Beato Giovanni Liccio Society President Sapienza

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Beato Giovanni Liccio

After 27 years as a member of the Beato Giovanni Liccio Society of Chicago, current President Tony Sapienza is as active and enthusiastic as ever.

The group’s mission is to promote and foster the teachings of its patron, Beato Giovanni Liccio, a 15th century priest from Caccamo, Sicily, who spent his life helping the needy and the poor, and to whom several miracles are attributed.

“We follow the same teachings, songs and worships as they do in Caccamo,” Sapienza says. “It has forged a bond between the Chicago Caccamesi and the town of Caccamo.”

Sapienza, 56, has worked for American Airline since 1989 and his girlfriend, Jamie, resides with him in Wood Dale, Illinois. He joined the society in 1997 and has held several positions on the board; he is now serving his second term as president.

The society’s most impressive event is its annual feast in honor of Beato Giovanni Liccio. The celebration takes place at Casa Italia in Stone Park in July and features a Mass, food, entertainment and fireworks.

“Our members and friends devote the entire day in celebrating Beato Giovanni,” Sapienza says. “Members come dressed in traditional black and white. We have a Mass and a procession in which the men take turns carrying the ‘varra’ with the statue of the Beato Giovanni.” A relic of Beato Giovanni is also carried in procession.

Another major event is the society’s annual dinner dance for members, family and friends, which took place in May.

The society owns its building at 7459 W. Addison St. in Chicago, which was refurbished and upgraded with a modern, bright chapel in 1997. “The chapel contains many beautiful paintings from the Beato Giovanni Church in Caccamo,” Sapienza says.

Members meet monthly and hold a variety of events and gatherings, including masses, a St. Joseph’s Table, a Carnevale celebration, spaghettata dinners, and a live nativity and visit from Santa at Christmastime.

Over the years, members have organized fundraising drives to a variety of causes, including women’s shelters, St. Jude’s Children Hospital, Toys for Tots and Feed My Starving Children.

A rosary typically is held at 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month, and the chapel is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays unless activities are being held, welcoming anyone who wants to visit or say a prayer, Sapienza says.

Membership into the society is open to everyone, Sapienza said. “We are always looking for new members to join.”

For more information, visit call Sapienza at 630-935-6998.


About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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