Two suburban Philadelphia towns will observe the assumption of Mary into heaven with traditional and long-running community celebrations on Sunday, Aug. 14.

For the 112th year, the M.S.S. Lodge of Norristown will celebrate the feast of their patroness, Maria Santissima del Soccorso di Sciacca, beginning with 11:30 a.m. Mass at Holy Saviour Church located at 409 East Main Street in the Montgomery County borough.

The Mass will be celebrated by Msgr. John Marine, whose maternal ancestors brought the 500-year-old Catholic feast with them from Sciacca, Sicily to Norristown in the early 20th century, and will be concelebrated by Msgr. Charles Sangermano, pastor of Holy Savior, and other priests.


A traditional procession of 25 men carrying a life-sized statue of the Madonna and Christ Child will wend through Norristown’s streets and back to Holy Saviour Church for benediction.

The feast will conclude in nearby Savior Hall with food and music by DJ Paul Catagnus of Starlight Entertainment and accordion player Jerry Trecroce.

The 97th annual observance of the Marian feast in West Chester begins with 9 a.m. Mass at St. Agnes Church, 231 West Gay Street in the Chester County borough. A communion breakfast follows at the nearby Elks Lodge at Wayne and Washington Streets.

At 2:30 p.m. a solemn procession through West Chester’s streets begins in front of St. Agnes Church led by the Queen of the Procession, Francesca Marie Wroten. Benediction in the church will conclude the feast.

For information and breakfast tickets call Barbara Mange at 610-431-3217 or Marie Mauro at 610-692-4597.

Like the feast in Norristown, the West Chester celebration began through people of Italian heritage but today is offered for all Christians in fellowship.