In a renewal of the venerable tradition of Sicilian faithful from the town of Sciacca, hundreds of Italian-American Catholics gathered in Norristown Sunday, Aug. 18 for the 115th annual feast in honor of la Madonna Santissima del Soccorso di Sciacca (supported by the M.S.S. Society). After Mass celebrated by Msgr. John C. Marine and other clergy at Holy Saviour Church in the Montgomery County borough, a procession of faithful followed a statue of Mary and the child Jesus, carried on the shoulders of 20 men, through the streets while rosary prayers ascended and the Verdi Band kept the pace in song. The procession was followed by benediction in the church and an Italian festival of abundant food, music and friendship in the Holy Saviour parish hall.

The festival commemorates the devotion begun in Sicily 500 years ago in thanksgiving for Mary’s intercession in ending a plague, and has been carried on in Norristown since immigrants arrived there from Sciacca in the early 20th century. (Photos by Samantha Gambino)