by Joseph F. Locallo Jr.
Società SS Crocifisso di Ciminna celebrated its 11th annual dinner dance fundraiser on Oct. 15 … which happened to be Sweetest Day this year! Porretta’s was decked out in pink in honor of the day and also in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s celebration also marked the club’s first presentation of the Padre Delle Grazie Award. This award is special in many different ways. As a religious organization, the society wanted to recognize an individual for communicating the word and works of our Lord. The actual award is in the shape of a flame, representing the symbol of the Holy Spirit through which God sends his message to us. The Rev. John Belmonte, SJ, PhD, is the society’s chaplain and adviser, and for many years has proven his dedication and commitment to honoring the Crocifisso at the yearly festival which takes place on the second Sunday each June on the grounds of Maryville Academy.
A native of Chicago, Fr. Belmonte completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1996. In 2006, he completed a doctoral program at our very own Loyola University in educational administration.
While working on his doctorate, Fr. Belmonte served as the director of pastoral ministry at St. Ignatius High School in Chicago from 1999 to 2004. He has taught theology and social studies at the high school level. For six years, he served as principal of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.
He is presently in his second year as the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Joliet. He is a resident priest at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Joliet. He also presides monthly at Sunday Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago. Fr. John is always willing to work and help individuals, families and organizations in the community.
It is an honor for us to have Fr. John Belmonte as a part of our SS. Crocifisso Feast, religious activities and community. We let the mayor of Ciminna know we were honoring Fr. John for his many contributions and guidance through the years. In response, the mayor issued a proclamation proudly announcing Fr. Belmonte as an honorary citizen of Ciminna!
The evening was filled with happy spirits, good food, great music and laughter. Each year, the society tries to make this evening a memorable one for its guests, and this one was no exception!
Looking ahead, the society will host Stations of the Cross in Italian beginning Friday, Feb. 24, in observance of Lent. On May 6, we will host a Mass in Italian marking the Feast Day of the Crocifisso Fest in Ciminna. Our 15th annual feast will be held June 9 and 10, and the dinner dance date is Nov. 3.
Please watch the pages of Fra Noi for more upcoming events. All Masses and fest activities are held at the Marion Chapel at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.
For more information, please contact Frank Faraci at 847-577-8230.