The M.S.S. Lodge of Norristown will celebrate the feast of their patroness, Maria Santissima del Soccorso di Sciacca, on Sunday, Aug. 16 in air-conditioned Saviour Hall (formerly Monsignor Delia Hall), at Holy Savior Parish in Norristown.

The celebration, a 111-year-old tradition this year, was brought to the Borough of Norristown at the turn of the last century by the immigrants from Sciacca, a small fishing village in Sicily.

The Madonna del Soccorso, which means Lady of Perpetual Help, became the patroness of Sciacca after the citizens believed that through her intercession a plague that had broken out in Sicily 500 years ago came to an end.

The Norristown Lodge originated 111 years ago to help poor Italian immigrants who entered Norristown at the turn of the 20th century. The society’s founders named the organization after the Madonna, and promised to continue the centuries-old tradition in their new community. The M.S.S. feast is the oldest Italian feast in Montgomery County.

This year’s celebration includes plenty of good Italian food and music. The highlight of the feast is the solemn concelebrated Mass at 11:30 a.m. at Holy Saviour Church. The main celebrant is Msgr. John C. Marine, whose maternal ancestors came from Sciacca. Msgr. Charles Sangermano, pastor of Holy Savior Parish, will concelebrate with several other priests.

After the Mass, the traditional street procession will wind its way through Norristown’s East End. Twenty-five people will carry a life-sized statue of the Madonna on their shoulders. The Verdi Band will accompany the procession.

The social activities start at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. Free parking is provided in the Holy Saviour Church lot. Music and entertainment includes DJ Paul Catagnus of Starlight Entertainment and accordion player Jerry Trecroce.