Easter is a joyous time for Christians around the world, an event that represents the triumph of life over death. Before that momentous Sunday, however, a brief but intense period of mourning commences, culminating on Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, died and was buried.
For centuries, towns and villages across Italy have expressed their collective sorrow with masses and processions that rival any other on the religious calendar. “The Good Friday celebration is the most spectacular in Italy, even more so than even Easter Sunday,” the Rev. August Feccia explains. “This memory is cherished very deeply by the Italians in Chicago, even after many decades, because they experienced it as children and they will never forget.”
On April 3, this ancient rite was re-enacted at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Melrose Park.
That evening, more than three-dozen patron saint societies bearing statues and banners filled the shrine to capacity. A 7 p.m. Mass in Italian was followed by a dramatic candlelight procession accompanied by the Sicilian Band of Chicago.