa Italiana Or A Site For So Many Community Aid Orgs. Image Credit: Staten Islander
Statues. Above The Doorway of The Church. Who Is Depicted? Image Credit: Staten Islander
Imagine How Indigent Children Must Have Felt Walking Up These Stairs To Mass On Sundays. This Place Was Just For Them! Image Credit: Staten Islander.
A Plaque Explains Some History Of The Mount Loretto Site. The Sisters Of Saint Francis, Along With Many Homeless Girls, lived Here. Image Credit: Staten Islander
The Old Church’s Bell, Retired. Dated 1883. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Another Olf Church Bell. This One’s Dated 1881. Image Credit: StatenIslander.Org
Notice The Fresh Flowers In The Hand Of The Child, Raised To Give Them To Father Drumgoole. Image Credit: Staten Islander
The Statue Is Dated 1899. Robert Cushing, Sculptor. Image Credit: Staten Islander Dot Org
Attendees Milling About, Considering What They Should Eat At Festa Italiana. Image Credit: Staten Islander
Step Right Up! Win Prizes! Games, Games, and More Games! Image Credit: Staten Islander
Stella’s Secret Door Boutique And Other Vendors Line The Walk. Image Credit: StatenIslander
There Were People Of All Ages At The Italian Festival. Image Credit: Staten Islander
On Line For Some Good Eats. Image Credit: Staten Islander